The consumer experience is changing thanks to social media. Or more accurately, social media has completely changed the way customers interact with businesses.
Consumers use social media outlets to do everything from research store locations, look up contact information and driving directions, research product details, and even address customer service issues. It is no longer enough to provide a positive in-store experience, businesses need to provide a positive online consumer experience as well.
Recent consumer reports have shown that while most businesses have some sort of online presence, many customers are refusing to do business with companies that do not provide adequate information online.
Unfortunately, many businesses still fear social media, which is why they avoid it. A common misconception is that if they can stay off the social media “grid,” people will not talk about them at all. The truth is that online conversations will occur whether or not a business participates.
Many business owners do not know where to begin when it comes to social media, while others simply throw profiles online and think they are finished. But before a company starts a social media campaign, they need to truly understand their customer. What sort of information is the customer looking for? What could make their lives easier? Is it possible to help them relive their consumer experience through a mobile phone by using photos and videos? Which social media platforms do the customers use? Profiling the target audience will not only take a lot of the guess work out of the process, but it will help streamline all social media marketing efforts.
In addition to making it easier for customers to find and receive information online, businesses can enhance the consumer experience by rewarding loyal customers through their mobile phones, and helping them share their experience with friends. Some local merchants will even work with the major social networks to provide exclusive online and mobile deals to loyal customers.
Every business knows, a positive consumer experience is the best form of marketing, because the customer will often tell their friends. And now, with mobile phones and social networks, customers can tell their friends, and even complete strangers, more easily.
Once a business has created their social media plan, they will need to continually revisit it and measure whether it is truly contributing to a positive consumer experience. Social media is continually changing and evolving, as are customer needs. In order to be successful, the social media-based consumer experience program needs to continually grow and evolve along with industry trends and customer needs.
A positive online consumer experience can delight and please customers, making it one of the best — and most affordable — forms of marketing a company can invest in. In this day and age, any business that is not utilizing social media platforms in their consumer experience plans is not only behind the times, but is potentially missing out on many new customers, and losing old ones.