Create Long-Lasting Relationships Through Social Media

Last week, we argued small- and medium-size businesses have the most to gain from social media. Truth is, anyone can tweet “Happy Earth Day” or post a photograph on Facebook.

 On the other hand, if you want to build long-term engagement with your current and potential customers, you need to create content that’s both valuable and relevant to your business. Doing so will enable you to develop a deeper relationship with those who “like” and “follow” your brand.

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 Sure, sales and promotions can create buzz, but they’re not going to build your brand. As an entrepreneur, you know your business inside out. This expertise, combined with an intimate knowledge of your customer, is exactly what you need to succeed in social media channels. For instance, if you’re an auto mechanic, you might tell your customers how to get better performance out of their cars. Or, if you’re a fashion retailer, you could provide suggestions to incorporate the latest trends into a classic wardrobe. You get the idea.

 Of course, creating value is easier said than done. There’s a reason why most social media marketing campaigns are one-offs; long-term relationships take a lot of time and effort. Still, like a good friendship a good social media strategy is well worth the investment. Here are a few tips to help you create a solid relationship from the first date and beyond:

  • Get to know your customer intimately. Learn about their wants and needs. This will help you provide the substance they’re looking for.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Respond to customer queries and feedback regularly to engage in a two-way dialogue and build trust.
  • Don’t be too controlling. Your ultimate goal is to let your customer act as a brand ambassador. However, you need to avoid trying to establish a close connection too quickly. Rather, let it evolve naturally.
  • Be willing to adapt. Use social media to track how customers feel about your products and services. Make changes as necessary. They’ll not only feel like you were listening, they’ll also feel validated.
  • Be everywhere your target is. You’ll develop a stronger connection if you speak to them consistently across several social media channels rather than in just one space.

 Just like a best friend, your social media fans will endorse you and introduce you to their social networks. This will ultimately allow you to secure relationships with their friends, then their friends’ friends and so on.

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