You’ve launched a Twitter page; created a slick background; and settled in to save the world through Social Media (SM) support. You’re a bit late to the game, but we are happy to have you.
Oooh…look, someone mentioned you in their rant, you responded and fixed their problem, and they responded with the sweetest thing you have ever seen in 140 characters – your very first public commendation.
But, don’t pat yourself on the back too quickly. Essentially, you opened a storefront and acknowledged your customer when they wanted to purchase some milk. Big. Deal. All you have done is what you should have done. Every time a customer mentions you, you should respond, unless, of course, the customer is completely irrational and chose to use their 140 to talk about your mom instead of your service. That dude can be ignored. I give you permission.
But, you want to wow your customers, right?
Here is how: find them and initiate the conversation. Run a search column, or columns, searching for your brand and its various incarnations. When you see something of merit, respond. Simple.
In my last role, we tracked “found” contacts versus “direct” contacts. Direct was anything that came in as an @reply or direct message, found was anything we found through searching the brand. Over 65% of our total contacts were “found.” Yes. Responding to direct messages and mentions is a great start and will definitely be seen as a value to those customers who came to your store, but that is such a small piece of your business. What about the lurkers who walk by daily, staring at your signs with interest but never making a move towards the door? How do you get them to come in? Or the guy, sitting on the corner, talking trash about your store because he is starving and hates that he cannot afford the beautiful hoagie you have in your window? See what happens when you bring him out that sandwich. You will have a customer for life, and if that hoagie is amazing, you may have an advocate for life.
I have had the pleasure of being a “found” customer on a few occasions, and I love it every time. My favorite was this interaction with @RedBaronPizza:
Note: I did not @RedBaronPizza, I just included them in my post. They were searching for their brand, found me, and did a RT reply.
We went on to exchange a few more tweets. The interaction made me feel valued as a customer and increased my loyalty. Even if Jack’s are on super-sale, I still purchase Red Baron every time I am looking for some frozen pizza goodness.
Are there risks, you ask?
Yes. There will be the occasional 1984 reference, and some dude that cannot spell will inevitably tell you to “get da fock out my fed mang.” But, the risk is worth the reward.