8 Ways to Improve Customer Relationships With Social Media
Are you looking for new ways to say thank you on social media?
Give and take is part of any successful relationship–online or off, business or personal.
In this article I’ll show you eight ways companies are using social media campaigns to thank their customers and foster better customer relationships.
#1: Pay It Forward
Hotel chain DoubleTree is known for their cookie welcome at check-in–it’s their way of “bringing the human touch back to travel.”
On National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, they not only offered cookies to anyone who visited one of their hotels, they also used their social channels to invite others to spread the love by suggesting people who could use a cookie pick-me-up.
People could pay it forward by answering the question, “Who else deserves some Cookie Care?” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and including the #CookieCare hashtag.
DoubleTree delivered cookies and sent out tins of cookies—and acknowledged the fans who were playing along.
Who doesn’t love a DoubleTree cookie? Sharing their signature perk—and letting fans be part of the gifting—was a fun way to say thank you.
#2: Give Back
TOMS Shoes is built on the One for One business model—for every pair of shoes you buy, they donate a pair to a child in need. That vision is incredibly popular with their customers.
To raise extended awareness about the impact a pair of shoes can have on a child’s life, TOMS created the One Day Without Shoes event. Once a year, TOMS encourages everyone to go barefoot to “raise global awareness for children’s health and education.”
When the company asked their customers to help them make a statement, those people responded enthusiastically. To thank them, TOMS collected footage and pictures from participants around the world and put together a simple thank-you video.
By highlighting customers and the difference they made, TOMS was able to give back to their own community.
#3: Own Your Mistakes
Zappos is known for its exceptional customer service. Even so, they’re not immune to mistakes. When an unhappy customer tweeted about a late order, Zappos responded quickly with an apology and a coupon.
No one expects perfection, but owning up and saying “We’re sorry!” is the best way to handle mistakes and show customers they matter.
Humility and sincerity go a long way in social media and show that you value and respect your customers.
#4: Say Thank You
Appreciating customers seems to be working. Today the company is approaching three million followers.
Each animated Twitter note was personalized with the follower’s Twitter handle and written in the chief creative officer’s handwriting style to show how much the company truly appreciated that follower’s engagement.
#5: Encourage Personal Stories
For the 2012 London Olympic Games, P&G created “Thank you, Mom” Facebook pages that included an app that let users upload family photos and write messages to their mothers.
The P&G campaign tugged at heartstrings because so many people have stories about how their moms made a huge difference in their personal success.
Providing a space to publicly thank and pay tribute to their moms gave people a larger sense of community. P&G gave attention back to their fans, followers, customers and viewers and enabled them to thank someone else as well.
#6: Personalize Responses
Carmaker Honda has a loyal customer base. Like any company, Honda appreciates that loyalty. When they created the #HondaLove campaign and invited customers to share their Honda stories and photos across all social networks, customers were ready and willing to do it.
Honda found a way to say thank you with simple personalized responses (human to human, not canned auto-responses) that are cheering them on.
By taking the time to express gratitude with genuine individualized responses, Honda is showing customers and fans that humans are listening and that the company is truly interested in their customers’ experiences and contributions.
#7: Give a Shout-Out
Chrome Industries makes messenger bags, backpacks and other gear for cyclists “who live and ride in the city.” The company took the time to find their most loyal customers, and then sent them limited-edition Chrome Industries jerseys to wear around town.
They gave public shout-outs to the fans and customers who shared Instagram photos of themselves wearing the jerseys (using the #covetedjersey hashtag).
Highlighting customers who take the time to consistently engage with your brand—and share it with their own networks—is a great way to thank them for supporting your company.
#8: Encourage Participation
Vail Ski Resorts’ Epic Moms website gives families advice about travel, activities and even social media.
Knowing that moms cherish time with their families and love to share those memories, Epic Moms contributor Jen Leo wrote a well-timed article explaining how to use Instagram to capture and share family adventures (particularly ski trips, of course).
The article included pictures other people had shared using Vail Resorts hashtags and linked to the Vail Instagram accounts. Readers were invited to contribute their own photos and use the hashtags so others could see their photos too.
By providing value, Vail Resorts was able to inspire customers, offer them the spotlight and help them feel like part of a larger community.
It pays to be kind. Saying thank you with perks, public attention and personalized responses makes your customers, fans and followers feel good. That emotional component can turn a consumer into a promoter or a single purchase into many.
What do you think? How do you use social media campaigns to show customer appreciation? Do you have additional ideas for making fans feel special? Leave you comments below.