Over 40% of social media users report that they expect a response from businesses on social platforms within 60 minutes. Everyone is on social media today- consumers, businesses and everyone in between. People turn to social media to learn more about a business before deciding whether they want to work with them. 

Knowing this poses the question: What are consumers looking for on a business’s social media page?

  • Photos: People want to see your business. Social media experts tell us that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts that include images receive up to 3x more engagement than those without. Including images of yourself, your employees, behind the scenes service calls and before and after photos of your work attracts people to your page and makes your business feel more approachable.
  • Up-to-Date Content: Besides the obvious information that should be updated regularly on your social media pages like phone number, address and business hours, your content should be updated regularly, too. Businesses should be posting engaging content on social media several times each week. Keeping your social posts up-to-date not only shows that you are still actively in business, but also provides easy communication for customers who prefer that channel for conversations. 
  • Authenticity: T-Mobile has a huge following on social media (including users of other cell service providers.) The reason is because of their authenticity. T-Mobile does a regular segment with the CEO baking in his kitchen. What does that have to do with cell service? Not much, other than it makes their company seem personable, fun and easy to work with. Showing consumers and social media followers the exciting side of you/your business makes communication seem more authentic and real.
  • Responsiveness: Whole Foods’ Twitter presence is one to look to for tips. The company shares everything from recipes to industry-relevant news stories. Even though they have nearly 4 million followers, Whole Foods makes a point to respond to Twitter users in a fast, fun and friendly way. They know how to get followers talking about them on social media – by asking them to engage in creating and sharing photos of their recipes or asking for their followers’ feedback on stories they share. Small businesses should be just as responsive to their customers, by quickly responding to messages, comments and reviews on social media and posting content that engages their followers. 
  • Helpful Information: Your followers and customers look to you as the expert in your industry, because you are. Posting helpful information on your social media outlets helps build trust with your followers while also keeping your business relevant to them as one that can meet their needs. Helpful information worth posting includes: updates to your business or services, coupons and upcoming events, tips and tricks for prolonging the life of your services, your opinion on industry trends and related news, etc. 

Social media should be used regularly by businesses- big and small- for interacting with customers. When you interact with customers on social media, you are meeting them where they already are and providing them with more value. When it comes to engaging with followers on social media, your responses should be:

  • Fast: Responding in a timely manner shows customers that they are valuable to you and that you want to help them as quickly as possible. The longer it takes for a business to respond, the more likely they are to lose their customer. In fact, 78% of consumers say they will work with the first business that responds to their message. 
  • Personable: If you were asking a business a question, whether you were upset or not, how would you want them to respond? Being personable in your responses means that you are not talking like a computer, but rather like yourself. Make your customers feel that they are worth listening to by responding in the way you want someone to respond to you. 
  • Friendly: We all know that friendliness is a big part of positive customer service, but it can be easier said than done. When dealing with an angry customer, it can be easy to become angry yourself. However, responding in a friendly manner not only helps alleviate the tension between you and the customer, but it also shows future customers what type of business you are. 
  • Efficient: Helping the customer as much as possible in as little responses as possible is the goal. People don’t want to have a back-and-forth conversation trying to get the information they need. Instead, when someone asks for your pricing on a plumbing service, respond with something like this: “Hey Jessica! The price for a clogged shower drain is $_. We are available this evening at 5pm, or tomorrow morning at 11am. Will either of those times work for you?” This time of response is much more effective and efficient than a one-word answer that requires the customer to follow up with further questions. 

Now is the time to shift your customer service to digital channels. Over 80% of consumers prefer to work with businesses through texting and messaging instead of phone calls. This means that your business should be active on social media and available to your customers through this preferred channel of interaction.

For more insights on marketing strategy that actually works for small business, connect with Jay Bean, Founder of FreshLime and Small Business Marketing Expert on LinkedIn and Twitter. If any of these tips have helped you or if you have anything to add, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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