Who are your customers and what do they like? What problems do they have and how can you help them? Where are they found?
One of the things about social media is that it is still done on a computer. It doesn’t have that real life aspect to it, the face to face communication and experience of facial expressions, what people are wearing, driving, eating, the inflection in their voices, the loudness or quiet to them.
Yes, emoticons and punctuation express some feeling to their written word, but how many of us self-edit, knowing that anything put on the internet stays there for life? In a world online aiming to be authentic, there is much missing – and rightly so, in my opinion. Even in real life, we often put our best face forward when doing business, say, in buying a car for example, so we don’t get ‘taken’. We hold our cards close to the vest.
So how do we find out more about our customers, in addition to real life interaction which still may not reveal what we need to know about them? That’s where establishing and building a relationship (as limited as it might be for acquaintances) comes in, but it is still skimming the surface. How do we get to understand our customers and potential customers better? Once again, in real life holds an answer.
Remember when your kids were little and you would watch them play? You’d just hang back and observe as they figured out how to do something. You saw their initial frustration, their perseverance to the task, and their joy at accomplishment. Or not. Some kids just didn’t want to play with that toy and threw it across the room, some had no patience after 60 seconds, some kids wanted help, and some just cried, not wanting to play at all.
People – grownups – can be just like any of those. Granted, they won’t cry in a corner (hopefully not), but they can walk away (from your product or service) if it is too difficult to solve with understanding it. Others will want to learn everything about it and how to use it. Some don’t want to understand your product or service, but know they need it. They will need assistance and guidance – this is the best customer to have so you can show your expertise and help them do for themselves, or have you take care of their problem for them.
How do we know which person is which? Conversation, in real life or online. Do you share similar business, social or school groups? What do they talk about? Have you been to their physical location and what do you observe about it – products, signage, ambiance, customer service? What problems do they have with their business or marketing? Ask and see online what they are already doing or not. Is their social media consistently updated? Is it full of Buy Me Buy Me like a used car salesman? Is it dead since last year? Can you communicate with them on how you can help them improve? Are they open to it or just threw up an account because everybody says they had to but have no idea how to proceed?
A little observational conversation can be of benefit to both of you. How can you help them and, if they are amenable, do it. Begin the conversation.