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How Hashtags Changed Your Customers’ Online Expectations

company execSocial media has revolutionized the way businesses reach their customers. Consumers swarmed to social media, and businesses saw an opportunity to connect in a more meaningful way. The result: a change in customer expectations that every business should use when delving into the world of online marketing and social media and crafting a social media strategy. It’s one of the oldest adages of marketing, with a new twist thanks to social media: know your audience, and know what they want from you.

  • They want you to feed them relevant topics. They get updates from their friends and twerps in one long list, and expect the same from businesses. Give your customers what they want, and don’t make them search for it. They want relevant information and resources pertinent to their lives and the latest specials on products and services. They want blog and social media posts with videos, photos and text. As a whole, videos are the preferred format, which are 12x more likely to get a response than text-only posts. If you want to reach every type of consumer, “mix and match” formats (i.e. photos, apps, video, etc.), and use photos with every post to capture your customers’ attention.
  • They want updated information, and they don’t have patience for companies that can’t deliver. If you can’t give regular social media updates and blog posts, outsource to marketing experts. It’s better to have updated social media channels than irregular posts and dated information. We’ve said it before: there’s no shame or blame in outsourcing.     
  • They want online customer service, and they want it fast. One survey said that consumers want a response to their inquiry within four hours, with some studies putting that number as low as one. If you have a social media channel (or channels) or contact us form on your website, your customers are going to reach out with questions. If you’re a flooring company, they ask about the type of flooring ideal for their living space. If you’re a construction company, customers can send questions about their project. They expect a response, and they expect it fast. Make sure you’re ready to give a quick response, and provide friendly customer service for those with negative comments.
  • They want you to listen! You’ve given your customers a place to express their ideas and opinions. Take the good and the bad as an opportunity to know your customers, and adapt your business to what they want. Listen to their comments, and respond with the same customer service that you offer in your office or store.
  • Give them what they want, in a mobile format for expanding smartphone usage. If you’re posting a link, make sure it’s to a mobile friendly site (and make sure your website is mobile friendly!). The number of Americans with smartphones is increasing, and they won’t wait until they get to their laptop to be able to browse your site—they’ll take their money to a more mobile-friendly site.

Every social media audience has different preferences for browsing times, so research the statistics and experiment with post and tweets to see when your highest response times are. Know your online audience, know what they want, and deliver it with the same smile and friendly service you give the customers who walk into your store.

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