Sifting through the ever-growing sea of apps, websites, and other technologies designed to improve your business can be overwhelming at times. Perhaps the most overwhelming array of tech is in the field of marketing and customer service. It’s recently become widely accepted that one of the most effective ways to grow your business is to increase customer engagement, and there are myriad apps and websites out there to help you do just that. Engaged customers are your best bet for getting honest, instant feedback to influence product direction, mitigate complaints, and ensure that your company continues to solve problems for your current and prospective customers.
Increasing customer engagement also has the built-in benefit of bringing your customers closer to your brand and creating a deeper, more personal investment. This inspires your customers to become champions for your brand. Introducing location into the mix is bringing social media engagement to a whole new level. Here are a few ways companies are using location-based social media, to increase customer engagement today.
Incentives – “They Should be Paying Me for This”
Well, kinda. A company that truly understands the value of customer engagement will maintain genuine loyalty from it's client base. Your brand champions are spreading the word about how great your company is, and they should be rewarded as such. When you see somebody celebrating your brand on social media, your company should be there to say thank you by offering perks of some kind. If you have a coffee shop, it’s an easy thing to give them a free brew at their most convenient location. With geo-located social marketing, the company can suggest the location which that particular customer frequents, based on their geotagged posts. These kinds of personal touches are what make people want to be your customer for life. Read about ways to socially reward your customers in this article from Social Media Examiner.
Contests – “Step right up!”
It's an old-school approach to customer engagement that still works. A recent study showed that Instagram contests that held contests grew up to 70% faster than those that didn’t. The difference between now and then is that instead of putting their name in a ballot box, your customers can compete for the prize loudly and publicly on social media, drawing attention to your brand. Contests are a fun and effective way of inspiring interaction between businesses and customers. It also has the added benefit of getting your products into the hands of people who might've not bought them otherwise. If your product is any good, your contest winners may convert into long-term customers. With location-based social media, your contests can be specifically geared towards people who are in a certain area, at a certain time. This can be especially useful when your company is promoting a newer location or a grand opening. (ex. The newest Urban Outfitters store is now right around the corner! Pop in to _____ location within the next hour for 10% off your next purchase!) For more on geofencing marketing, read here!
A rapid, light-hearted response – Laughter makes everything better.
The companies that see the biggest gains with social engagement are the ones that respond quickly and sincerely. Responding with auto-replies is boring and it fails to seize a fantastic opportunity. It’s your chance to show that real humans work at your company. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, a little humor can go a long way to making your customers feel relaxed and at ease with your brand.
Online customer engagement an instant, public version of traditional customer service. Responding to tweets and social media complaints mean that the rest of the world can see where your business might be falling short. That means PR issues spread faster, but it also gives companies a really cool opportunity to rise to the challenge of going above and beyond customer expectations. A well-handled complaint can earn loyalty points from both current and prospective customers, and the word spreads around the world at lightning speed.
Some great examples are outlined in this article from the Telegraph
Timing is everything – Make it count.
In today's social media landscape, when you post is almost as important as what you post. You can share the most well crafted Tweet of all time, but if it sent out at the wrong time, i.e. times of low engagement, very few people are likely to see it and your brand will miss the boat on the potential impact that tweet might have. Imagine there is a large company in the office building next to one of your locations. With location-based social media search tools, you may discover that dozens of workers take their coffee break at 2pm. You can then remind them at 1:45 that your coffee shop has a special offering at that time, driving them through your doors instead of the doors of your competitors.
The ability to analyze post frequency and patterns allows brands to strike when the iron is hot. We can see here that 11pm on Tuesday is the most active time for this particular query, whether it’s a location, a keyword, or a username search.
Engagement goes beyond Facebook and Twitter – Think outside the box.
Increasing engagement means learning as much as you can about your customers. A large part of learning about who they are, is learning how they use social media and which social networks they use. Platforms like Echosec allow you to search keywords that pertain to your company across 9+ international social networks. Sites like Reddit and VK are very commonly used for (often uncensored) complaints and commentary on businesses. Most of the social listening tools on the market don’t have the capability to pull data from these sites.
Social media engagement – the Wendy’s example.
Wendy’s is the golden child of social media engagement. They’re funny, they’re engaging, and they even throw in a contest here and there. Their Twitter personality has earned them over two million followers and countless viral Tweets.
From the article: “Location-based search lets me push you to a specific product and a specific restaurant,” Brandon Rhoten, Wendy’s VP/head of Advertising, Digital/Social Media
Well played, Wendy’s.
Location-based social media engagement provides an immense opportunity for brands to add a level of personalization that was never possible before. It makes it possible for your physical locations and your online brand identity to sync up, creating a lasting bond between you and your customers. Companies around the world are now equipping themselves with location-based tools like Echosec to help them achieve this. Don’t let your company be the one that gets left behind.
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