6. Talk with your customers, not at them. "If your brand is looking to build a social media presence, make sure that you are having a two-way conversation with your customers," not just pushing information at them, says Constantine.
7. Respond to customers in a timely manner."As important as the response itself is, you need to make sure you engage the customer as fast as possible," says Brian Coughlin, an SEO analyst at OpticsPlanet.com, an online seller of sports optics, hunting gear and sunglasses.
"If they have a question, you shouldn't wait hours before answering. If they have a complaint, it should be minutes before they have a personalized response," Coughlin says. "It's not easy to keep up to date on all your social accounts, but your customers will appreciate it and grow to trust you more and more as you improve."
8. Put a human face (or name) on your social media conversations. "In social media, friends and fans want to interact with 'real' people, not with companies or nameless flacks," states Peter Friedman, chairman and CEO, LiveWorld, a social content marketing company. "So when building relationships with customers through social media, be as human as possible.
That means your representatives on social should be encouraged to bring their own personalities to the table, within guidelines determined by your brand attributes and goals," Friedman says. "If you use a company username for Twitter, allow employees who tweet from that account to put their name at the end of messages so that readers understand there's an individual on the other end."
9. Make sure your social media messaging is consistent with your brand image. "The consumer wants to feel like they are talking to a real person, but you want to be sure the tone on your social sites is still in line with your company," says Chris Apaliski, the social media director at Dallas-based digital marketing agency Magic Logix.
"For example, a restaurant that derives a lot of profit from happy hour may be able to take a casual, laid-back tone; however, a big data company [should probably] be informational yet courteous," Apaliski says. "Know your business and audience and craft your strategy accordingly."
10. Monitor what your customers are saying so you can quickly respond. "One of the best ways to solve a problem is to anticipate it before it is presented to you," says Adam Root, CTO and cofounder of marketing software developer HipLogiq, parent company of social media apps SocialCompass and SocialCentiv.
"By monitoring social media feeds [for your company name and products] your business can immediately identify customer service issues and start to work on them before support tickets come in,"Root says.
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