In my last post, I coined the term “social customer success” which I define as using the power of social media to build stronger relationships with your customers for the purpose of developing customers for life and elevating your own career. This area is separate from doing support via social media. I will go into the specifics in this post on how you can either transform into a social customer success manager or improve in this area.
Social customer success involves the following:
- Create a solid LinkedIn presence. I’m not going into how to do this here as there are many great articles out there (like this one by Jason Miller). Make sure it’s current and professional.
- Connect with your customers on LinkedIn. Add any customers that you meet in person, speak with on the phone or have a positive email exchange right away to your network. There are many great tools out there to help you with this. I love Rapportive for Gmail and LinkedIn Contacts. They both make it easy and send me daily reminders.
- Join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to the space that you’re in and are a place that your customers go to learn more about how to do their jobs better. Listen to what is being said in those groups and contribute by either posting relevant content or better yet, sharing your own experiences. As Customer Success Managers, we have access to some of the best stories out there. Don’t keep those bottled up!
- Follow and engage with customers on Twitter and Google+. You should also build out your profiles on these channels as well. Remember to keep your profiles professional but you should also add your personality as well. For Twitter, I constantly look for customers that mention our company and then add them to a Twitter list so I can more easily engage with them at a later date. I use a mobile app called Flipboard to cycle through this Twitter list and will sometimes retweet, favorite or respond to certain tweets that I find interesting. I also like to better understand my customers – what issues are they facing, what are they busy with these days and how can I be of greater assistance.
You can also find opportunities to recognize and delight them. For example, we’ve seen examples where customers are recommending our product on Twitter.By listening and recognizing them, you’re showing your appreciation. I do something similar on Google+ by +1 content that I find interesting. I also try and favorite or retweet something when I follow a customer. This usually will result in a follow back which you should be striving for – you want them to have you on their radar as well.Facebook can also be used as a way of connecting with customers but I would only connect with those who you have a real friendship with. You don’t want to cross the line here as many people on Facebook like to keep their business and personal lives separate.
- Post interesting and relevant content on your social channels. This is the most time-consuming but the most rewarding as it will contribute the most to elevating your presence with your customers. Not all of your customers will be posting items via their social channels but that doesn’t mean they are not listening and watching themselves. Just because you may not get a +1, like or retweet doesn’t mean your content is not being consumed. Greater than 80% of those on social media are what we would call “lurkers”. They read through the content that is out there without actually contributing themselves. I’ve chatted with a number of my connections and many have said how much they enjoy the content I post but have actually never indicated this online.
The Tools I Use: I use tools such as Buffer (to spread out my posts and to time them correctly), Feedly (to capture all of my RSS feeds that I review for awesome posts), Pocket (to save the items I like to read and share later), Flipboard to review content across my social networks and Hootsuite to monitor my social networks. Like I said, this is the most time consuming part and you really have to commit to it. Modern organizations are making this easier by launching employee advocacy tools to encourage customer success and other team members to share content across their social networks. These tools can package up the content so all employee need to do is review and click “share”. I know at least one customer success leader that has made social sharing a priority for his customer success team.
TIP: the most successful content that you can share is content you’ve created yourself. If you want to really grow in this area, start to write.
- Be responsive. If customers reach out to you via your social profile or share your content, you need to respond and acknowledge them. Don’t be a droid that just posts content but then never checks to see if someone has responded. For example, if someone has commented on or retweeted something you posted, thank them or favorite their tweet. That helps build your relationship with them.
- Keep in touch with your social network. You’ve worked hard at building a social network – now what? You need to continue to reconnect and nurture your friends and connections. One of the best apps for this is LinkedIn Contacts. It’s a free add in for LinkedIn. It lets me know when people move jobs, when it’s their birthday, when they have work anniversaries and other useful information. It even tells me when I connected with them as well as the last correspondence I’ve had (as it connects with my corporate Gmail). As part of my daily routine, I try and reach out to at least 2 people from my network. It can never hurt to do this. I even had a recent scenario where we lost the champion at a large account and thought we would lose the customer. I quickly searched my network and found someone I knew at the company that I connected with in 2007 and sent them an email via LinkedIn asking if we could briefly chat. They responded and put me in touch with the right people. This was social customer success at its best.
- Go beyond the regular social networks. Always consider where your customers hang out online. Is it Stackoverflow, Spiceworks or perhaps your own online community. While you should narrow down the networks you keep tabs on, don’t limit yourself to Twitter and LinkedIn.
Crawl, Walk, Run
There is a lot to take in here so start small and go from there. Focus on one network such as LinkedIn to start with. Get your profile up to snuff and then start to connect with all of your customers as well as your co-workers. LinkedIn makes this easy by allowing you to search through your email lists and connect en masse. This is not the best approach in the long run as you want to connect on LinkedIn when you first meet someone while you are still fresh in their minds but this is a good approach to get things kicked off. Next, join your company LinkedIn Group or an industry Group (check out which groups your sales team follows) and monitor the conversation. You may see opportunities to jump in right away – don’t hold back.
I hope you found this helpful and I would like to hear your social customer success stories and tactics so please share those.