Have you wondered how you might use social media to connect with customers? If yes, consider attending “Social Media in Action: Retailers Share Best Practices for Connecting With Customers” with Cynthia Dean, Nufloors Coquitlam, and Robert Banks, BuildDirect, on 1/28/13 from 3:30pm to 5pm in Las Vegas during Surfaces 2013.
In anticipation of the session, Cynthia Dean, CGA, General Manager, Nufloors in Coquitlam, BC, whom you may remember from Customer Satisfaction: Do You Assume or Have you Asked? and What Goes Into a Thoughtful Retail Experience? took part in the following interview.
C.B.: Cynthia, tell me about yourself and your company? How are you different from competitors/What’s most important about the retail experience you offer customers?
CD: I have been with Nufloors Coquitlam for almost 5 years. My role as General Manager has allowed me to apply more than 20 years corporate experience to how we have set up our infrastructure. Ensuring our processes are solid, and by focusing on continuous improvement, means that we can do our best at ensuring the customer experience is positive. I firmly believe that managing customer expectations throughout the buying and installation process will result in increased customer satisfaction, and fewer process issues.
CB: How do you use social media in your business?
CD: We view social media as another way to build relationships with our current and future customers.
CB: How do you integrate it with the rest of your business?
CD: It is important to ensure that how you present yourself in social media matches the store experience. In addition to posting lots of pictures of flooring room scenes, we also try to post about the people in our store and the things we are doing in the community. We want people to see us as part of their local physical community as well as their social media community.
CB: What do you like most about social media?
CD: Ease of use and low cost. I love it when one of our posts get a lot of comments and shares. We have discovered that people love to see stuff about themselves. We try and post pictures of our installations from time to time – both on Facebook and on our web-site. Our hope is that our customers will direct their social media network to our sites…what a great referral process!
CB: What do you like least about it?
CD: Trying to find enough interesting things to post.
CB: What’s the hardest part?
CD: Ensuring enough time to keep up with posts. We are in the process of introducing a company ‘Social Media Policy’. I recently read several examples of companies who had PR nightmares because of inappropriate posts by their employees, sometimes inadvertently. We need to remember that anyone can post on the internet and we need to make sure that how our employees represent our company is how we want to be represented.
CB: How do you determine success in social media?
CD: It is difficult to measure the success of social media. It is important to view the analytics available, but you need to remember that social media is all about building relationships with customers.
We know in our business that our Facebook ‘fans’ seem to really like pictures of room scenes. People are always looking for new ways to decorate (just look at the success of HGTV). The best way to look at social media is as branding, rather than advertising. We are trying to make sure future customers are familiar with our ‘brand’ so that when they do decide to renovate, we are at top of mind.
CB: What are your tips for being successful?
CD: Here are my three tips:
- From our research, it can take over a year for the purchase decision. Social media is a great place to start the relationship with your future customer.
- Bonus: it is way cheaper than traditional advertising!
2. Create a Social Media Plan.
- Creating a one page plan for your on-line material and assigning it to specific people means it will more likely be kept up-to-date.
- Post unusual pictures, comments, links, etc. Try different formats, contests, surveys, etc.
- Review your analytics regularly to find out what is catching people’s attention
- Remember that Social Media is two-way; make sure you are interacting in a positive way
CB: Fantastic! Thanks, Cynthia, for sharing such valuable advice. I look forward to our panel discussion session about Social Media in Action at Surfaces 2013!
(Note: also see Social Media in Action: FLOFORM Countertops Connects With Customers.)
How does your business use social media? Have you found it effective for connecting with customers?