Innovation in the communication sector has brought numerous benefits to both the customer and organisation.

Not so long ago, one had to fork out a fortune when contacting an overseas organisation but today with applications like WhatsApp, customers or organisations far and abroad can contact each other at the lowest possible cost.

The low barriers to entry in social media make it easy for anyone, including organisations, to join its various platforms.

It is important for organisations on social media to have social media strategies that will help them to connect and engage with their customers.

Research has shown that Facebook and Twitter are the most popular

platforms and have many users.

Thus, organisations that reach out to those millions at the very minimal cost are assured of big returns on their investments.

Accessibility to customers

In my last article, I mentioned that smart businesses follow where their clients spend their valuable time at and this knowledge helps them where to direct their resources and access them.

Organisations on social media have additional access to their customers because these platforms have no time limit and make it easy for them to access and connect with more customers than they would if they were to call one-by-one.

Organisations that manage their pages 24/7 can easily offer customer

support on social media because they are always present whenever a

customer contacts them.

This availability and accessibility helps in strengthening business-customer relationships.

Brand Influence

Customers on social media platforms have the power to influence the brand image to such an extent that whatever they write about your brand can make it to the search engines.

By merely typing the brand name, all the articles where the brand was mentioned will appear.

Organisations must, therefore, strive to have more good news about the brand as this will positively influence it.

Any bad review of the brand that has the potential to harm the brand must be solved at the earliest possible time so as to avoid negative influence.

It’s the organisation’s voice

Social media has given brands a voice, especially the smaller brands that did not have a cheaper platform to clear their names whenever they receive bad reviews. They faced a lot of misconceptions about their brands and in some cases resulted in brand failure or extinction.

Customers that endure poor customer experience are usually the ones that spread malicious stories meant to hurt the brand.

However, social media has given these organisations the stage and voice to clear any misconceptions by stating the correct facts and position. They can also share developments or good news that is factual and fresh.

Relevant content is also updated on a regular basis.

Trend-setting

Flexibility is crucial in business.

Agile brands are able to keep their eyes and ears open for new trends in their industry. They are a master in giving their customers close attention, because it helps them to spot the latest industry trends before they hit the market or go out of fashion.

Savvy social media teams eavesdrop their industries all the time and they do this by monitoring hashtag (#) trends.

This gives them an idea of what their customers really want or are expecting.

They can then tailor-make their service to suit the trends.

Thus, social media gives forward-thinking organisations a head-start.

Customer Engagement

Customers are more than willing to deal with organisations that share engaging and relevant posts.

It is vital for organisations to share important current information about its products and services, ideas and sometimes even banter just to lighten up the mood of their customers.

A smile a day keeps the doctor away.

Local organisations like Bulawayo Chiefs and Mambos Chicken always throw hilarious banters on their pages.

It is well known that these jokes have managed to increase traffic to their pages.

Current and potential customers have laughed and engaged in  discussions about these organisations while some potential customers have also been lured to patronise their services.

Social media presence should be a two-way engagement between the

organisation and its customers rather than just posting feeds and content.

The organisation must be able to interact with its customers regarding what is posted on its pages, even if it is bad.

Customers may want clarification and this can only be done when the organisation is willing to engage its various stakeholders that share the same content.

Provides a listening ear and feedback

When customers follow an organisation on its Twitter handle, they are able to send out tweets about their customer experience with the organisation or leave a comment on its Facebook page. The idea is to create an online community that can depend on the organisation because it listens to them.

Thus, an organisation that listens to its customers give them acknowledgement through feedback.

Unhappy customers can post a bad review or even put recommendations of competing brands.

When this happens, organisations must have a high response rate so as to avoid the spread of negative reviews on its brand(s).

Interactivity with customers

Brands can be made or broken by the way organisations interact with their customers. It is always good to put the face to the voice or to the writing during interactions, and social media affords that through video calls and pictures.

Interactions enable organisations to connect with customers, solve problems and show care. When customers interact with organisations, the experience sticks with them to such an extent that it inspires reviews, word-of-mouth referrals and free marketing.

This is made worse when organisations manage to solve the customer concerns as this increases brand loyalty and recommendations to other potential customers.

Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba, is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer service. For comments and suggestions, she can be reached on [email protected] or on 0712 979 461.