Day-to-Day Social Media for Business: Thank Your Customers by Name

As a child, you were hopefully taught good manners. When people did things, you thanked them. When people buy something from your store or help your business in some way, you thank them now as an adult.

Social media for business has opened the door to thanking people in a whole new way. Saying it personally will never be replaced by any technology, but you now have the ability to reinforce your appreciation and potentially reap some benefits as a result.

If your business revolves around customers, thank them through social media. There are two ways that this applies. If you work on big-ticket items such as car sales or high-dollar client engagements, you can and should thank every single one of them who help your business. In those cases, it doesn’t even necessarily have to be a completed sale. Thanking people for the opportunity to serve them is acceptable and can help leave an impression on them that can turn them into a business.

For example, let’s say you’re selling software licenses for your startup firm. You go and do a pitch at a large company that is considering you and a handful of other software providers. After the pitch, things are looking good but they indicate that they are planning on looking at a couple of other vendors before making a final decision.

Tweet and/or Facebook them when your pitch is over. You can do it almost immediately, or you can use it as a reinforcement tool the next day or later in the week.

Thank You Tweet 1

Notice that the words “thank you” were not actually used in the Tweet. While there’s nothing wrong with saying the words, it’s good to use wording that demonstrates appreciation beyond the boring “thanks for…” statements.

For those who operate businesses where thanking individual customers is simply impractical, you can still selectively thank people. Be sure to do so in a way that encompasses others but still remain specific with who you’re talking to.

Thank You Tweet 2

On Facebook, it can be a little trickier as talking to individuals publicly can be viewed as an intrusion. People view Twitter and Facebook differently, so be careful. It’s good to ask permission ahead of time. You don’t have to say, “Do you mind if I call you out on Facebook as a potential or current customer?”

Instead, ask, “We do a lot of communicating via Facebook. Would you mind if I contact you there?”

It’s hard to decline people making this request. There are some who hold their Facebook profiles sacred and refuse to interact with anyone other than Aunt Tilley and the nephews in Georgia, but most have accepted that Facebook is only partially personal (which is a topic of another blog post in the future).

Finally, there’s YouTube. If you really, really want to make an impression, use video. I wish I had an example available but I will try to describe one that I saw a couple of years back. A salesperson at a dealership would take his Flip camera and start recording a video once his customer was in the finance office. He would drive the car around to get it cleaned up. Before getting out, he would take a pair of movie passes and “hide” them in the owner’s manual.

The cleaning team knew the routine. He would get out of the car and they would pounce on it like a full-service gas station crew in the 1950s. He would turn the camera on himself with the crew working on the car in the background and he would thank the customers by their name. He would then upload the video to his YouTube channel and send them an email (remember, this was a couple of years ago before the real rise of Facebook and Twitter) thanking them again and putting a link to the video.

At the end of the video, he would remind them that any friends and family they sent him would earn them $100. The video would be titled and tagged with their names. They would see the video, find the tickets, and be impressed with their salesperson’s personal touch. Perhaps more importantly, when they Googled themselves months later (as we tend to do as humans in the 21st century) they would often find the video ranked for their name – a perfect reminder of the quality of the salesperson and the incentive he mentioned.

There are many creative ways to be polite on social media. In business, we have to remember our manners. In the world of Web 2.0, proper manners can help us grow our business.

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