The New Rules of Customer Engagement
Twitter. Facebook. SEO. Flickr. Blogs. Open forums for customer feedback.
When I founded Blacksocks in 1999, these names or ideas didn’t exist. In fact, the concept of allowing customers to share their unedited, unadulterated feedback with the rest of the world was altogether foreign. Today, connecting directly with customers for feedback occurs through various online distribution channels and marketing concepts. In truth, no product or brand can compete in today’s business world without an active social media presence. Here are some social media rules we follow to stay connected to our customers:
Don’t rely on one-way social media marketing:Engage customers in two-way conversations. For example, re-Tweet relevant content, distribute content through multiple channels and utilize the various free services available for Twitter users, such as Tweetdeck, Tinyurl and a host of others.
Transparency leads to positive word-of-mouth: It’s a consumer-driven market today. Your customers are controlling the conversation, and they are your best advocates for future sales. Be transparent in all of your marketing initiatives, and your customers will do the legwork for you.
Experiment freely:Though it might be daunting to the over-30 set, social media affords a myriad of marketing opportunities. Embrace new tools, keep up with them and experiment. The cost of entry is generally low in social media, but the results are far-reaching if done correctly.
There is no magic bullet: As any business owner can attest, diversification is key in all marketing efforts. It’s important to remember that old media is just as valuable as new media, and that there is no magic bullet to leveraging social media for customer service purposes. Be willing to diversify and try new avenues.
Connect with customers through storytelling:Connect with customers through storytelling: To generate interest in your business online, pull your customers in with a great story. When it comes to selling my company, I revert back to its founding: As a young advertising executive in Zurich, Switzerland, I remember rummaging through my drawer one evening, preparing for a dinner with Japanese businessmen. We went to a tea ceremony after dinner and were asked to remove our shoes. I was caught with two different color socks on, one with a large hole in the big toe! This embarrassment prompted the creation of Blacksocks, a service that delivers luxury socks to doorsteps. My story formed the basis of our marketing efforts: it put a human face to the product; it had a comical element; and when it was all said and done, the concept was strong. Using a great story will help members understand your business and establish a strong connection.
By using the above tips to engage new and existing customers, we’ve been able to position Blacksocks for continued growth and success. Today we have 50,000 active customers in 76 countries, and our line has expanded to include men’s underwear and undershirts. What’s more, our streamlined approach appeals to our clientele. Keeping the customer engaged and at the epicenter of everything remains the focus of our business, and is the reason for our success. Thanks to social media, that success will continue.