Follow Social Media and Build Customer Relationships
How to find potential customers in social media? And how to monitor discussions there? Social media expert and trainer Piritta Seppälä answers these questions.
Two years ago I was waiting for my flight to Mauritius at Heathrow Airport when I received a tweet:
@Piritta Hi Piritta. Can we assist u here? Sightseeings,island tours,boat trips,shopping,diving,dolphin swim, activities etc.. 🙂
“” Holiday Mauritius (@Whey_Holidays) 30. toukokuuta 2013
This tweet was from a small Mauritanian travel agency called Holiday Mauritius and it was a reply to my own tweet in which I told a few hours earlier that I was starting my around the world trip and my first destination was Mauritius.
I had started the journey in a rush as usual and the only thing that was certain was my accommodation and a ride to my accommodation from the airport. I had only planned one activity beforehand for the visit to Mauritius which would be my second time in the country; I wanted to swim with dolphins but I hadn’t really made any specific plans.
Holiday Mauritius granted my wish on a silver platter in a shape of a tweet. By listing their services in 140 characters the founder of the company, Anas Kazi, got them a new customer. Why would I spend any more time looking up the best tour operator when I could also spend that time on the beaches of this paradise island, meet my local friends or do yoga by the pool next to my bungalow.
How did Holiday Mauritius find me?
During my trip I did some background work and gathered material and cases for my new book about goal-directed way of using social media. For these purposes I also interviewed Anas Kazi and asked him how he uses social media for marketing of his company. In the end his operating model was very simple.
Anas uses Twitter to find the information that is useful for his company among the huge amount of data out there. He told me that he always finds enough time in his day to search Twitter for the keyword Mauritius, either with a hashtag or without one. When he finds tweets from people like me who are traveling to Mauritius, he sends each and every one a personalized public tweet.
When he receives a reply they continue the conversation, and as in my case, they might just close a deal. What this all takes from the entrepreneur is a bit of time to search Twitter, sending some tweets and making a phone call to book the time for the dolphin swim. And I got to swim with 150 dolphins without a hassle and Holiday Mauritius got a new customer, who can happily recommend the tour operator to anyone traveling to that destination.
Even though the Twitter feed of the company consists mainly of tweets that market their services, Twitter is at the same time the most important marketing channel of Holiday Mauritius. By actively searching the right hashtags keeping in mind the goals of the company and reacting to these tweets the company is much closer to a potential customer than on any other marketing channel.
A small one-man company gets close to customers, gets his message to the people who want their services and is successful in a country where tourism is the primary industry.
What can we learn from Holiday Mauritius?
Functions and strategic goals of a company or organization are the starting point for everything. When you know what you want to accomplish you can start following the online discussions actively. But this is not enough, next you must know how to react to the content you find in the discussions and social media. If you don’t react, you won’t reach your goals. Your own activity level will reward you and help you achieve your goals.
There are many ways to monitor social and online media. Holiday Mauritius uses Twitter and searches content with the mobile application of the service. Another option is to use a program or an online monitoring tool which is created for this purpose and can monitor and screen multiple social media channels simultaneously. The most important thing is to search and find the right information and to have a plan for using the information.
Holiday Mauritius wants potential customers to be aware of their services and they make this happen with small effort. In other organizations discussions in social media can be used to support customer service or to find and interpret silent signals. The main thing is to know what you’re looking for and how to use the information you’ve gathered.
You can learn how to monitor discussions in social media with these tips from Holiday Mauritius:
1) Know what are the goals of your organization and use social media monitoring to achieve these goals.
2) Be familiar with the terms and contents people use when discussing your products and services.
3) Monitor social and online media with the right keywords and tools.
4) Create a plan for how to react to your findings.
5) Use the gathered information with your goals in mind and be active and fast with your actions.
6) Be honest with people in social media, be it customer service or sales.
7) Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get replies, but instead be excited when the discussion starts.
8) Repeat, improve, perfect the keywords you use in searches and learn from your success and failures. Nobody knows what the best way is for your company ““ you can only find out by doing and trying.
By Piritta Seppälä, CEO, Viestintä-Piritta