A recent study VerticalResponse found that 43% of small businesses dedicate six or more hours per week to social media marketing with many spending as much as 20+ hours. Small businesses say that finding and posting content to their blog and across social media channels is the most time consuming part of their social marketing efforts.
One solution is to flip the model on its head and leverage what people are saying about a brand on social media to fuel a business’ content engine.
Everywhere you turn — Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, product pages, customer support forums and brand communities — there are valuable questions, feedback and praise about your company’s products and services that can be repurposed to benefit your business. By effectively managing this user-generated content, business can make its site more social and enhance the customer experience.
A small business looking to scale without adding headcount, should consider leveraging the voice of its customers in five ways:
1. Compile customer-generated content from scattered social networks onto your Web site
90% of the world’s data has been created in the past two years. Much of this data is customer-generated content that can be leveraged for word of mouth marketing, used as resources for peer-to-peer product or service feedback, or to beef up company knowledge-bases. Aggregating relevant content and strategically displaying it on your company’s site. Showcase customer satisfaction and highlight useful product reviews on listing pages.
2. Don’t shut out negative comments — use them to improve your company’s offerings
If your customer is taking the time to write a complaint or concern, they have a legitimate reason to do so. if one customer is complaining, other customers are likely having similar thoughts. Show your customers that you’re listening by using feedback—whether positive or negative—to improve your products and services.
When companies simply delete negative comments instead of addressing them, customers will take their conversations to different channels where marketers and marketing teams might not see them, but other customers will. Addressing negative comments publically on your brand or social media pages ensures that all customers involved, whether they’re directly involved in the conversation or even those who are passive viewers of content see the company’s high level of engagement and quick resolution.
3. Showcase customer praise on your homepage
Consumers look to their peers first to get trusted feedback. This makes word of mouth marketing more powerful than traditional marketing and advertising because it comes with a level of trust and authenticity. Its value is multiplied when it is aggregated from distributed channels and showcased on your company’s homepage.
4. Highlight user-generated reviews and FAQs on product listing pages
Consumers generated more than half a trillion impressions about products and services through social media sites in 2011, according to Forrester Research; and Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” reports that 70% of customers read reviews before making a purchase decision.
5. Foster an online customer community as an integral part of your social strategy
Customer communities can be thought of as the new and improved forum -- a place where you can connect customers to each other and to your employees. By fostering these communities on your site, you can then leverage this rich (and free) content as part of your own content strategy.
These customer communities also ensure that the conversations generated around your company’s offerings don’t just fade away over time, but are indexed and made easily searchable, improving your SEO and drawing more traffic and leads to your company.