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How To Think, Speak & Act Like Your Social Media Customers

social-media-customers

When you intimately know your social media audience, you’re able to act as your social media customers. And acting like your social media customers is important because this is how you gain their attention online.

Creating social buzz isn’t an easy task when you don’t know your audiences’ interests, opinions, and feelings.

So, do yourself a favor and read on for tips on how to think, speak, and act as your social media customers.

Where Most Social Media Marketers Fail

To start, many marketers struggle to identify and reach their target audience. The social media landscape is saturated; getting in front of the right people at the right time is challenging.

However, saturation shouldn’t scare you. In fact, our software partner Sprout Social’s research shows that 50% of consumers have increased their social media usage in the last six months alone. Additionally, Pew Research found seven in 10 Americans use social media.

Marketers need to spend time where their customers are. And trust us, they’re on social media!

Furthermore, because marketers struggle to identify and reach their target audience, many cannot show a return on investment.

To use social media effectively, you must

  1. Have an active social media presence
  2. Ensure the social media channels you’re using align with your customers’ preferences
  3. Invest in eye-popping creative
  4. Focus on engagement (61% of consumers say brands that are best in class on social know how to engage their audience)

If you aren’t yet putting those four social media strategies first, start there and come back!

Getting To Know Your Social Media Customers

First, to act as your social media customers, you must know your customers.

Social media is the perfect focus group for understanding your customers. According to the most recent Sprout Social Index, Above and Beyond, 56% of marketers use social data to understand their audience.

sprout-social-index-2020-social-data

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In a word, the biggest way in which marketers find their target audience is with social data. There’s obvious data collection, like …

  • Demographics
  • Engagement rates
  • Follower growth

Although, to really get to know your social media customers you’ll have to dig deeper.

Let’s unpack a few areas where social data can help you ensure you’re digging in and learning to think, speak, and act as your audience.

Social Data: Content

Social data can tell you what types of content are likely to resonate with your customers.

A few years back, we talked about a simple way we record this data through Seesaw Reporting. We still use this type of reporting today; that’s how valuable it is in finding out which types of content your customers and would-be customers want to see.

Let’s say you’re targeting social media customers celebrating a personal milestone, such as a wedding. Consider which social channels those people use to source inspiration. Pinterest is HUGE when it comes to inspirational content for weddings.

Armed with this knowledge, you can create content that resonates the strongest with your audience and reaches them as they start their customer journey — on Pinterest.

Real-World Example

In Sprout’s 2020 Index, they tout Ted Baker as an example.

To launch its new bridalwear brand, Ted Baker turned to Pinterest to target brides and grooms-to-be after social data revealed weddings are one of the top search topics for Pinners. Knowing that customers used Pinterest to search for wedding inspiration, the Ted Baker team created a series of wedding-inspired boards, Promoted Pins and editorial content to help brides and grooms prepare for their big day. The Wed With Ted campaign helped Ted Baker boost awareness around their new wedding collection and resulted in over 400 in-store consultations.

If you want to make real connections to social media customers, you’ll need to post with purpose (click that link to read a how-to on posting with a purpose!).

Social Data: Engagement

To get to know your social media customers, you’ll need to know why they come to you through social media.

Beyond engaging with content, which we mentioned above, there are several reasons why customers message brands on social.

sprout-social-index-2020-brand-messaging

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It’s important to know that we’re not just talking about a “like” or a heart when we’re digging into engagement social data. What we really want to measure goes beyond vanity metrics.

When your customers compliment you, ask you a question, or join in on a conversation, that’s how you know you’re doing it right. Conversational marketing should be happening throughout the customer journey. It’s one of THE BEST ways to get to know your customer.

Social media is often the first place where customers will turn to for product and service information, so your strategy should include sharing timely updates as soon as they’re available.

Real-World Example

In Sprout’s 2020 Index, they show how one brand used social media to highlight changes to their service because of COVID-19.

Shortly after the pandemic started, CorePower Yoga shifted their in-person business model to online, virtual classes. They used their Twitter account to keep customers up to date with the latest policy changes while remaining transparent about the steps they were taking to address certain challenges.

corepoweryoga-covid-content

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Another area consumers use social media to chat with brands? Customer Service or Customer Care.

Just look at the top reasons users unfollow brands on social media!

sprout-social-index-2020-unfollow-brands

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If you have poor support or poor customer service, you won’t be getting close to your social media customers.

Finally, if you’re not sure how to manage customer support through social media, here are eight ideas to help you up your game.

Social Data: Responsiveness

Last but certainly not least, we need to talk responsiveness. As in, how long does it typically take your brand to respond to mentions through social media?

How quickly you respond on social media is critical. 40% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours.

In all honesty, most brands fail HARD here. Just look at the response rate data by Sprout Social parsed out by industry.

sprout-social-index-2020-response-rates

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Eek. Ouch. And UGH. Not one industry has a response rate of even 50%!

Use your ‘response’ social data to ensure you’re keeping pace with the standards within your industry and with your competitors.

  • Do you receive a higher volume of engagement (e.g. comments and Retweets) over others?
  • What is the average number of responses received per social media post?
  • How long does it take you to respond to mentions on average?

At the end of the day, responding to social mentions in a timely manner is social media 101. If you can’t do that part correctly then you aren’t ready to dig deep. #HarshTruth

Think, Speak & Act Like Your Social Media Customers

To get to know your social media audiences intimately, you’ll need to do some digging into your social media data.

Social data can help you understand who your customer really is, detailing how they use social media and what types of content grabs their attention. And furthermore, what keeps them coming back!

With this information, you can develop creative campaigns for your brand that engage social media customers, and leverage the different social channels to drive specific outcomes.

For more information on what consumers want on social media, we highly suggest you download Sprout Social’s *FREE* 2020 Sprout Index, which can be found here.


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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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Sprout Social Agency Partner & Founding Member
Category: Social Media Marketing, Social Strategy
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