Social media is a relationship tool, not a promotional tool.
What do I mean?
I mean that the way you drive marketing results with social media is not by shoving as many promotional messages and ads in your audience’s face as you can, because frankly, people on social media don’t have any interest in that.
They use social media to interact with their friends, stay up-to-date with their peers, and to get inspired and entertained. It seems that today, marketers have a hard time putting themselves into the consumer’s shoes. Ask yourself: when you go on social media, do you do it because you want to see advertisements?
Of course not!
Yet still, marketers seem to believe that everyone else is acting differently from themselves on social media. Want to hear a secret? They don’t.
As such, if you focus on promoting and selling to people there’s a risk that you’ll end up pushing them away from you.
Instead, what you want to do which many marketers are missing out on, is to use social media as a relationship tool with your audience.
With that in mind, the way to succeed on social media is not by putting out a bunch of advertisements.
So what is the solution?
Well, by building stronger customer relationships, you increase your customer loyalty – and greater customer loyalty means returning customers.
This is relevant because it is five to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.
At the same time, returning Customers Spend 67% More Than New Customers.
Convinced that customer relationships are the way to go?
Good, because social media is one of the best tools for just that. In fact, social media is one of the best tools for improving your customer relationships, yet the vast majority of businesses don’t leverage it for that.
In this article, we’ll look at a very underrated way to use social media for marketing. In this article, we share 5 ways you can use social media to build customer relationships.
Use social media to build relationships
Humans are quite special creatures. We act rationally most of the time, but sometimes, we can take completely irrational decisions. When it comes to purchasing behaviors, it is interesting to look at what makes a person buy something, and reverse-engineer that to ultimately use it to your advantage.
And what you’ll find is that a lot of our purchasing decisions are based on recommendations. Mostly from people we trust. This is why influencer marketing has exploded in popularity in recent times.
Despite the fact that many of our purchase decisions are based on recommendations from people we trust, marketers are not investing enough resources into building relationships with their customers themselves.
Instead, they use influencers and celebrities.
But having a direct contact and communications channel with your customers will prove to be incredibly valuable.
This is why you want to use social media as a tool to get closer to your audience, strengthen your relationships, and ultimately increase their trust in you. So that when you finally recommend a product, they trust your recommendation – and buy from you.
1.Respond to comments
In order to build customer relationships, and any relationships for that matter, you need to actually interact and engage with people time and time over. Unfortunately, this is something that many businesses miss out on, because if you look at the comment sections of the top brands on social media, you’ll notice that they have a ton of messages from their audience, many of which demand a response, but very few, if any, responses from the company.
As a brand, you want to take every opportunity you can to build customer relationships on social media, and when you have your audience taking the first step to interact with you, you don’t want to miss out on the incredible opportunity that it is.
2. Ask questions
There are two ways you can go about engaging with your audience. Either you can take the first step, or you can rely on your audience taking the first step. The catch is that since you are the one who wants to engage with your audience, and you have a very clear-cut agenda with it, in order to engage with your audience, you need to actively take initiative.
One of the ways you can do so is to ask questions.
By asking questions, you show your audience that you care about and value their thoughts and opinions, but most importantly, you create an amazing opportunity to engage and interact with your audience.
By asking your audience questions, you can get them to take the first step, and then when they’ve responded to your question, you can jump into the conversation and continue to engage with them to further build the relationship.
3. Share user-generated content
Your customers probably share UGC content about your products on social media. It may be a photo of them wearing your shoes, or a video when they’re trying your hot chili sauce. Either way, sharing user-generated content is a win-win, because not only does it show your audience that you value and appreciate them, but it also provides you with free content.
This is great since creating content is costly. Furthermore, UGC tends to be much more trustworthy than professionally created content since customers know that companies have only one agenda, which is to sell more. If your customers aren’t sharing any user-generated content, you can encourage them to do so by rewarding those who do.
4.Comment on your audience’s posts
You shouldn’t just rely on your audience taking the initiative to comment on your posts. You also want to make sure that you comment on theirs.
By actively going out to your most loyal fans and followers and leaving a thoughtful comment, you send signals to them that you value them. The place where the magic happens is when you start a conversation and talk a reply after reply, and this is something that often happens when you start taking the initiative to interact with your audience.
5.Reward your most loyal fans
This is a great strategy to improve customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.
By rewarding your most loyal fans, you obviously show them that you value them immensely. But the best part is that by valuing your most loyal fans, you also show the rest of your audience that if they engage and interact with you, they will be rewarded for it.
NOTE: This article has been written by the help of Jens. Jens is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the Veloce International marketing blog.