On Instagram, photo editing trends move pretty dang fast. Just cast your mind back to those days when your feed was flooded with heavily filtered, square-cropped photos. Though it was only a couple of years ago, in 2022, that style looks so dated that you might as well be posting a daguerreotype.
Your average Instagram user spends almost half an hour each day on the app, and they’re smart enough to spot content that hasn’t managed to keep up with the times. That means last year’s interesting and original photo composition is this year’s tired cliche.
To hold your audience’s attention, you’ve gotta keep it fresh and stay up to date with the latest Instagram photo editing trends. So consider this required reading: We’ve got the top 7 Instagram photo styles for 2022.
Save time editing photos and download your free pack of 10 customizable Instagram presets now.
Taking a good Instagram photo is just the first step — how you present it matters, too. So brush up on your Instagram editing essentials, download the best Instagram editing apps, and take some inspiration from these Instagram editing trends.
Okay, yes, it feels slightly bananas to put “unedited” as the top trend of 2022 photo editing for Instagram. But we’re not deciding what the trends are. We’re just calling it like we see it.
And we’re seeing a huge embrace of “authenticity” on the app, as exemplified by fewer filters and edits. Long live the new era of raw, real, and messy!
Is the shot blurry? Is your hair out of place? Is a pigeon up to no good in the background? All the better.
We’re striving for anti-perfection here. Think of it as the inevitable backlash to the polished, posed 2018 Instagram aesthetic.
We’re seeing this trend show up as a messy mirror…
Or blurry, low lighting…
Or leaving a rack full of unstyled clothes in the background of a fashion line launch.
Just look at the soaring popularity of BeReal, the photo-sharing app that encourages users to snap and post their unfiltered lives.
(Of course, choosing what to post on Instagram at all is an act of filtering in and of itself. So, is striving to share a shot that looks real actually any more authentic than curating a picture-perfect moment? These are the things that keep us up at night.)
This Crown Affair pic looks pixelated and unposed — not exactly what you might expect from a beauty brand with over 57K followers. But the enthusiastic comments and likes are rolling in all the same.
For brands, this emphasis on authenticity can certainly save you time and money on photo styling. But just because these photos look like no effort doesn’t mean you should phone it in. Everything you post should still bring value to your followers — does it inform, inspire, or entertain?
With the current state of the world, it’s safe to say we’re all a little more emo than we were a few years back. And the vibe of your feed probably reflects that.
Colorful, vivid hues are less common on Instagram today than in years past. Instead, you’re more likely to spot posts with desaturated hues and lowered contrasts. Glow levels and highlights have been muted in favor of moody, low-light shots.
Home scent company Vitruvi will show you how it’s done:
This effect can be achieved through photography, of course — shoot a gloomy scene, get a gloomy pic — but a few tweaks of the color and lighting levels in an Instagram photo editing app can help tone things down in a pinch.
Download our free Instagram preset pack to easily tweak the colors and levels of your Instagram photos with a few clicks.
It’s no secret that Instagram Stories and Reels are where the most action is on Instagram these days. And while these formats often incorporate audio, text is an equally common tool here. And now, text is showing up in posts on the main feed.
It’s such a handy tool for adding context, jokes, labels, or explanations, that we’re starting to see this style used for memes or reposted screenshots in the Main Feed, too.
Some big brands, like the New York Times, use text overlays to extend their reach and strengthen their brand. Their main feed posts are almost like mini infographics that feature text in their signature typeface.
These posts are designed for followers to reshare to their stories — a clever way to boost engagement.
But while some brands may have their own preferred fonts, using Instagram’s built-in fonts gives posts an authentic, just-part-of-the-gang vibe.
Don’t you want your followers to look at your delightfully scrappy post and think, “Stars! They’re just like us!”?
4. Extreme lighting
While soft, natural lighting was on-trend just a few years back, we’re in the thick of a more dramatic illumination phase.
Extreme, high-contrast lighting, in particular, is en vogue with editorial and advertising shots. Welcome to stark shadow season, baby.
A high-contrast steak spotted on chef Molly Baz’s page:
And on wine pop-up Vin Van’s account, too:
If you aren’t working with a professional photographer or don’t have access to some sort of fully stocked photo studio, don’t worry. There are plenty of editing tools out there to help you mimic this high-contrast look.
We’re in the thick of a turn-of-the-millennium nostalgia moment in fashion, music, and pop culture. But the late ’90s and early ’00s were heavy on the ’70s nostalgia, so we’re also seeing a lot of throwbacks to that groovy decade.
Graphic design and photography are romanticizing these low-tech times with grainy, high-flash photography (pretend you’re shooting with a disposable camera), retro color palettes (orange! is! back!), and grungy thrift-store vibes.
This Nike campaign taps into that very retro-cool vibe with unpolished, low-quality shots of a star athlete:
Our Place delivers the no-filter, bucket-hat vibes with zero apologies.
6. Photo dumps
Not really an editing trend per se, but get this one on your radar: users are maxing out Instagram’s carousel feature to casually, irreverently showcase their favorite snaps from an event, vacation, or time period, via “photo dumps.”
Carousels are actually prioritized by the Instagram algorithm, so this isn’t a bad one for brands to hop on at all. And hey, maybe you’re already using this feature to share up to 10 photos in one post.
But to capitalize on the photo dump trend specifically, the caption should be slightly dismissive and vague, and photos should be random, unfiltered, and authentic. Think “Spring 2022 photo dump,” “Springsteen collection launch BTS,” et cetera.
It’s almost the opposite of the standard recommendation to provide detail and context in your caption. Instead, the photo dump trend intrigues and titillates with real ‘inside joke’ energy. If that feels like a fit for your brand, then go for it.
If you’re ready to start dumping, check out our tips on mastering the art of the photo dump here.
Photo dumps not really your style? Though some users still happily employ the main feed as a dumping ground for any and all snapshots, many brands still use their main feeds as a more curated showcase, cultivating an overarching theme or vibe for one’s account.
A consistent palette dominates fashion brand Eve Gavel’s Instagram page…
… Fable tableware, meanwhile, goes all-in on warm tone neutrals.
Most commonly, you’ll see brands or creators posting photos that fit a particular color scheme. Pink is particularly popular, as it has been since Millennials first crawled out of the primordial ooze and evolved to use the smartphone, but you’ll see this compelling monochrome trend in a variety of hues.
Want some more inspo for crafting a stop-them-in-their-tracks Instagram grid? We gotchu.
Time-saving tip: You can edit your Instagram photos to achieve all these effects directly in the Hootsuite dashboard.
No more editing photos on your phone, emailing them to yourself, and then uploading them to your social media management platform separately! The video below shows you how to crop, align, apply filters and more before you schedule your posts.
If any of these Instagram photo editing trends tickle your fancy, we wholeheartedly encourage you to give ‘em a whirl!
If you enjoy the content you’re creating, chances are your audience will too, but no pressure here. Ultimately, trends on Instagram will come and go. But quality, engaging content that speaks to your unique audience and their needs? That’s forever.
Save time managing your Instagram presence by using Hootsuite to edit, schedule, and publish posts, grow your audience, and track success with easy-to-use analytics. Try it free today.
With files from Michelle Cyca.
TikTok SEO in 5 Steps: How To Make Sure Your Videos Show Up in Search
What if I told you that TikTok SEO can help your content reach more people and even make your videos go viral?
If you’ve been sleeping on your social media SEO strategy, this blog is for you. We’ll walk you through all the juicy details about TikTok SEO specifically, how it works, and how you can optimize your video content to get the most out of it.
Stick with us, and you’ll be on the For You page in no time.
Bonus: Get a free TikTok Growth Checklist from famous TikTok creator Tiffy Chen that shows you how to gain 1.6 million followers with only 3 studio lights and iMovie.
What is TikTok SEO?
TikTok SEO is the practice of optimizing your videos on TikTok to rank higher in search. Just as you would use keywords and analytics to optimize the content on your website, you can also use these tactics to help your TikTok videos show up in more search results–this includes results on TikTok, as well as Google.
But wait. TikTok isn’t a search engine, right? Maybe not technically, but it still has its own search bar, making SEO an important part of the platform. In fact, Google’s own data found that 40% of young people primarily use TikTok and Instagram for search.
And, although social media posts on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and the like were not indexed by Google in the past, they now show up in the SERPs. Fancy that!
Your TikTok SEO strategy should include both SEO for Google and SEO for TikTok search. That way, you’re giving your content a fighting chance in all of the biggest online search arenas.
TikTok SEO ranking factors
User interactions can include anything from videos you’ve liked, videos you’ve hidden, videos you’ve added to your favorites, and videos you watch all the way to the end. TikTok takes note of all of this data and uses it to determine which videos to show you.
All of the information contained in a video can affect its ranking on TikTok. This includes captions, hashtags, sound effects, and music. TikTok looks for videos that contain relevant keywords in their titles and descriptions, as well as videos that cover trending topics.
Devices and account settings
These are settings TikTok uses to optimize performance. They include language preference, country setting (you may be more likely to see content from people in your own country), type of mobile device, and categories of interest you selected as a new user.
Note that while account settings do factor into your TikTok SEO ranking, they receive a lower weight than video info and user interactions.
What’s not included?
You’ll be happy to hear that TikTok does not factor follower count into its SEO ranking algorithm (though, if you do want to get more followers, we have you covered). This means that if you create great content that speaks directly to your target audience, you have as much chance of landing on their For You page as the biggest TikTok stars.
This is what sets TikTok apart from other platforms like Instagram. And honestly? We’re here for it.
Google SEO ranking factors
Anyone who knows anything about SEO knows that Google’s ranking factors aren’t exactly the most transparent topic. That aside, there are a couple of things we know for sure. And, *spoiler alert*, these ranking factors are also going to be a big part of your TikTok SEO tips.
Here’s what Google looks for when ranking search results.
These are the words and phrases that users type into a search engine when looking for answers. For example, someone looking for advice on keeping their hair healthy might search for “hair care.”
Google doesn’t just give anyone the top search spot. To earn it, you have to be an authority on the topic.
How do they know you’re an authority? This part is a bit tricky. But, in essence, Google looks at how many other pages link to your page (this acts as a reference and shows what you’re saying is true) and how popular those pages are. This basically means a link from Apple is going to be worth way more than a link from your brother’s local pizza parlor. Sorry, Antonio.
The good news for TikTok’ers is that social media platforms (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook) are some of the most “authoritative” sites in this world. So having a presence on these platforms, and having your content show up in Google search, can really help boost your discoverability.
A piece of content must be related to what users are searching for in order to get a good rank. No one wants to see a page on WWII history when they’re looking for makeup brush cleaning tips.
Google generally prefers new content to old, though there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, Google says, “The freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions.”
How to do TikTok SEO in 5 steps
Now that we know what TikTok and Google’s search engines look for, here are our top TikTok SEO tips.
1. Start with your audience
One of the most important aspects of TikTok SEO is understanding your audience. Knowing who they are and what they’re looking for can help you create content that resonates with them.
If you’re already active on TikTok, you may have a good idea of what your audience likes. If not, consider taking some time to get to know them better. Look at the videos they’re engaging with and the hashtags they’re using. As well, look at the comments and messages they’re sending you. This can help you get an idea of their interests so that you can create content tailored to them.
Why does this matter for SEO? Well, understanding your audience can help you craft better titles and descriptions for videos, making them easier to find in TikTok searches. Similarly, you want to create content that your audience wants to see. Or the content they are already searching for. This can give you a leg up when it comes to being discovered by new audiences, too.
2. Do keyword research
Keyword research is an essential part of traditional SEO, so it makes sense to use it on TikTok, too. Find out what words or phrases your target audience is using when searching for content like yours.
Keep in mind these tools are scraping data from Google itself–not TikTok. Because SEO in TikTok is so new, there aren’t currently any TikTok SEO tools that can tell you what people are searching for on TikTok.
But don’t get discouraged. The best way to figure out what people are searching for on TikTok is to use the TikTik platform directly. Simply go to TikTok, open the search bar, and enter any keywords you’ve pulled from your TikTok keyword research.
TikTok will automatically auto-populate the search bar with the most popular keywords related to your query. Look through what it shows you, and select any keywords that match up with your content.
If you want to see even more keyword ideas, try typing in your keyword followed by a single letter. TikTok will then show you all the related keywords that begin with your query and the letter you entered.
Hair care “A.”
Hair care “B.”
Hair care “C.”
You can keep repeating this process until you have a list of relevant hashtags and keywords to use in your TikTok SEO strategy.
3. Add keywords to your content
Once you have your TikTok keyword research completed, start adding them to your content in the titles, descriptions, and captions of your videos. This includes any on-screen text, such as lyrics or explanations.
Also, be sure to say the keywords out loud! That’s right, TikTok’s algorithms prioritize videos where the keywords are actually spoken.
You’ll also want to include your keywords in any hashtags you use, as this will help people find your posts more easily. Use both your main keyword and any variations of your keyword that make sense. But don’t overdo it. Make sure you know the optimal number of hashtags to use on each platform.
Finally, add your most relevant target keywords to your TikTok profile. This will ensure that your profile is more visible when people search for these keywords. It also gives potential followers an idea of what kind of content you post and whether they should follow you.
4. Add your TikTok to a microblog
This is the exciting part, where we get to mash everything we know about traditional SEO with everything we’re learning about TikTok SEO!
Blogging is a big part of ranking in Google search. Remember when we talked about Google prioritizing content that is relevant and fresh? Well, that’s pretty much why blogs exist. What better way to keep your content fresh than to publish consistently?
To leverage this technique for your TikTok SEO, create a microblog post that discusses a particular topic related to your TikTok video. Be sure to include your main keyword in the title and your secondary or long-tail keywords in the subheadings and content of the post. Also, don’t forget to embed your TikTok video in the blog, too!
5. Track your progress
Every savvy SEO marketing strategy requires continuous monitoring and tweaking. Sure, you put all the best practices in place, but how will you know if your efforts are successful?
Tracking your TikTok analytics is the best way to see if your SEO strategy is paying off. This will give you insights into which videos are performing well, what kind of engagement they’re getting, and more. It can also help you identify areas where you can improve, such as topics or keywords that don’t seem to be resonating with your audience.
Hootsuite Analytics can show you exactly how many views are coming from search, as opposed to the For You page or from existing followers.
Be sure to track this progress over time, as well as the progress of your competitors. This will give you a better understanding of what works best in terms of TikTok SEO and can help you refine your strategy accordingly.
Frequently asked questions about TikTok SEO
What is SEO on TikTok?
SEO on TikTok is the process of optimizing your TikTok content to make it more discoverable on the platform, increasing views, likes and followers. This is done by researching hashtags, targeting certain keywords, and leveraging popular trends on the platform.
TikTok videos also have the ability to rank in Google search, so optimizing your content for SEO can help you gain even more reach and visibility.
How do you increase SEO on TikTok?
Increasing SEO on TikTok starts with keyword research. This involves researching and identifying popular keywords related to your content, so you can include those keywords in your captions and in the audio of your video.
You should also be aware of popular trends on the platform and use relevant hashtags related to your content. This will make your video more visible in TikTok’s search results and maximize its chances of getting seen.
How do keywords work on TikTok?
Keywords on TikTok are the same as those for any other platform–-words and phrases commonly used to search for content. Popular keywords in your niche can help TikTok’s algorithm boost your video and make it visible to more potential viewers.
How is TikTok a search engine?
TikTok is not technically a search engine, but it does have its own algorithm that can be used to find content. The algorithm takes into account the number of views, likes, and comments a video gets, as well as what other users are searching for. This helps TikTok serve up relevant content to each user based on their interests and past interactions with the app.
Grow your TikTok presence alongside your other social channels using Hootsuite. Schedule and publish posts for the best times, engage your audience, and measure performance — all from one easy-to-use dashboard. Try it free today.
How To Create a Strong Social Media Advocacy Program
There’s nothing more convincing than a friend’s endorsement — especially on social media. That’s why a social media advocacy program is the best way to show the benefits of your products instead of telling your customers why they should care.
Brand advocates help you connect with potential customers and cut through the noise online. They can boost your visibility by:
- Showing off your products on social media
- Leaving positive reviews on your website
- Driving more traffic to your products
In short, an engaged community leads to better sales outcomes. Keep reading for our guide to building a strong social media advocacy program.
Bonus: Download a free employee advocacy toolkit that shows you how to plan, launch, and grow a successful employee advocacy program for your organization.
Social media advocacy is a way to leverage the social networks of the people who like you and/or are invested in your continued success: your customers, employees, business partners, influencers, and more.
According to Nielsen’s 2021 Trust in Advertising study, a whopping 89% of respondents trust recommendations from people they know. These recommendations are almost twice as likely to generate action, too.
A social media advocacy strategy turns your biggest fans into brand advocates. A brand advocate is someone who loves your brand so much that they choose to voluntarily promote your products or services on their own social media channels.
While influencers are paid to create sponsored content for your brand, brand advocates are motivated by their enthusiasm for your product or service. They opt into your advocacy program voluntarily. Savvy customers are great at spotting paid influencer content, but organic endorsements still carry serious weight.
By leveraging your company’s biggest cheerleaders, you gain access to their social networks. The trust-based customer relationships you’ll build are worth their weight in gold.
What can brand advocates do for you?
Social media is now a top channel for online brand research, second only to search engines. Customers rely on social at every stage of the purchasing journey. A brand advocate’s positive post can really help you stand out from the crowd.
Here are a few ways in which brand advocates can help you build your business:
They leave positive reviews
Reviews from real users provide useful information for potential customers. In fact, reviews are the third-most important factor when shoppers are contemplating an online purchase:
Source: Hootsuite Digital 2022 report
Encourage your brand advocates to leave positive reviews on your website — and make it easy for them to do so. You can even generate a link to leave a review on Google and include it in your post-purchase emails to all customers.
Customers find a mix of positive and negative reviews more trustworthy. Responding to reviews shows that your brand is open to feedback. Make sure to engage with or respond to all reviews, good or bad.
They create user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is original, brand-specific content created by customers and published on social media or other channels. UGC acts as a trust signal, taking your brand authenticity to the next level. It’s incredibly influential in the final stages of the buyer’s journey.
Brands like Starbucks leverage UGC to break up the flow of traditional marketing posts in their social media streams:
Only four of these 12 recent posts on the Starbucks Instagram feed are brand marketing posts. The other eight posts are user-generated content. In these examples, UGC creates a sense of FOMO that drives customers to stop in for the latest seasonal treat.
They bring in new users or customers
Seeing someone else’s success can help new customers visualize their own. That’s why success stories are invaluable when recruiting potential customers or users.
Airbnb, a giant in the short-term homestay space, builds brand advocacy with the Superhost Ambassador program.
Superhosts are experienced users who have completed at least 10 stays in the past year, maintain a 4.8+ rating, and have a 90% response rate within 24 hours. They enjoy perks and special recognition for earning Superhost status.
Superhost Ambassadors share positive experiences to help new users see the benefits of hosting. They provide mentorship and tools to help new hosts succeed, all while earning rewards for bringing new hosts to Airbnb.
With the “Ask a Superhost” function, Ambassadors become de facto customer service representatives. They answer questions from newbies and help them create successful Airbnb listings. In exchange for their support, Ambassadors earn cash rewards and enjoy exclusive features and tools.
The key to building a strong social media advocacy program lies in leveraging your existing communities. But before you reach out to potential advocates, make sure you’ve got a plan in place.
Here’s how to start building your own social media advocacy program.
1. Start with your goals
Consider what you’re trying to achieve with your social media advocacy program. What kinds of brand advocates are you looking to build your community with? What kind of ROI are you aiming for?
Use the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting program to develop a set of effective goals. That means setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals.
Here’s an example of a S.M.A.R.T goal:
Create a brand advocacy program to grow my Instagram following by 15 percent over the next 90 days.
Now that you’ve got an actionable goal in mind, you can figure out the tactics you’ll need to follow to achieve it.
2. Identify potential brand advocates
After setting your goals, you need to find your brand advocates, recruit them to your cause, and grow excitement among them about your company, campaign, or initiative.
Be sure to develop your program around valuable opportunities and rewards for the participants. Show them how taking part in the program will benefit them. Three core things to focus on to drive the program, including your search for the perfect participants, are:
- Effective communication
- Clear program architecture
- Professional integration
To find the best brand advocates for your social media advocacy program, you need to understand who you want to target, and ask yourself some key questions:
- What are their pain points?
- What incentives would be valuable to them?
- What are their interests?
- Who do they engage with on social media?
Deciding to develop a brand advocacy program doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. If your brand is active on social media, then there’s a good chance your customers and fans are as well. This community is likely already talking about (and to) your brand.
Look at your social media followers and newsletter subscriber lists. Who’s liking your posts and clicking your newsletter links? These engaged fans are prime candidates for your advocacy program.
3. Don’t forget about employee advocates
Employees can also be fantastic advocates for your brand and business. An employee advocacy program amplifies company messaging and broadens your social media reach.
When recruiting employee brand advocates, make it clear that the program is optional. Internal advocates usually see the value in incentives, but they don’t want to be bribed or coerced into participating!
Here are a few tips to incentivize your employee brand advocates:
- Follow employees from your company accounts to boost their network
- Use the company accounts to share creative messaging created by employees
- Create a contest where everyone who shares a piece of marketing content is entered to win a prize
- Keep track of employees who share content consistently and share this information with their managers
- Acknowledge frequent sharers in company meetings or newsletters
Hootsuite Amplify helps you take the guesswork out of employee social media advocacy. Amplify allows your employees to access pre-approved content to share on their social feeds — all queued up and ready to go.
When done right, employee advocacy is one of the most effective ways to boost your public image and employee engagement.
4. Reward your advocates
Once you’ve got brand advocates, hang onto them! Make sure your social media advocacy program includes valuable opportunities and rewards for the participants. Show them how taking part in the program will benefit them.
Try the following tips to get the ball rolling:
- Follow users that follow you and engage with the content they share
- Highlight community members who contribute positively to your online discussions
- Reward the people who stand out in your community
- Send them swag or discount codes
Keep brand advocates engaged
For your advocacy program to be effective, you need to build a strong connection with your advocates. Best case scenario: you’ll have hundreds, or even thousands, of engaged brand advocates championing your brand. These advocates need to feel valued!
Your social media advocacy strategy needs to be scalable. Put someone in charge of answering advocate questions and keeping them on track. Consider appointing a program lead to take on the engagement task as the program grows.
Add value to the experience
You can keep members engaged by adding value to their experience:
- Create programming or education for your brand advocates
- Offer discounts on educational opportunities
- Add value with exclusive experiences, such as in-person meetups
- Incentivize or even gamify your program by running contests or fun challenges
A relationship with a good brand advocate is mutually beneficial, so keep up with your end of the bargain.
Review your advocacy program on a regular basis
Review your brand advocacy program every few months to see how your progress is tracking against the goals you established at the start. If something isn’t working, make adjustments to get things back on track. Social media is constantly evolving, and so should your advocacy program.
Tap into the power of employee advocacy with Hootsuite Amplify. Increase reach, keep employees engaged, and measure results—safely and securely. Learn how Amplify can help grow your organization today.
Hootsuite Amplify makes it easy for your employees to safely share your content with their followers—boosting your reach on social media. Book a personalized, no-pressure demo to see it in action.
Customer Experience Management Explained [11 Top Tips]
Have you ever been so excited to receive an online order, only to open up the delivery to find a broken product? If the customer care team goes above and beyond to resolve the issue, your frustrating experience can be morphed into a positive one. That’s why customer experience management is a quick way to win people’s hearts.
In this article, we’ll walk through what you need to know about customer experience management and how it can improve your business, including the top customer experience tools and tactics you can try yourself.
Bonus: Get our free, fully customizable Customer Experience Strategy Template that will help you understand your customers and reach your business goals.
What is customer experience management?
Customer experience management (CEM or CXM) is the process of managing and improving the way customers interact with your business. CEM uses data gathered at every interaction to improve customers’ perception of your company.
At its core, customer experience management is all about understanding and improving how customers interact with your business. This means everything from how your customers discover you online to the interactions they have with your employees in-store.
Examining your customer journey from start to finish allows you to identify areas of friction and areas of opportunity.
Why is customer experience management important?
Customer experience management can help businesses to foster a positive image in their customers’ eyes. And it can help build stronger relationships with your customers. Companies that provide a great customer experience will always have a competitive edge.
You can create loyal brand advocates when your customer experience management is on point. A loyal customer’s lifetime value is much, much higher than a one-off purchaser. Bad customer experiences can cost you your reputation. But even just a meh customer experience is detrimental to your success.
What is the difference between CEM and CRM?
Customer experience management (CEM) and customer relationship management (CRM) are different perspectives on the same relationship. But while CRM focuses on the company’s view of a customer, CEM looks at the customer’s view of the company.
Think of it like this: CRM looks at your sales funnel. Where can you as a company meet your customer? CEM, on the other hand, considers your customer touchpoints. Where do your customers interact with your company?
CRM is about improving internal processes, while CEM looks at your company holistically.
What is client experience management?
Is customer experience the same thing as client experience? Well, not really. Though the terms are often used interchangeably, they’re not synonymous.
That’s because a customer may have a single transactional purchase with an organization. Clients, on the other hand, generally engage over longer periods of time centered around long-term services.
11 ways customer experience management can improve your business
By investing in your customer experience management, you can improve the health of your business. You’ll see real results, like increased revenue and profitability. Plus, you’ll build a strong base of loyal, happy customers, which means even more revenue down the road.
Here are 11 ways a strong customer experience management strategy can improve your business.
1. Helps you understand customer’s wants and needs
Creating a customer experience strategy means putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. It’s like psychology — you need to know their wants, needs, fears, and desires inside and out. Then, you can understand how to better deliver.
To do this, you can use customer experience tools to collect data on your audience. For example, Hootsuite’s social listening features can show you what (and how) your customers talk about you online.
Hootsuite Insights (powered by Brandwatch) makes it easy to track brand sentiment with intuitive word clouds and meters that gauge your sentiment and brand awareness against the competition.
You can also use customer experience tools like customer surveys to gain insight into their experience with your brand. These deep insights will help you to deliver on their wants proactively. And what’s better than someone giving you something you want before you even ask for it?
2. Build emotional connections with customers
At their core, these strategies are about better serving your customers, which will help you build stronger emotional connections with them. To do that, you need to provide a personalized service and seamless journey.
Finding out what your customers want and giving it to them is a start. But you will also want to anticipate their needs to reach them on an emotional level. It’s not enough anymore to just make things easy. In the customer journey, look for opportunities where you can delight your customers.
Take dog food suppliers Chewy, for example. When a customer called to ask about returns, Chewy learned her pup had passed over the rainbow bridge. They sent the grieving family flowers with a card signed by their customer care team member.
I contacted @Chewy last week to see if I could return an unopened bag of my dog’s food after he died. They 1) gave me a full refund, 2) told me to donate the food to the shelter, and 3) had flowers delivered today with the gift note signed by the person I talked to?? 😭
— Anna Brose, MSc (@alcesanna) June 15, 2022
3. Capture negative feedback before it goes live
One of the great advantages of having customer support chat built into your strategy is that you can capture issues before they turn into bad reviews. But if you can’t offer 24-hour live chat support, a chatbot can be a lifesaver.
Tools like customer service chatbots offer a golden opportunity to fix problems before they get bigger.
Customers who have their problems fixed are usually pretty receptive to giving your company another shot. Mistakes happen; we’re only human. (Except for the chatbots, of course. They’re just beautiful pieces of customer experience management software.)
4. Decrease customer churn
Your churn rate, or the rate at which customers stop using your business, is an important measure of overall customer happiness. It’s pretty simple math: Happy customers equal less churn.
When people feel seen and cared for by your brand, they’re less likely to take their business elsewhere.
That’s why making sure your existing customers are happy can lead to significant savings for your business. It costs a lot less to keep an existing customer than it does to acquire a new one.
5. Boost customer loyalty
Loyal customers mean more than just reduced customer churn. When customers have a good experience with your business, they are more likely to recommend you to others. This boost in loyalty can act as word-of-mouth marketing and increase your Net Promoter Score (NPS).
NPS is used to measure your customer experience and satisfaction. It’s calculated on a 0-10 scale, bucketed into three cohorts: detractors (0-6), passives (7-8), and promoters (8-10). When your customer is a promoter, they’re essentially a brand advocate.
6. Lower support costs
Customers who have a good experience with your business are less likely to need support.
There are fewer complaints which means less stress on your customer service team. This results in lower support costs, fewer dissatisfied customers, and a happier customer service team.
7. Increase sales
If you’ve made it easy for customers to complete their purchase, they’re more likely to buy from you again in the future.
Plus, satisfied customers are also more likely to refer others to your business.
8. Enhance brand reputation
A positive customer experience improves how people perceive your brand. When you’re mapping out your customer experience strategy, keep your ideal brand perception in mind.
Do you, like Coca-Cola, want to be known for happiness? Then you could take a page out of their book and add joyful touchpoints to your customer’s day. How fun was it to find a Coke bottle with your name on it?
9. Improve employee satisfaction
If you work for a company that is beloved by customers, you’re going to like your job a little bit more. Interacting with happy people who have a great customer experience may raise internal employee morale.
When your employees are happy, there is less turnover. Turnover, estimated by LinkedIn, can cost a company 1.5-2 times the employee’s salary. This number may seem high, but it includes intangible losses like the employee’s company knowledge and strain placed on the remaining team.
10. Create a competitive advantage
Businesses that excel at customer experience management have a leg up on their competition. This competitive advantage can help you attract more customers and grow your business.
Trader Joe’s, for example, has an almost cult-like following. And yes, in part it’s due to their off-beat and delightful product offerings. But that on its own isn’t enough.
Trader Joe’s also invests heavily in customer service and understanding the friction points of traditional grocery shopping. You only have to browse the Trader Joe’s freezer aisle, where they’ve removed the cumbersome, annoying freezer doors, to see their strategy in action.
11. Generate social media buzz
If something happens and it’s not posted on social media, did it actually happen?
When people experience something notable, they post about it. Dedicate your customer experience strategy to creating a delightful experience for your customers. Some of them will likely share that story, possibly on their Story. (See what we did there?)
User-generated content (UGC) is great for your own social content. When people turn into online advocates for your brand or share a positive experience, they create social proof that your brand is legit. Then, that positive brand experience sits in front of all their followers. You, my friend, have just gained some free, effective advertising.
Top customer experience management tactics to try
There are a ton of tactics you can use today to get your customer experience management off the ground. We’ll walk you through a few easy wins to get you started.
Use a chatbot to engage with your customers
Chatbots are a very easy win for your customer experience management. Install one anywhere your customers may reach out to you. That includes your website, your social media accounts, and your apps.
Chatbots have a ton of advantages when it comes to engaging your customers. You can empower them with answers to your frequently asked questions. This allows customers to get instant feedback on their FAQs. People don’t like waiting around for answers, especially simple ones.
Just make sure you choose a chatbot that will deliver on your customers’ wants. You may need a multilingual chatbot if your consumer base is multinational. Or, maybe your customers always want to track their orders; an ecommerce chatbot could be a good choice.
Something else to consider is your chatbot’s personality. You’ll want to make sure you can program the chatbot to speak in your brand voice. If you can, giving your chatbot a likable avatar is an easy way to improve the customer experience. And choose a chatbot that has natural language processing skills to better relate to your customers.
Hootsuite’s number one chatbot is Heyday. Heyday is an AI-powered chatbot that turns conversations into customers. It can do all the above and more.
Build a customer journey map
A customer journey map allows you to visualize the steps a customer takes when interacting with your business. It can give you real insights into your customers’ needs, fears, desires, and goals. You’ll be left with a better understanding of their thoughts, feelings, and pain points.
Customer journey maps are particularly useful in highlighting areas for improvement and opportunities.
For example, you may notice your customers have to physically call your store or team when an issue arises. This can provide a point of friction; some people *cough cough, millennials* hate talking on the phone. Or, in the case of Deaf or hard-of-hearing folks, will find it inaccessible. A chatbot on your website can make it easier for people to get in touch.
By identifying each customer touchpoint and mapping out the steps involved, you will gain a better understanding of the overall customer experience. This, in turn, can help you to identify ways to improve the journey and make it more efficient and delightful for your customers.
Create a customer experience strategy
A customer experience strategy clearly defines the steps and tactics you’ll take to improve your customer experience. An effective strategy defines your goals and the actions you’ll take to achieve them. Then, it considers how to measure and optimize your efforts.
Your goal could be, for example, to reduce customer churn (low customer churn is a great indication of a solid customer experience) by 10% in a quarter. Part of your strategy is to determine what is causing customer churn, which can be achieved by customer journey mapping and customer surveys. Then, fix the issues you uncover.
Here’s a simple way to measure your customer churn. At the end of the quarter, subtract your number of current customers from the number of customers you had at the start of the quarter. Then, divide that total by the number of customers you started with.
Let’s say you had 500 customers at the start of Q1 and 450 at the end. You can calculate your churn rate like so: (500 – 450) / 500 = 10%
After creating a customer experience strategy, you will have a plan in hand for reaching your customer experience goals.
Use data to understand demographics
The right chatbot gathers information each time it interacts with one of your consumers. Chatbot analytics isn’t something you should be sleeping on. If you’ve implemented a chatbot, then take a deep dive into the data it’s gathered. This is an excellent tool for understanding your customer demographics.
The better you know a group of people, the better you can tailor the experience you offer to what they want.
Engage with customers through social listening
You’ll want to know what customers are saying about your brand: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Keep an ear to the ground with social listening.
Hootsuite Insights helps you make sense of millions of customer conversations happening in real time, so you can stay on top of trends and set strategies with confidence.
Customers also like to feel heard. When they post about your brand or a topic that relates to you, responding is a great way to build relationships and foster a connection.
You can keep your finger on the pulse by tracking brand mentions, customer feedback, and industry trends. And you’ll stay relevant within the communities you’re a part of.
Plus, if you’ve got a cheeky brand voice, responding to people with humor is the perfect way to surprise, delight, and foster a positive customer experience.
— Wendy’s 🇨🇦 (@WendysCanada) October 18, 2022
Ask them what they want
You won’t know if you don’t ask. After they’ve interacted with you, ask your customers what went well and where you can improve.
There are tons of different types of surveys you can send out that will help you understand and improve your customer experience.
One of those is the Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey, which uses specific questions like “How satisfied were you with your experience at the ABC Cafe?” to get granular, reliable data.
Top customer experience management software
These days, brands need a stacked toolbox to stay competitive. There’s a lot of customer experience management software out there, but it can be overwhelming to choose between them. So, to avoid being paralyzed by choice, we’ve put together a list of tried and tested tools.
Heyday for customer service
Heyday is our choice chatbot for customer service. There is a lot that chatbots can do for your business, including improving your customer response rates.
Heyday automates customer support requests like answers to FAQs and product recommendations. And it can offer in-store appointment bookings. Heyday uses conversational AI to converse naturally with your customers. The results are a smooth, organic conversation.
Hootsuite for social listening, engagement, and surveys
Hootsuite has a ton of helpful features to help improve your customer experience. Insights, the social listening tool we mentioned above, is one surefire win.
But if you don’t need a social listening tool that’s quite as robust, you can also use Hootsuite Streams to engage with your customers on whatever social media channel they prefer.
You can use Streams (custom feeds that show up in your Hootsuite dashboard) to track all the important conversations in your field. You can even set up filters to monitor conversations by keyword, hashtag, and location. It’s a great way to stay on top of your own business—and one step ahead of the competition.
Hootsuite also integrates with tools like Sparkcentral, so you can easily send out and collect surveys.
Shopify for ecommerce
Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. It is extremely easy to get set up on and operate, making it a beloved piece of software by beginners and experts alike.
Salesforce for your CRM needs
Salesforce is a powerful tool for managing all your company’s relationships with customers. The goal of using CRM software like Sales Cloud is to streamline your processes and improve your profitability. You’ll be able to track:
- outstanding orders, and
- manage customer relationships across their entire lifecycle.
Salesforce is a useful customer experience management platform because of its ability to take care of all your CRM needs.
Engage with shoppers on social media and turn customer conversations into sales with Heyday, our dedicated conversational AI chatbot for social commerce retailers. Deliver 5-star customer experiences — at scale.
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