We live in interesting times where every industry is changing rapidly because of the infusion of technology in some way – Retail, Transportation, Healthcare, Agriculture, Fashion, Manufacturing – no one is exempt. To build a business that survives and thrives in these times, entrepreneurs and their employees must stay up-to-date with social media and digital innovations even those that, on the surface, have nothing to do with their business.
Social media and messaging platforms have become gold when it comes to finding, reaching and connecting with a large number of potential customers.
In this article, I share three wild features already on (or coming to) social media platforms that businesses can take advantage of to provide more value to their customers and crush their competition.
Payments on Social Media
Most digital consumers spend at least 3 hours every single day on social media and instant messaging platforms. They love convenience and cherish speed because that’s what they’ve become accustomed to.
In the past, these potential customers would have been fine with walking into banking halls to conduct payments and other financial transactions. But then came the Internet and new Financial Technologies (FinTech) which brought online payments. As these have become more advanced and distributed, consumers’ need for convenience have reached higher peaks.
Seeing how much time is spent on social media, it would not be out of place to include features that enable customers perform monetary transactions directly on social media. Companies like Facebook have been working to incorporate this in all their apps for some years now. AliPay and WeChat have already made significant progress, and although it is a work-in-progress, the possibilities are both endless and exciting.
Users can just open up apps and interact with them like they do their fellow human beings. As we make advances with Natural Language Processing, these conversational payment features will only get better. The more users make use of the features, the better the platforms get at understanding human thought processes because they are constantly learning through AI.
Improved and Personalized Customer Service
With the advent of the internet, customers and consumers have got the upper hand – platforms to make their voices heard when brands treat them shabbily, cross ethical lines or mess up their orders.
A bad service to a customer can end up on Twitter or Facebook, and eventually become a PR crisis if not handled properly from the start. Luckily as expectations rise for companies’ performances, the tools to satisfy customers are also being created and distributed en masse.
More businesses, even small ones are automating or supplementing their customer service department with new technologies, whether in form of bots, robotic process automation and other smart automation processes like WorkFusion’s.
Instead of sending bulk messages to all clients in the company’s database, savvy businesses segment their customers according to relevant parameters, and only serve them with content or value that is right for them at that particular time.
Most articles and thought pieces that advise businesses, especially on social media, focus on all the things the business can do for their customers via these channels, rarely have I come across one that shows what the businesses can get from their customers (and potential customers) on these channels.
Social media and messaging applications are one of the best and (free!) ways to learn about your target customers.
- What do they like?
- What will they appreciate most at a certain time?
- What are their challenges with your product/service or those of your competitors?
- How should you sound when talking to them – fun and entertaining or authoritative and informative?
All these are questions that can be answered by lurking on social media – knowing who your target audience is, watching them in their natural habitat and online communities, and then catering to them in a way they will appreciate and connect with.
What does all this mean for your business?
The information provided in this piece means that you can take advantage of these new opportunities to make your business brand stronger, connect with your customers and even make good sales!
Social media is never going away and neither is the Internet. Regardless of whether your business learns new trends, other businesses will, and so will your customers. This article is a call-to-action to take advantage of these free opportunities that social media brings to you as a company and help secure your future.