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Shape your business social media strategy under economic tough times

We’re all seeing that the market in Hong Kong is not quite as optimistic for Q3 this year. Recently a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) highlighted that 17% of respondents are expecting a worse business situation in Q3 2016 compared to a lower proportion, 11%, expecting a better business situation in Q2 2016.

Facing a more challenging economic situation, brand marketers are tightening the purse strings and being more creative with different promotional and value-driven mechanics to survive in these financially trying times.

Being the most cost efficient method of communication, social media is not only ideal to engage with your existing customers but also an outstanding tool to put your brand in front of prospective customers and generate new revenue.

It is critical for forward-looking companies to shape their social media strategy to maximise effectiveness as well as restructuring the workforce through training and other tactics under the current tough situation.

Social media is not just about emoji’s and 360 videos, there are many areas that can help shape your business strategy to reduce costs, to attract more new potential customers and to retain your existing customers. Below are some tips to get you started.

Retain your existing customers with Social CSR strategy

Your existing customers are one of your greatest assets. But have you fully utilised social media channels to provide quality customer service and retain your existing customers? Make sure you have the response and crisis plan ready to handle all enquiries and potential negative comments.

Nowadays, one small negative comment could grow into a huge crisis within minutes and damage your brand image in seconds. The inbox and the rating wall of your social media brand page are the important gate-keeper of your CSR strategy. If a customer has a good or bad experience, this is where they share their experience. The more comprehensive and timely your response, the greater chance you could keep and increase your client base.

Fine tune your product and service by listening to social media content performance

Building a listening architecture for your brand page content performance is a more cost efficient way to learn about your customers’ preference compared with focus groups and large scale surveys which can be costly and time consuming. Which product attributes attract them? Which marketing angles engage them well? Other than listening and monitoring your brand page about what your followers say and click on, it’s also essential to listen to what other people say on their own platform. This reflects how the public interpret your brand and this will also affect the decisions of your potential customers through word of mouth.

There are monitoring tools now providing Facebook private data listening for you to analyse public comments in general, without disclosing the audience profile. Sometimes it is the small product fine-tunes or slight twists on the marketing angle that make the difference between you and your competitors.

Run your loyalty or incentive programmes to leverage social media tools

Customers are always your priority, especially in the current economic climate. It gives you the chance to show who you are and what you can do to help your customers make their way through these difficult times. Most of your brand page followers are either your customers, or highly potential customers. No other communication platforms like social media can be that focused to the right targets. Furthermore, your customers’ social media profile can give you a lot of data about who they are, what attracts their attention and how they make a purchase decision.

By running your loyalty or incentive programs on social media brand pages and leveraging the tools from different platforms like Facebook offers and WeChat payment, it can bring benefits to you and your customers. As the population is highly dependent on social media now, social incentive programs will be convenient tools for your customers to interact with you. Meanwhile the data induced from these programmes can give you a lot of insight to understand your customers and inspire you to shape your strategy to enhance their loyalty towards your brand.

Tammy Foo is Social Media Director at GHC Asia, a member of the Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong (CPRFHK).

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