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If you would like to get a handle on what your customers are saying about you, one great way is to use social media to gather feedback on your brand. It’s actually one of the greatest things about using social media that many small businesses are ignoring; the ability to monitor your brand with Twitter and Facebook is fairly easy. One way to proactively use social media is to communicate directly with your customer to garner feedback on issues from new product ideas to marketing campaigns. The customer responses you receive can really be valuable information to help you make decisions.

• Add a poll to your Facebook page
• Add a survey to your blog or website
• Post a video
• Post a question on LinkedIn (great for businesses)
• Participate in a Twitter chat (How about #jewelrychat every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from 8-9pm EST?!)

Here’s one way I would not suggest using social media. A few months ago I posted on Twitter (I am @rubymarcom) about how much I loved my new Zoot running shoes. I was pleased and surprised to find a that they had mentioned me later that day. We had brief messages back and forth a few times, it was nice to see that they were paying attention to what people were saying and I appreciated the connection. Fast forward a couple months. I ran a big race and noticed that my shoes had a tear. I took a photograph and tweeted to Zoot that while I love my shoes, there’s a tear and they’re new ones. What do they suggest?

This time they didn’t reply. I sent them a direct message (DM) thinking they hadn’t noticed. Still, no response. It’s been several weeks now and they’ve never replied and frankly, I’m disappointed. I just wanted a response.

Communication using social media is not meant to be a one-way method of communicating. If you can take the kudos, you need to be able to take the criticism too.

Pay attention to what people are saying about you and reply. You will learn from them and build more loyal customers in the process.

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What have you done using social media that you felt was an effective way of gathering customer feedback?

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