Social media can help business owners improve their service and build customer loyalty. The most effective ways to use social media depend on your industry, your customers’ social media habits and the goals you want to achieve.  Here are ideas for how three companies—a running store, an audio/video equipment shop and a baby supply retail store—could be using social media for customer service.

Running shoes and gear: A step in the right direction
A store that sells footwear and athletic supplies to devoted runners wants to improve communications with customers before and after their visits. It could:

  • Invite customers to “like” the store’s Facebook page and post frequently about local road races, fitness tips and Facebook-only specials. Ask for questions and provide answers quickly, sharing links to articles and resources on the store’s website when appropriate.
  • Create two-minute videos of running tips and techniques. Post the videos on the store’s YouTube channel and share links to them on other social media platforms.
  • Use an email marketing service such as MailChimp or iContact to send e-newsletters with information about running events, new merchandise and upcoming sales.
  • Ask customers to post testimonials on review sites such as Yelp and Google+ Local. Visit the review sites often to post thank you messages and respond to any unhelpful comments.

Home theater store: Building trust with clients
A store that specializes in high-end audio and video equipment wants to improve customer service and educate buyers on how to choose the right system for their needs. Here are some strategies it could use:

  • Create a section of the company website that houses FAQs and useful content such as equipment selection worksheets, cost calculators, and cable and accessory checklists. Share these resources on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Use social media monitoring tools such as Google Alerts and Social Mention to track and contribute to discussions related to setting up a home theater. Identify topics of high interest and post articles about them on the store website. Share links to the articles on social media channels and discussion boards.
  • Set up a Twitter account and invite customers to ask questions and exchange information. Tweet about buying tips, sales, new merchandise and upcoming events.
  • Use Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to make appointments for free one-on-one home theater design consultations, or announce the availability of appointments and link to an appointment scheduling application on the store website.

Baby gear retail shop: Establishing trust, reinforcing expertise
A small shop selling baby gear wants to become known as the go-to resource in a high-end community. It could:

  • Set up Twitter and Facebook accounts to answer customer queries about merchandise, product safety, store hours and return policies.
  • Use survey tools such as SurveyMonkey to find out which items customers want most.
  • Hold in-store events to introduce new product lines. Offer rewards for attendance on location-based services such as Foursquare and promote the events on Twitter and Facebook. Share pictures of the new inventory on Pinterest.
  • Keep parents informed about safety practices, product recalls, new merchandise and upcoming sales via an email newsletter.
  • Create short videos to demonstrate how to set up cribs, strollers and other baby gear and post them on YouTube. Share links to the videos on other social media channels.


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