A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO MORE
EFFECTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA
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Lien Brusselmans works as Marketing Manager at
Engagor. She joined the company in its early days
and initially handled not only Marketing but also
Sales and Customer Service.
The experience she gained has already proven very
valuable when writing blog posts, cases studies and
e-books like the one you are about to read.
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WHAT IS THIS E-BOOK ABOUT?
In this e-book you will learn more about how Customer Service on social media
is no longer enough. People expect more: they want to genuinely engage with
THIS E-BOOK DISCUSSES SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
AND HOW YOUR OWN COMPANY CAN MAKE IT WORK.
Social Media Engagement is The New Marketing 3
Why Should you Engage With your Community? 5
How to Become a Leader in Social Media Engagement 7
How to Turn Consumers Into Your Very Own Marketers 11
Setting up an Engagement Strategy 14
Let Social Media Management Tools Help You 16
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For far too long, Marketing has been a one-way street. Through campaigns you
send out a message, and you hope it captures consumers’ attention and helps
them remember your brand when they are in need of your products or services.
This might have worked for some brands and some campaigns, but today con-
sumers have had enough of this pushy and imposing way of working.
They want to go back to the basics: real human relationships.
CONSUMERS WANT TO GO BACK TO THE BASICS:
REAL HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS.
Thanks to social media, this is becoming reality. Consumers are talking to brands
and more and more brands are responding. What’s more, they not only reply to
people’s questions but the Customer Service team also goes beyond that and
builds actual relationships.
SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT IS THE
Photo by highwaysagency on Flickr
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Through this genuine Social Media Engagement, Customer Service is becoming
the new Marketing.
Social Media Engagement is more than “just” interacting with your community. It
also involves listening to what your audience has to say and acting on it. If people
are displeased with a certain product or service, companies can easily find out
about it. Not by scanning the social web 24/7, but by having it scanned for them.
All major brands are working with social media monitoring and management tools
nowadays. Why? Because these tools monitor the social web for you. They
combine all search results in one central social media inbox and allow you to filter
the results according to your needs. You can filter on certain products (how do
people like this product?), regions (what do people in Texas have to say about
us?), authors, sentiment, and so much more. You can learn more about social
media management tools in chapter 6 of this e-book.
By automating all the preliminary work (except, of course, the conversation), com-
panies have time to focus on what it’s all about: Social Media Engagement.
Learning what people say about you, act on it, and interact with your community.
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ENGAGED CONSUMERS ARE LOYAL
You might be wondering why you should bother investing all that time and energy
into conversations with consumers and that is indeed a fair question. After all,
business is about making money and not about making new friends. What’s the
use of being regarded as a great brand if this is not reflected in your sales?
IF YOU RELATE TO A BRAND, YOU WILL BE MUCH MORE
LIKELY TO BUY NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FROM
Well, you can take our word for it. Your efforts will pay off! Consider your own ex-
perience. If you plan on purchasing a new laptop and you’re choosing where to
buy it, what will you do? Buy it from a store you: already have a good experience
with, that has already helped you very well in the past, and that you feel that you
WHY SHOULD YOU ENGAGE WITH
Photo by jasonahowie on Flickr
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relate to? Or, at some other shop that you’ve never bought from or even spoken
with? Assuming the price is the same at both stores, most people will go for
option 1. If you relate to a brand, you will be much more likely to buy new
products and services from that brand.
ENGAGED CONSUMERS BECOME BRAND ADVOCATES
What is even better than having one customer loyally buying from your brand?
Having many! By building a good relationship with one customer, you can
reach their entire network. If consumers are pleased with your products and
service, they will spread the love. Both online and offline on social media, these
people will become real brand ambassadors.
BY BUILDING A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH ONE
CUSTOMER, YOU CAN REACH THEIR ENTIRE NETWORK.
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HOW TO BECOME A LEADER IN
SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
Good Social Media Engagement is not some complex concept for a few, privi-
leged social initiates. Some people get so caught up in the minute complexities,
they forget about its roots. Just strip away all the technical jargon and industry
terms, and you’re left with this: the makings for good Social Media Engage-
ment are the same as those for good offline engagement.
The need for good business practices has always existed. The way a business
treats the needs of a customer now is no different than 50 years ago. What
changed though, is the method with which businesses provide service and sup-
port to their customers.
Though customers constantly interact with companies on the internet, it doesn’t
mean that they expect any less of a genuine interaction. It’s imperative that com-
panies realize that an interaction in any environment, whether it be with an
in-store employee or an online community manager, should always maintain
the same level of courtesy and helpfulness.
Photo by birgerking on Flickr
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Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to good Social Media
Build Relationships Both On- and Offline
All the time and energy your company invests in growing a social network, buil-
ding a brand experience, developing a marketing strategy, etc. is very important.
But, it is completely wasted if you’re forgetting the ultimate truth: on the other end
of every business transaction is a person.
It’s not the amount of Page likes or Twitter followers that move mountains, it’s the
network of relationships you build with people offline. By taking the time to plant
the seeds in those personal business relationships, you’ll be rewarded with a
flourishing network of people that can AND want to help your business succeed.
Customers want to encounter real people in service and support situations. We
all dread those automated, call-in customer support lines where you have to fight
an uncooperative options menu and a dead computer voice.
Why should people feel any differently in regards to social media Customer Ser-
vice? In many situations, it’s better to avoid automation and have a small staff to
respond to social media Customer Service issues for a human touch.
DON’T FORGET THE ULTIMATE TRUTH: ON THE OTHER
END OF EVERY BUSINESS TRANSACTION IS A PERSON.
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Entrust Your Social Team with the Reputation of Your Brand
At times, there can be nothing more frustrating than the forced smile and nod of
a Customer Service agent who truly understands your problem but is powerless
to provide a proper solution.
A company’s support team serves as the face of that company and should be
equipped to handle problems in the most thoughtful and professional manner
possible. Customers don’t want your sympathy, they want you to remedy their
problem with an expeditious and equivalently appropriate solution.
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Every company has to decide for itself what makes for an effective Social En-
gagement strategy. What will set your brand apart in the minds of customers is
the unique way you customize your social business practices. This is what will
keep people talking about you, and nothing beats word-of-mouth!
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HOW TO TURN CONSUMERS INTO
YOUR VERY OWN MARKETERS
Talking to your customers and turning them into brand advocates is still a bit of a
vague concept. To make this more concrete, we’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to
empower your customers to become your biggest ambassadors.
CUSTOMERS ARE NEVER PASSIONATE ABOUT YOU,
THEY’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT YOUR PRODUCT
Boost Offline Word-Of-Mouth
Customers are never passionate about you, they’re passionate about what your
product offers them. That’s why companies need to reach out to people that do
magnificent things with their product and help show them off.
Photo by denisdervisevic on Flickr
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Don’t use influencers (or influencer marketing) alone to put the spotlight on your
product, but also use existing customers who are already die-hard fans of your
product and shine the spotlight on them.
Build Die-Hard Brand Advocates
A very efficient way of getting people excited about your brand is by reaching out
to them with helpful information about your products.
Companies that provide customers with helpful information score high so-
cial points and successfully nurture brand advocacy. Real-time help can turn a
negative situation into a winning customer experience and help develop a strong
connection with customers.
Encourage Customers to Give Testimonials
Testimonials on your website are a great sales technique if you don’t push it too
much. The right testimonial gains trust of customers and creates credibility with
Clearly show your website visitors that other people have dealt with the
same issues and were able to overcome them by using your product.
This way you can show your visitors that your ultimate goal is to help them.
Testimonials should be short, easy-to-consume, and genuine.
Never just include quotes such as, “I like your product and the price is great.” Let
your customers be specific about your product’s key features.
Dedicate a Page on Your Website to Use Cases
You can take testimonials one step further by showcasing complete case studies
on a dedicated page on your website. Make that content come to life by adding
quotes, important feedback, or even include a short video.
A dedicated use cases page puts your customers in the spotlight. It lets them tell
For example, Zappos is a company that heavily focuses on responding to
customer issues in real-time and creating the ultimate customer experi-
ence. Its warm and genuine tone of voice makes them receive an incredibly
high amount of positive feedback.
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a story from their own perspective from customer acquisition, to purchase, and
on to engagement.
A dedicated use cases page is a way of extending the brand you’ve worked so
hard to create. Use cases are an important element of branding because people
get to know your brand from someone else’s perspective.
Ask for a Much-Wanted Review
Focus not only on your own website, but widen your scope and concentrate on
external online resources. Reading a positive review from an existing customer
can only bolster confidence for the right purchase.
There’s no amount of advertising, tweeting, or direct mailing that has quite the
same impact on customers the way an objective peer review does. What you say
about your brand doesn’t matter. It’s what others say that counts!
It’s important to remember that soliciting reviews from customers should be
handled delicately. The biggest challenge is actually getting them and not dea-
ling with negative ones. Make sure you make the reviewing process as easy as
possible. Offering a small yet appropriate incentive (like a 10% discount or similar
offer) can often help convince people it’s worth their time.
THE RIGHT TESTIMONIAL GAINS THE TRUST OF CUS-
TOMERS AND CREATES CREDIBILITY WITH PROSPECTS.
This is the new Marketing. You talk to your consumers to create a genuine
relationship. You help them with their questions, you listen to their feedback,
and you show gratitude if they actively support and advocate your brand. In re-
turn, consumers will be loyal to your brand and spread the love. The result?
More sales and higher retention.
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SETTING UP AN ENGAGEMENT
For some brands, a substantial part of their Customer Engagement will of course
be Customer Service. The question you should ask yourself is whether you are
going to reply to every single post. Will you also reply to people that are just
talking about your brand and not addressing you directly? Will you reply to insults
Every company has their own angle when coming up with an engagement
strategy and more concretely an answering scheme. An answering scheme is a
clear guide social media agents follow on a day to day basis when social media
messages roll in.
SIT DOWN AND BUILD YOUR ANSWERING
SCHEME BEFORE YOU DIVE INTO SOCIAL MEDIA
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Comments versus questions
The core of social media Customer Service is replying to the questions people
ask your brand. But then there are also more ambivalent posts like remarks or
people who are just talking to their friends about your brand.
If you pick this up and the message actually contains a question, you can reach
out and offer your help. People will be positively surprised at your proactive ap-
proach! This is how you turn Customer Service into genuine Customer Engage-
Twitter @mention or not?
Some brands reply to all social messages about their brand while others don’t.
What often happens is that brands don’t react to tweets that only mention their
name but not @mention their Twitter handle. Use a social media management
tool to easily pick up both types of messages and reply to them. Small effort for
you, very much appreciated by customers!
If people compliment your brand, it’s a nice gesture to thank them, like, or favorite
their message. Just a heads up that you appreciate them taking the time to share
their positive experience with your brand! Of course, if the workload is too high,
you should prioritize the actual questions.
Remember your parents’ wise words: if someone insults or mocks you,
don’t start an argument but just ignore them. The same goes for insults to
your brand. There’s no use in responding to these types of messages. Peo-
ple can give their opinion or criticize you because of a bad experience with
your brand, and in that case, you should definitely give them a response.
However, once these become offensive insults, it’s best to just ignore them.
Key takeaway? Sit down and build your answering scheme before you dive
into social media Customer Service. It will save you lots of time, worries, and
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LET SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT
TOOLS HELP YOU
Social media management tools often have a lot more features than the ones
you’re using. You probably often think ‘I wish I could do this’ or ‘it would be cool
to do that’. What if we told you there is a good chance the tool you are using for
social media management actually allows you to do these actions? Here’s four
things you might already have wished for in the past, and how you can actually
make these dreams come true.
I wish I didn’t see all these French messages, I don’t even speak any
Solution: automatic routing
Set up an automation recipe to make sure all messages in French are automa-
tically assigned to your colleague who speaks French. In the same way you can
route all messages by certain authors, on certain topics, with a certain sentiment,
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Didn’t this person ask us exactly the same question last month?
Solution: history of conversations between your brand and a customer
If you want to offer efficient Customer Service and build relationships, you need
context. As a customer, you also expect brands to know some things about you:
which products/service have you bought, what questions have you already asked
in the past, etc. If a customer has asked exactly the same question only one
month ago, it’s worth the effort to find out why it wasn’t answered properly back
then. Maybe the person who answered this customer added a note with some
more information to his contact information sheet. Context is essential! It makes
your Customer Service more efficient and the customer will be grateful for this
MAKE SURE YOU RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC EMAIL
NOTIFICATION WHENEVER AN INFLUENCER MENTIONS
YOUR BRAND TO AVOID A CRISIS OR FULLY BENEFIT
FROM A POSITIVE POST.
What if an influencer says something about us and we only reply after 5
Solution: email notification whenever an influencer mentions your brand
If online influencers talk about your brand, it’s always a good thing to respond
fast. If it’s a negative remark, you should apologize, explain, and show that you
care and want to help or solve the problem.
If it’s positive, you can share the post with all your followers or fans, reach out to
the influencer to thank them, etc. Waiting several hours to do this doesn’t work
on social media. The effect will be much less powerful. Make sure you receive an
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automatic email notification whenever an influencer mentions your brand to avoid
a crisis or fully benefit from a positive post.
I wish I didn’t lose that much time looking up the information customers
Solution: use canned responses to quickly introduce links to information
in your replies
Canned responses (or templates, scripts, whatever you call them) often have a
negative connotation. Indeed, you shouldn’t send out standard replies to every
question people ask on social media. How would you feel about it yourself?
You can, however, very well use canned responses for bits of information you
have to share over and over again. If there are some FAQs that always come
back, you can make the link to the FAQ a canned response so you can easily
introduce it in your reply to a customer. Add some words of your own, and you’re
done. This will save you loads of valuable time!
USE CANNED RESPONSES TO QUICKLY INTRODUCE
LINKS TO INFORMATION IN YOUR REPLIES
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IN THIS E-BOOK, YOU HAVE LEARNED MORE ON
HOW TO EFFECTIVELY ENGAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
AND WHY THIS IS SO IMPORTANT.
A SMALL RECAP OF THE KEY TAKEAWAYS:
1. People long for genuine relationships with brands on social media
2. Engaged consumers are loyal and become brand advocates
3. Build online relationships as if you were talking face to face
4. Brand advocates market your brand through reviews, testimonials and word
5. Build a thorough Engagement Strategy before you dive into social media
6. Social media management tools save you valuable time
Social media holds a huge power for brands, so don’t neglect it.
Social Media Engagement is becoming an invaluable Marketing tool, and the
sooner you adapt, the better.
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