One of the draws of social media is that it offers customers a way to get more personal with your company.
It gives them the feeling that they are special because of the appearance that you are more accessible to them. Even if you aren’t sharing your company’s most closely guarded secrets with your customers just reaching out through social media goes a long way toward building better client relations. When customers see that business with you means a two-way relationship they are more apt to continue with that relationship.
Blogs and social media profiles are great ways to build this bond with your customers. Through your social media presence you can spread your message to customers, build trust and win their loyalty. It’s an excellent platform to control your public image by providing customers with insight into your company that they can’t get anywhere else. Let them in on the inner workings of your business. Share with them your business goals for the year. Give them a peak into what they can expect in the coming year. These social media marketing methods may seem unorthodox to traditional business practices but they are the new way to do business online.
In cyberspace it’s all about sharing. Still, most of these methods are one-sided. To really be social the discussion needs to be a two-way street. Sure you allow commenting on your blog and yes, customers can also post to your Facebook site. These things are expected, however. Take it one step further and add a forum to the site and suddenly you not only have customers and potential customers talking about your brand, they are talking and sharing within your brand. And within your Internet space. With a forum or message board you’ve instantly brought them into your world and given them the tools and encouragement to start their own discussion about your business.
A forum or message board is primarily a tool for use by your customer base. Unlike your blog or other social media profile, a forum isn’t the place you want to push your agenda. Think of it as a sign of goodwill toward your customers. It becomes another sign of trust. Opening up that forum on your site is the ultimate demonstration in transparency. For relationship-building, transparency is a good thing and encourages trust because it implies that you have nothing to hide. And yes, it does take some resolve on your part. Anyone can say anything within that forum. So just as easily as customers can share positive experiences, a disgruntled customer can join the forum and share negative comments with others from the inside. Of course that’s a worse case scenario.
Though the idea of a forum is that it’s largely run by the users, the beauty of it is however, that you still have some control. You have the ability to engage with customers and encourage the positive talk. You also have the ability to engage with someone who may have had a negative experience. Engaging that customer gives you the power to possibly win them back and leave a lasting positive impression.
So what kinds of topics can you cover with a forum or message board? Well you definitely want to give visitors to your forum the freedom to come up with their own topics but there is some room for you to steer the conversation. Your customers will naturally want to exchange ideas with other customers and share experiences. While it’s great for your customers to build a relationship with you and your company, it’s also beneficial for them to build relationships with other customers. It helps to create a sense of community and that breeds brand loyalty. If you have a product that you sell, customers may want to see how others used the product. Ask customers to post their positive experiences with your brand. Just to show that you strive to make your company the best it can be, also ask them how your company can better meet their needs.
You can help the discussion along by suggesting other topics as well. Invite customers to post how they’ve used your products or how your services have helped them. Pose questions and ask customers to answer them or share their experiences on the topic.
Still don’t know where to start?
We can design a forum or message board that will fit seamlessly within your existing website. We can set up and design your forum so that your customers have an easy way to exchange ideas with each other and with you. We’ll help promote your forum to your customers. We’ll even help get the discussion started by posting relevant topics and encouraging others to discuss.
Why waste time struggling with creating forum framework to get your customers talking? Let us get your forum going strong.