Marketers often talk about passionate brand enthusiasts and using social media and customer service as tools to create brand loyalists and enthusiasts.
The secret truth is that getting people to like you is often as simple as just being nice.
Just be nice to people and they will love you. It sounds obvious. It should be obvious. Many marketers hear this, nod their heads, and then when confronted with a potential customer they revert to sell mode. Don’t do it. Resist the temptation.
Here are 10 tips to help you be nice on the internet:
- When you respond to a customer, pretend that you aren’t trying to sell something. Just answer the question or respond like a normal person with no vested interest would. People will want to learn more about you if you are interesting vs. trying to shove something on them.
- Empower your employees to do nice things for your customers and potential customers. And reward employees who go above and beyond to be nice to your customers or potential customers.
- Don’t give everyone a coupon. You don’t need to give someone a coupon because they said they liked you (or hated you). Appealing to deeper emotions (feeling valued, heard or inspired) will give you better long term results. Don’t cheapen every interaction by making it about money.
- Act like you care. Really act like you care. If someone trashes your product show a willingness to learn and help them. Try not to get frustrated.
- Thank people. Thank as many people as often as you can. It will make them like you.
- Address issues directly. If I email you to tell you that I hate your website, don’t send me a coupon. Fix your website, or explain to me why you won’t.
- Do something unexpectedly nice when you get the opportunity. This leads to story telling and word of mouth. We’ve all heard about the crazy lengths that Zappos customer service goes through to make people happy. They probably don’t do it every time, but when they do it is so unexpected that word gets out.
- Stop selling. Stop trying to sell. I’m not saying that selling is a bad goal for social media. But if your goal is to inspire raving fans you have to switch out of sell mode.
- Say nice things to people. Complement them (but only if you mean it). Tell them you are sorry that their pet died. Act like you are a nice human being and like you care about the people you interact with. Be careful not to be creepy about this, but just try to be nice.
- Promote other people. Promote their blogs. Talk about how smart they are. Drive traffic to their blogs. Do this and be authentic and mean it when you do it. Promoting other people goes a long way to building positive brand equity.
Here are some of my examples:
- When I was getting my business internet set up, my first experience with Cincinnati Bell customer service wasn’t very good. I was so annoyed I was going to write a mean blog post. But the installation guy who came to my office was so nice (and even got my internet connection boosted) that I completely changed by feelings, and have actually recommended them to a few people. (yes, it works offline too)
- I recommend a web service to a friend because I “know the guy” on twitter and he commented on one of my random tweets about Canada.