Social media can help business owners improve their service and build customer loyalty. The most effective ways to use social media depend on your industry, your customersā€™ social media habits and the goals you want to achieve. Ā Here are ideas for how three companiesā€”a running store, an audio/video equipment shop and a baby supply retail storeā€”could be using social media for customer service.

Running shoes and gear: A step in the right direction
A store that sells footwear and athletic supplies to devoted runners wants to improve communications with customers before and after their visits. It could:

  • Invite customers to ā€œlikeā€ the storeā€™s Facebook page and post frequently about local road races, fitness tips and Facebook-only specials. Ask for questions and provide answers quickly, sharing links to articles and resources on the storeā€™s website when appropriate.
  • Create two-minute videos of running tips and techniques. Post the videos on the storeā€™s YouTube channel and share links to them on other social media platforms.
  • Use an email marketing service such as MailChimp or iContact to send e-newsletters with information about running events, new merchandise and upcoming sales.
  • Ask customers to post testimonials on review sites such as Yelp and Google+ Local. Visit the review sites often to post thank you messages and respond to any unhelpful comments.

Home theater store: Building trust with clients
A store that specializes in high-end audio and video equipment wants to improve customer service and educate buyers on how to choose the right system for their needs. Here are some strategies it could use:

  • Create a section of the company website that houses FAQs and useful content such as equipment selection worksheets, cost calculators, and cable and accessory checklists. Share these resources on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Use social media monitoring tools such as Google Alerts and Social Mention to track and contribute to discussions related to setting up a home theater. Identify topics of high interest and post articles about them on the store website. Share links to the articles on social media channels and discussion boards.
  • Set up a Twitter account and invite customers to ask questions and exchange information. Tweet about buying tips, sales, new merchandise and upcoming events.
  • Use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to make appointments for free one-on-one home theater design consultations, or announce the availability of appointments and link to an appointment scheduling application on the store website.

Baby gear retail shop: Establishing trust, reinforcing expertise
A small shop selling baby gear wants to become known as the go-to resource in a high-end community. It could:

  • Set up Twitter and Facebook accounts to answer customer queries about merchandise, product safety, store hours and return policies.
  • Use survey tools such as SurveyMonkey to find out which items customers want most.
  • Hold in-store events to introduce new product lines. Offer rewards for attendance on location-based services such as Foursquare and promote the events on Twitter and Facebook. Share pictures of the new inventory on Pinterest.
  • Keep parents informed about safety practices, product recalls, new merchandise and upcoming sales via an email newsletter.
  • Create short videos to demonstrate how to set up cribs, strollers and other baby gear and post them on YouTube. Share links to the videos on other social media channels.

 

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