Every marketer knows social media is where customer relationships start to blossom. But too many businesses opt for short cuts to “engagement” and fail to build genuine loyalty to their brand. In this post, we discuss 5 ways to leverage your social media to find and grow customer relationships.
Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are more than just platforms to promote your product or service. The truth is, social media is better used as a means to connect with, and learn about, your customers. Genuine connection – where your customers feel like they can relate to you instead of what you sell – is far more valuable (and more honest) than dry self-promotion.
And there’s data that supports this. A 2019 report from SproutSocial concludes that:
- 91% of people believe in social media’s power to connect communities.
- 78% of consumers want brands to help people connect through social media.
- 76% of consumers will buy from a brand they feel connected to over a competitor.
Needless to say, social media has evolved into an essential touchpoint in the buyer’s journey. Which is another way of saying it’s an essential part of your bottom line. But remember, people don’t “connect” with businesses. That’s not a thing. People connect with people. So, if you want to start building better relationships (and selling more as a result), follow these tips:
Learn About Your Customers
Don’t wait for your ideal customer to get to know you. Get to know them. Figure out exactly who they are: What they like, what they don’t like, what they’re passionate about. If you don’t at least try, you’ll never actually know how to engage with them.
A great exercise we recommend is creating a customer profile – a generalized description of your ideal customer that includes things like age, gender, interests, affinities, goals, frustrations, preferred channels and more.
Once you outline your customer profile, you can identify what you have in common and how to relate to them. This is the first step.
Talk to Your Customers
Now that you know your customers, it’s time to talk to them. But remember, you’re not selling anything. You’re getting to know them. The best way to do that is by figuring out what you can offer them.
Start the conversation by:
- Thanking new followers & following them back
- Answering questions & responding to comments in a timely manner
- Sharing your followers’ content
If you show customers you’re willing to give, not just take, they’ll be more willing to get to know you.
Stay ahead of comments, negative and positive. You should always respond to the positive comments, so your happy customers feel valued. And when it comes to responding to anything negative, empathize with the customer’s problem, offer a solution and take the rest of the conversation offline. Even in a negative situation, you can establish a positive impression and build trust from there.
Just because you’re a business doesn’t mean you have to be a robot. After all, you are a real person that’s running the account. Let your voice shine through.
When you respond to comments, make an effort to connect personably with the individual. Use their first name and answer with a genuine response – not a canned message that can be used for anyone. And at the end of your comment, sign your name! That way they know there’s a person behind the screen and feel more connected because of it.
Also, put a face to your brand. Whether it’s your own or one of your employees, make the business feel real by showing who you are.
Think about social media in your personal life. You usually see a lot of pictures of people, right? (It’s called Facebook for a reason.) Your brand social media accounts shouldn’t be any different. Include a healthy mix of product images, the storefront, business updates, contest flyers, and employee highlights, for example.
When it’s time to start a conversation by creating a new post, make sure you’re being relevant. There should be a solid reason you’re trying to engage. The content needs to align with your brand and your ideal customer profile.
Most of this content will be image-based. Facebook posts with images get over 3 times more engagement than those without, and tweets with images get 18% more clicks and 150% more retweets.
But your imagery has to be relevant. Content with relevant imagery gets 94% more views than content without!
Start by searching for stock images by location. Names of cities, coffee shops, hiking trails. Photos tagged with this precise metadata will provide you with localized, personalized imagery that your customers can relate to, or better yet, recognize. This virtually guarantees authenticity and relevancy.
Social media is a powerful tool. When used correctly, the right platform can launch a business. But if you want to grow, you need customers. And if you want customers, you need to learn about who they are and what they need. The best way to do that is to start by giving, not taking.