by Danielle Petroskey, Social Media Marketing Manager
A few weeks ago I attended the Social Media Marketing World 2014 conference in San Diego. While I learned many new techniques, concepts, and ideas, from the best teachers, speakers, and rock stars in the industry, some themes stood out above the rest.
Social media is meant to be social. This means to:
- Communicate authentically as a person, with a name and personality, instead of hiding behind the logo or avatar of the brands we represent.
- Engage in conversations & build relationships with people in our social communities.
- Ask questions and listen to what matters to the fans who follow us.
- Create and share relevant helpful content, instead of just pushing out self-promotional posts.
- Have fun and laugh with our fans.
- Understand that people buy from people.
While I pondered what all of that meant, I realized these are not new concepts for me, and probably not for you either. Please let me explain…
“How can I help you?”
This question was taboo when I worked in a high-end retail boutique many years ago. It was considered a “stale expression” used in fast food restaurants. We were taught to ask more descriptive, open-ended questions, while building a rapport with a prospective customer. To treat each person as a new friend, make them comfortable in our store, and listen to their likes, dislikes, preferences, and suggestions more than we spoke.
While we asked the question with different words, the goals remained the same;
- How can we be of service to you?
- How can we add value to your life, family, and business?
- How can we make you so happy that you’ll want to tell your friends about us? (This was the Holy Grail, considering we were selling high-end costume jewelry in swanky spots around the world and few people wanted their friends to know they were wearing fakes).
- What can we do to make you say -” there are many similar stores with similar products and we could’ve bought from anyone, but we chose yours. You were the difference.”?
I’m proud to say we had a huge repeat clientele. People would stop in our stores just to say hello and tell us how much they loved our products and service, but most of all our teams. Because we cared about them as people, not just as customers.
- When something new came in that we knew they wanted, we called.
- When we read about something in a magazine we thought they might like or had something to do with their business, we wrote a note and sent it to them.
- If we knew they were having a hard day, we’d make them laugh or listen to their woes.
- If we had a tip that would make their lives easier, we shared it.
- When they purchased something, shared a suggestion with us, or referred their friends to us, we thanked them.
Yes, we sold a ton of jewelry to them too. But, we also made sure that we offered them value in their lives. Because we realized our customers were people just like us; parents, sons and daughters, siblings, professionals, business owners, friends, etc., living life the best they knew how.
The Takeaway– Social media is much more valuable than just platforms to talk about your brand. It’s an opportunity to help and connect with people, as people, all over the world in real time. Next time you meet someone, online or off, keep the thought “how can I help you?” at the front of your mind and see what happens.
How are you bringing value to the people in your communities? Please share in the comments.
Need some inspiration? Kim Garst, CEO of Boom! Social, created 50 Ideas To Help You Connect With Your Followers.