Social media has entered the grammar school years and is no longer an infant. Businesses who’ve been using social media well are learning that the journey from friend and follower to loyal customer must be a skillfully curated one. The customer experience must be crafted, nurtured and adjusted to fit the tastes of the fan base if a purchase action is to be solicited at trail’s end.
In the infant years, it was enough to make an offer on Facebook or Twitter and provide a link to purchase. That still works, sometimes, for brands who have already established trust and have a history of delivering on their brand promises. If, however, you’re new to social media marketing or are an emerging new brand without a long track record and hundreds of reviews to do the selling for you, paying attention to the environment you create will decrease the time between “hello” and “yes, please” in turn fans into customers.
When a fan leaves Facebook, they feel disoriented and dissatisfied when they land on your home page without any acknowledgement that they’re special to you. Good brands don’t let fans feel slighted.
Here are three rules to help you create a good customer experience.
1. Reward fans with fan-only deals. When someone gives you their “like,” follows your updates and ultimately comes to your website, they expect you to recognize them, reward them and treat them like an insider. Create special landing pages for your social media fans. I’d recommend you create a different landing page for every public outreach venue; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc. Welcome them when they land with copy that let’s them know that you know where they first met you. “We’ve been waiting for you Facebook Fans. Here’s a special offer for your eyes only.” “We Insta-LOVE you for finding your way to our special Instagrammer’s offer.” “This Twixclusive is just for clever peeps only.”
2. Treat fans like insiders. When fans or followers visit your website through a custom landing page, make sure they find something of value for free. This can be a value packed article, a free download for entering their email address or even a contest. Make sure your followers feel that the trip away from their favorite social playground was worth their time. Praise them, thank them, honor them and give them a goodie bag in the way of something they can take away. A sharable quote, a funny or inspirational picture, or a secret discount code will encourage fans to share what they found and make them feel like an insider when they do share.
3. Make a promise and offer a deeper friendship. Make it clear on your landing page that you value your fans, plan to give them special offers regularly and offer to let them know “before everyone else” about upcoming sales, promotions and new products. Promise them that you value their friendship and ask them for permission to send them email updates about these offers. Permission to email a fan is like going steady with a customer. It’s new love. It’s fresh and raw and you must treat this permission with respect so they don’t have to break up with you.
4. Surprise and delight them. Over deliver on your promise. Make it so exciting and worthwhile to be in your inner circle that they can’t believe their luck. Ask them often for feedback. Let them know you’re open to hearing what they want. Then pay attention. This will be the single least expensive customer research you’ll ever do. Consider creating video responses to specific fans when they make a suggestion or ask a question. Image their delight and surprise when you post a “Thank you Joan, great question” video. Fans want to be seen and heard. Just do it.
Turning fans into customers means creating a customized experience for them as they leave their favorite social sites. They expect to be rewarding for taking action beyond just seeing your updates. Surprise them and deliver a special, rewarding fan experience and you’ll be rewarding with loyalty, great word of mouth and more sales.
Do you offer something fans-only specials? I’d love to see your links and hear your success stories.