There is no doubt that Twitter has changed a lot over the last 12 months. I remember when Twitter users, including me, focused their time and energy solely following celebrities, power users and athletes. We would track all of their tweets and essentially lurk around as we tried to figure out how to increase our number of followers.

And although some people on Twitter still do this, I rarely go to Twitter with the intent of creeping on the likes of Angelina Jolie or Kobe Bryant.

Why? Because Twitter has become a place of true conversations. It’s a place where people are talking with their small networks and where they are interacting with brands on a deeper level than ever before. For the first time, brands are being held accountable for poor service, poor products and more in front of millions of people on a daily basis. Furthermore, brands are being approached for help, support and even people who are interested in their offering.

In this post, we highlight the importance of developing an integrated social media and customer relationship management program for your business. We do this by showcasing 5 different tactics that you can implement for your business to go from conversations to conversions.

Be sure to establish a listening strategy through a channel like Hootsuite that allows and create columns and track ongoing trends and conversations about your industry and brand. Be sure to not only listen for customers’ compliments, but also keep your ears tuned to hear their complaints about your brand and competition. Social media monitoring has moved from being merely a marketing buzzword, to the hottest customer support channel today. Customers talk about brands and the service they receive on Twitter or Facebook, influencing their friends and your future leads.

Resolve Customer problems
Customer Service Response Using Twitter
It’s important to use social media to resolve problems as they arise. Unless you have a social media command center established, it’s challenging for most brands to respond at all hours of the night. If anything, brands should strive to at least respond to customer problems within 24 hours of the initial post. While it may surprise many, it’s surprising to see how quickly a simple tweet can turn an angry customer into a raving fand. If you provide the customer with value and try to solve their problem on their terms, you have an increased chance of building a credible, sustainable relationship.

Understand & Embrace Service
Social media has revolutionized the way you can interact with customers and generate new ones. The way that brands are now able to interact with consumers across the globe presents a channel along with an opportunity. The challenge is the wide range of conversations and the resourcing required to manage such volume, the opportunity lies in customer service. Social media fulfills a variety of different functions ranging from the ability to enhance your marketing & sales to customer service. Here are a few ways it can lead to an enhanced customer service:

  • Gives business a human face
  • Engages with prospects and customers
  • Creates new purchase options
  • Presents an opportunity to celebrate customers
  • Provides additional product-related content
  • Answers product-related questions
  • Supplies customers with a new contact channel

Measuring Results
For social media to be successful, we (marketers and sales professionals) need to regularly measure our efforts and look for opportunities to improve. The brands who are simply tweeting for the sake of tweeting or pinning for the sake of pinning are the ones who are missing out on a handful of opportunities. If you aren’t looking at overall levels of conversation, growth rate, share of voice, creating lists of engaged customers (new and old) and following up on them, then you aren’t utilizing social media to its full capacity. Understanding the overall success, failure and momentum in your efforts, directly responding to the trend, and doing it on a regular basis is crucial to success.

Worry less About Fans
While the number of followers on your Twitter account is important, it’s not the most important metric in your toolkit. It’s important for businesses to think about how many of their fans or followers are actually listening to their message and furthermore, how many of them are sharing it. Instead of constantly looking for new opportunities to increase your reach; look for opportunities to build stronger bonds with existing customers and existing followers. You could very well be sitting on a goldmine and not even realize the potential within your existing user base. Remember, it’s easier to keep one customer happy than it is to make a new one believe in you and your offering.