Social customers are people who buy from your company and actively promote it online. They may be any place within the life cycle. These customers are extremely valuable. When they mention your brand to their community, they provide social proof that your company, products, and services are good. Their value doesn’t stop there. These customers are consistently proving to order more often and place higher average orders than their non-social counterparts.

In most companies, social customers are only a small segment of their customer file accounting for 1% – 8% of the total number. The count is consistently growing, but connecting the dots between social and customer activity is challenging. Google+ is the only social platform that requires people to use their real name. None of the networks provide access to email addresses at this time. The lack of reliable information makes searching for your customers online is a tedious and inaccurate process.

Capturing user information at customer touchpoints is the best way to connect with the people who matter most on the social networks. When they provide the connection data, you know they are interested in connecting with you and what platforms they are using. The number of social platforms is increasing every day. Investing resources to create a presence on all of the platforms will not generate a return on investment. It is better to focus your efforts on the two or three platforms where your customers are most active.

Establishing a social media presence requires participation from marketing and customer care. The best strategy is for the marketing team to handle the outgoing content and promotional messages and customer care to manage the daily interaction. People speaking to you or mentioning your brand indicates that they are interested in connecting with your company. Your customer care team is already well trained to converse with customers and prospects. Social media uses different tools, but the needs are the same. People don’t want to wait for someone to find the answers to their questions.

Connecting with customers on social platforms moves us directly into one-to-one marketing. It allows companies without bricks-and-mortar stores to establish relationships beyond transactions. The benefits are great when it is done well. The challenges are different from other channels but can be overcome. Creating a solid foundation for capturing information and building a community of customers and viable prospects is critical to the long term success.

Measuring the effect of social activity requires a good benchmarking strategy that allows you to see cause and effect. If you don’t have one, establish it before heavily investing in the social side of your business. If you aren’t measuring the results, you risk wasting valuable resources that could be used to grow your business.

Posted By: Jeff Pulvino

Original Article By: Debra Ellis

  • Delicious
  • Tumblr
  • Google Buzz
  • E-Mail
  • Bebo
  • Digg
  • FriendFeed
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Google Reader
  • Identi.ca
  • Mixx
  • MySpace
  • Netvibes
  • Newsvine
  • Posterous
  • Reddit
  • Slashdot
  • Squidoo
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Windows Live
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Yahoo Buzz

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