Anyone can now reach and engage customers at scale using social media. The challenge is to make social interactions feel like people connecting with people, regardless of whether that’s done in the form of a tweet, status update, or blog post. After all, isn’t customer experience about delivering a consistently human experience whenever someone interacts with your brand?

Experiencing Your Brand on Social Media

Your customers are already experiencing your brand on social media, whether you like it or not. And it’s not just customers; it’s also prospects, potential employees, partners, investors, etc. They’re showing up on their (not your) favorite social networks to get a sense of what your company stands for, what others are saying about your brand, and whether (or not) to consider doing business with you.

With that said, you need the right social media approach to deliver a customer experience that not only represents your brand but also the people behind your brand. Here are five ways to do just that:

1.  Understand your customers’ behavior by listening first

Build your social media approach around listening to what your customers are saying and analyzing what they’re doing on social media. Invest in a social listening platform to discover the conversations your target audience is having around pain points, products, competitors, and your brand. Then take action on what you learn. For instance, focus your social media efforts on those social networks and communities where your customers participate and incorporate social insights into your buyer personas, content marketing, and communication strategies.

2.  Engage customers in real-time feedback

Social media is great for asking questions and engaging in conversations with customers. So go ahead and prompt your Twitter followers for real-time feedback about your latest website redesign, product release, or mobile app. Start discussions within the LinkedIn Groups that your customers are active in. Use this social feedback mindset to inform how your company engages on social networks, and you’ll be able to reap the rewards of tapping into the wisdom or your customers… while also making them feel valued!

3.  Embrace social customer service

Business professionals and consumers alike are turning to social media to address their customer service needs. This means the time has come to provide top-notch customer service via social media, especially since your customers are going to ask support related questions on your Twitter handle and Facebook page (if they haven’t already). The key is to decide where you’ll provide social care, and to develop the right social “playbook” that documents how you’ll respond to customers in an appropriate, helpful, and timely manner.

4.  Encourage employee advocacy to put a human face on your brand

It’s no longer just sales, marketing, and customer support that interacts with people interested in your brand. Human resources, accounting, and every other department (including the management team) are all touch points for your company when it comes to social media. That means practically everyone in your organization needs to be educated on how to engage with social media. Your company needs a plan and process for making that happen, and a culture that encourages and empowers employee advocates to represent your brand on social media.

5.  Identify and mobilize brand advocates

There’s no better advocate for your company than your most satisfied customers. So how are you using social media to identify and mobilize brand advocates? For example, are you leveraging social media to discover who’s saying positive things about your brand, and asking them to share positive reviews or testimonials? Or how about inviting advocates to contribute to the company blog? Regardless of how you mobilize your advocates, make sure and flag them within your CRM system so it’s easy to reach out again when needed. And don’t forget to acknowledge their efforts in being the voice of your brand!