Social media platforms present a growing opportunity for brands to improve the way they interact with customers. Social networks like Instagram contribute to reducing the amount of effort it takes for patrons to find and learn about your product or service. However, because it is a relatively new space for businesses to interact with customers, there is a big discrepancy between those who utilize this tool the best and the average brand. Learn how your team can optimize its Instagram presence in AJ Agrawal’s piece for CustomerThink.com. You can access the piece by clicking here, or by reading below:
This piece was originally published by CustomerThink on November 30, 2017.
“In the past, a brand’s customer experience was almost exclusively delivered through traditional channels such as retail stores and online shops. However, recent trends in technology have allowed consumers to reach outside traditional channels to access their favorite brands. Consumers now rely on social media platforms to learn about new products and promotions being offered.
For most companies, engaging with customers through social media has become an integral aspect of customer service. Over 88% of companies use at least one major social media platform to market to customers. This year, Instagram will surpass Twitter in the number of companies using the platform as part of their customer-engagement strategy.
While many brands are active in the social media space, it’s not easy to excel in delivering customer experience across platforms. In the past, customers have used Facebook and Instagram as an outlet for expressing dissatisfaction or frustration. These customer interactions are incredibly impactful because of the exposure to other consumers. For this reason, it’s imperative that brands focus on creating a presence on social media that facilitates positive customer interaction. Here are a few steps you can take to deliver a rock-star customer experience on Instagram.
1. Inform your customers.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a brand or company on Instagram is failing to inform your customers about how they should interact with you. For example, let’s say you’re a clothing retailer. You’ve decided that the best way to handle customer service is to direct consumers to your call center. However, you don’t give them the correct number to call. Failing to inform your customers about the appropriate way to get customer service can be detrimental. If customers start posting on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook about their dissatisfaction, you won’t be able to control the conversation.
Here’s what you should do: In your Instagram bio, tell your customers that they can reach customer service by calling your call center. Link them to the support page on your website, and make the customer-service phone number accessible.
Whenever a customer comments on a post with a negative experience, direct them to the hotline. Eventually, you’ll set an expectation for your customers that they can only get customer service by calling, rather than posting. This way, you can control the conversation and deliver as much support to customers as possible.
2. Define your audience.
One of the most important things to do as a brand on Instagram is understand your audience. You can’t deliver a rock-star customer experience if you don’t know who your customers are. Even if your customers are on Instagram, many of them likely don’t follow your account, so they won’t see your content. To boost customer experience, you have to better define the audience for your posts.
Of course, defining your audience can be very difficult to do since Instagram has millions of users. Some are more active than others, and it can be tough to target users who don’t engage often. Invest time in defining the persona of a typical customer who purchases your product. You can use that identity to guide your marketing decisions on Instagram.
For instance, if your typical customer is between the ages of 18 and 24 and lives in large metropolitan areas, you can target specific hashtags and locations to focus on those customers. If you know that your customers frequently use the products of another brand, consider partnering with that brand on Instagram for promotions. By more clearly defining the users you need to engage with, you can deliver a better customer experience.
3. Engage with your followers.
Many companies have dedicated social media managers whose job it is to interact with customers on various platforms. Of course, for brands that have thousands or millions of followers, it can be very difficult to engage with lots of users. Additionally, liking and sharing relevant content across Instagram can be a full-time job, considering that there are millions of new posts every day.
One thing you can do is outsource your social media management to a marketing agency or freelance growth consultant. These agencies specialize in boosting brand awareness and growth on many different platforms, and can help improve customer engagement.
4. Share user-generated content.
Show your appreciation for your customers by hosting and sharing user-generated content. You can ask your followers to submit posts that highlight your products or services that they use. Then select the best posts and repost them on your account, being sure to recognize the user who submitted them. There are a few great benefits to this strategy.
First, you reduce the cost of content creation, as you have followers submitting quality content for you. Second, you’re demonstrating your appreciation for your customers by tagging them and sharing their content. Customers love it when brands recognize them for their contributions to the community, so this is a great way to deliver an awesome customer experience.
5. Deliver a variety of content.
Another thing you can do to ensure you’re posting relevant content is to vary the type of content you produce. For example, rather than just post about new products, consider posting lifestyle photos of your products being used. Similarly, post videos of your in-store experience or behind the scenes in your company.
By posting a wide array of different content, you can better understand your customers’ habits on Instagram. If you notice that your followers like videos more often than pictures, you can use that information to better guide your engagement strategy. Defining your audience’s preferences is a great way to deliver a rock-star customer experience.”
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