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  • Ciara Macpherson

Social Media Day: 5 top tips for using social media to build lasting customer relationships

As part of Social Media Day 2019, we partnered with BIMA to host a series of events that centred around our speciality, social media. Using our contacts and clients, we secured four great speakers for our evening event which focused on building lasting customer relationships through social media. Our speakers were:

  • Colin Banks, Head of Sponsorship at SSE

  • Philip Mackie, Global Senior Brand Manager at Highland Park

  • Jacqueline Reid, Marketing and Communications Director at Volvo Group/TEREX Trucks

  • Stephen Dewar, Head of Commercial Digital at Reach Solutions

Each of our speakers told great stories about how their brand has been successful in engaging with their customers on social media but let us break it down for you with five key points that were evident across the board:

1. Tailor your content

You’ve got to target the right customer with the right message and creative to resonate with them. All our speakers agreed that it’s no good pushing the same messaging to all your customers as you need to consider your audience segments and what matters most to them. Say no to the “scatter-gun” approach.

Colin Banks of SSE said, “it’s magic coming up with all the great, creative ideas but you’ve got to prove it works well.” How do you do this? It’s all about analytics. Use social media reporting to find out which content works best with which audiences. The “test and learn” approach is something we stand by at Hydrogen and it really is the only way to find out who likes what.

Philip Mackie from Highland Park has quite the challenge of reaching out to people who may be a little fearful of stepping into the world of whisky, but he thinks content is there to break down this barrier. Content produced for Highland Park must speak to the whisky connoisseurs as well as the newbies out there which is where the tailored approach comes into play.

“Whisky experts love nothing more than showing off to other whisky experts.”

2. Find the right channel for the right customer

As well as messaging and creative, you also need to think about the right channel for the right customer. There’s a lot to think about, right? All you can do here is try speaking to different audiences on different channels and see what sticks.

Jacqueline Reid of the Volvo Group touched on “sticky” content when addressing the audience as she must think about how content will translate across the world, not just in one country. This is also something that should be considered in your content strategy – what content can crossover between countries and where should you (going back to the first point) tailor that content to be country-specific?

When talking about different social channels, we must mention algorithms. Algorithms can be your friend or your enemy, it’s totally up to you. Stephen from Reach Solutions, championed working with algorithms and not against them. If a form of content was working well for you but the algorithm suddenly decides it’s not going to favour it anymore then don’t just continue with it – change up what you do!

“What we share on Facebook differs to what we share on LinkedIn.”

3. Be a compelling storyteller

How do you connect with your customers? Tell them a story worth hearing. This was a common theme among our speakers.

Colin stressed that if you don’t get your story right, you’ll lose your customers and he’s right. You need to have a good reason to be talking to your customers and not irritate them with irrelevant content. Of course, SSE talk to their customers about energy, but they also use their sponsorships to create cut-through and really engage with their audience by giving people once-in-a-lifetime experiences either through music or sport. SSE sponsor two music venues (The SSE Hydro & The SSE Arena, Wembley) and have supported women’s football too which allows them these great opportunity in storytelling.

Highland Park are also all about a good story and wish to connect communities through this activity. Through their social media content, they are trying to connect their community in Orkney with their distillery workers and then, the rest of the world. Everything must come together to create a cohesive story for the brand.

Something that must be mentioned under this point is the use of influencers. Jacqueline Reid, of Volvo Group, believes people respect the opinion of real people and through her own experience, you get far more depth, interaction and trust when having influencers help you tell your brand story. However you choose to tell your story, you just need to make sure it’s one that people want to hear and share wide.

4. Find your USP and go with it

What makes your brand unique makes you stand out so be sure to shout about it! Whatever you think is powerful should be what you are talking to your customers about – make sure they know why they should love you so much.

Colin pointed out that a line in a contract might be your USP! SSE’s agreement with the FA when supporting women’s football in England allowed them to give away places to be player escorts at Wembley Stadium. Through competitions, SSE then created lifetime experience for kids that they were able to share on social, far and wide. The point being, you can only get this sort of experience if you’re with SSE.

It must be remembered that in today’s age of no attention span, you need to be quick to make an impact and showcase your unique selling point. Stephen from Reach Solutions noted that you have just 3 seconds to make an impression on someone before they scroll onto the next thing. He showed a stellar example of how to nail this from Old Spice:

“We create lifetime experiences for people…and we keep your lights on.”

5. Be relevant to their world

Think about what your customers truly want and what is truly relevant to their world. This is how you’ll build a lasting relationship with them – by making your brand completely relevant to them.

You need to bring your product or service into their world to start a conversation which is what SSE do with their sponsorship activity. Your night at one of their venues is a foot in the door for them to kick off a conversation about energy, but only once you’ve had the time of your life seeing your favourite band!

You also need to think about your customers habits and constantly keep up with where they’re most socially active as this is constantly changing. This goes back to the second point – finding the right channel for the right customer – but is also about staying relevant to their world as if you’re not in the right place at the right time on social, you’ll lose that connection with your customers.

“Make social more social! Facebook Groups are like the kitchen at a party – it’s where the best conversations take place.”

Hopefully you now feel a little more informed on how to build lasting customer relationships after hearing the key points from our four wonderful speakers at Social Media Day 2019. One bonus point I’d like to quickly make is about community management – my speciality! Ultimately, you need to nurture your audience, make them feel heard and that they’re part of something. This is only achieved through top notch community management so don’t neglect your customers and they won’t neglect you.

Could you be doing more to build relationships with your customers? Get in touch with us to discuss how we could help you with community management and more.

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