Social media offers real time interaction and thus engagement between small businesses and their target audience. Independent local businesses that don’t use social media or fail to use it effectively will lag behind competitors that will explore and utilize the medium. Social media is relevant and potent enough to help local businesses work on the entire premise of customer management. From lead generation to sales, retention to managing the brand image or reputation, attending to customers’ grievances and then resolving major public relations issues, everything can be done on social media. The trick is to do it right.
Here is a brief guide to help small businesses use social media to study their customers.
- Observe how your customers and target audience react to what you do, what you have done and how you are attending to both. Pay heed to the public sentiment or the mood. By watching what people are saying about your business or the products and services, you will be able to gauge if they are happy, very happy, not so happy, sad, disappointed, angry or frustrated. If you know how your customers feel about your company, its products or services, then you can easily manage the issues and influence a change in the opinion or feeling.
- While general mood or sentiment is the larger picture, there are many minor things that a small business can work on using social media. Let us take the example of customer service. A customer not getting the service or having issues with the delivery of a product, struggling with installation of an item or having some system issues, prospective customers not getting enough information or existing customers having problems with their billing. All these issues or problems can be attended to in real time. The customers and the entire target audience can reach out to the local shops on social media and everything can be addressed quickly, effectively and publicly if desired. In effect, local businesses can win new customers, retain existing customers and establish their entities as a proactive brand that is heavily focused to ensure complete customer satisfaction.
- Social media can also help a small business to understand how the audience perceives an ad or offer, a product or a service, if customers are looking for more or if they are considering alternatives, among others. Observing all such activity and drawing up relevant inferences will help a small business to make amends, to work and act in a certain way which will make it the brand that everyone wants and cherishes.