Almost everybody has a Facebook page. Yes, even Grandma and Grandpa are starting to use social media to keep in touch with friends and family, follow their hobbies and the news, and learn about people, places, and activities in town. Social media is one of the most popular ways to get (and stay) connected.
This is because we are using social media to become connected in ways that were previously almost impossible. Before the internet it was really hard to continue relationships after drifting apart or moving away from a home town. But now the opposite is happening. We’re maintaining old connections and constantly building new relationships online, all thanks to social media.
The ability to make and maintain relationships is what makes social media a valuable marketing tool for your business...
We all know that as businesses have begun to use the internet, consumers have become overwhelmed with shopping options. Competition has never been higher. That’s why it’s so important to stand out and become a relationship marketer. That is, a business who values building relationships over making sales.
You want to engage your audience and recognize their humanness. It’s surprisingly easy to do: all it takes is for you to develop a more personal relationship with them.
Of course this isn’t new. Customer loyalty has always been valued. But, traditional marketing didn't always make it easy to maintain these relationships. Luckily, thanks to social media we are able focus on the things that can build relationships and make them last.
Start with information
Openness and honesty have always been at the core of great relationships. It’s no different here. It might be hard to wrap your head around this but when you’re using social media it’s important that you share all kinds of information about your business. It’s not only about sharing products and services, but sharing information.
If you're featured in a big news story, share a link to the article or video. Talk about developments in your company, like new hires or business partnerships. What’s going on in your industry?
Even generic comments about the weather or a holiday wish can endear followers to your business, making them more likely to continue following you and eventually buy from you.
Engage in ongoing communication
I’m sure we’ve all known someone who only ever talks about themselves. They never ask about you, just drone on and on about whatever mundane thing that’s going on in their life. Eventually they start to sound like an adult on the Peanuts cartoon. You just want to shake them and tell them to stop talking!
It’s the same way with online communication. You have to listen as much as you talk!
Traditional marketing tactics made it hard to generate feedback from customers, but a relationship marketing strategy that includes social media gives customers a louder voice.
Many consumers are using social media to talk about the brands they love, as well as those that disappointed them. You need to address this feedback. It’s as easy as sending a thank-you tweet to someone who raves about your products on Twitter. Did somebody ask a question? Answer it quickly. Does someone have a concern? Let them know you’ve heard them.
When you use social media to talk to your customers, you'll have a deeper relationship over time.
Make sure you fulfill expectations
When you have a relationship, each person asks and expects certain things from the other. Although sometimes meeting expectations is hard work, it’s essential for a long-term relationship. Luckily for your business, it’s easier to learn about and understand those expectations when you have social media as a way of directly communicating.
You can do this easily by incorporating the promises you’ve made in your other forms of marketing. Have you declared yourself as a cutting edge business? Then share the latest news, advice, and breakthroughs in your industry.
Want to be seen as fast and reliable? Prove it by immediately addressing and responding to customer concerns and questions. Embed your social media feeds with your brand promise to develop a more consistent and credible reputation with your customers.
People are using social media to communicate about anything and everything. You can use it to chat about your industry and business. That way you’ll turn your social media feeds into valuable marketing tools and develop better customer relationships.