By Guest Blogger Allison King:
In the summer of 2011, I became a social media intern for a local retailer I worked at called Aggieland Outfitters. The position opened up after our Facebook fanbase jumped from a couple hundred people to 20,000 due to an online competition. Customer service is the pride of our stores, and the company wanted to make sure we were successfully taking care of our new online fans. My duties included checking the Facebook page regularly, as well as finding interesting content to share with our fans. I must admit, when I first signed on, I thought I had hit the jackpot of summer jobs. I (along with my friends and family) could not believe I would be getting paid to sit around, browse online, and monitor a Facebook page. However, I quickly learned there was much more to successfully maintaining a social media presence. Here are some tips that I learned and wish I had known sooner to optimize customer service.
Social media is the frontline of customer service. We were able to cater to customers and develop a rapport before they even set foot in the store. Having consistent interactions with our fans gave us credibility and reliability, which eventually turned fans into customers.
Entertain them, and they will come. We made sure to limit our posts about merchandise because we did not want to swamp them with advertisements. Many times, that frustrates fans that believe companies are only out for their money. Instead, we worked very hard to provide entertaining content such as videos we shot or A&M related articles. Once they started to tune into our page out of their own will they were more willing to buy our products.
Be quick. Being the first to post about current events or breaking news is crucial. After the story has had time for others to see, a post you think is really interesting is now old news. It is important to be the first to send it out to fans for them to pass around with you as the original source. Once you’ve missed it, the moment has passed.
Include your fans. We often asked fans for their opinion on products or let them vote on certain designs. We also hosted a variety of events where we photographed and made videos of everyone who came. This brought back a lot of fans to the page so they could tag themselves in the photos or share a video they “starred” in with their friends. This assured fans that we truly we truly valued and were interested in them.
My time as a social media intern showed me the importance of using the online world to generate new customers. Our sales improved along with our social media presence. Though the sales were certainly important, our greatest success was learning how to utilize our customer service skills we valued so much from a new perspective. Using social media today in businesses can be a great tool for satisfying customers, and I hope you can take these tips to apply to your own social media outlets. Good luck!
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