Want more engagement on your social channels?
Want to create a passionate community of customers who can’t wait for your next post?
Is it really possible?
Of course it is!
The truth is, there are no shortcuts to build better relationships on social media ~ Click to tweet
However, to get you off to the best possible start, I am going to share with you my top ten tips on how you can create those deeper and more meaningful relationships with your customers on social media.
Let’s dive in!
10 ways of building customer relationships on social media
1. Spotlight your customers
While your customers and fellow employees appreciate the content you share daily by engaging with your social posts, there is a way to show them how grateful you are in return. That is by shining the spotlight on them.
When it comes to how you can achieve this, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Share projects your employees are working on to help the company grow
- Share the top fans who have engaged on your social channels
- Share examples of your customers using your product/service
- Share new ideas for your business suggested by your customers and employees
- Share customer and employee testimonialsHere’s a great practical example of showcasing your community by none other than Bryan Kramer in his Human to Human Facebook community:
2. Pay attention to Response times
According to research carried out by Bain and company:Companies who engaged with customer service requests on social saw a 20-40% increase in revenue per customer ~ Click to tweet
What this shows us is that companies who fail to respond to their customers in a timely manner or even at all are literally leaving money on the table.
There’s a common misconception by businesses that monitoring social media channels is a time consuming process, when in fact, it only takes as little as an hour a day to ensure you are up to date on all your customer conversations on social.
Don’t put this process off any longer – here are a few tools to help you monitor those conversations today: Agora Pulse, Hootsuite & Tweetdeck.
3. Respect the relationship
While it may seem obvious to state “respect the relationship with your customers,” a lot of business owners today are still chasing follower numbers on their social channels. We see this time and time again with businesses even purchasing fans just to make their social channels look more established.Here’s my one piece of advice for which you will thank me in the long run:
“Your customers are worth far more than just the sale” ~ Click to tweet
You want to get to know your customers through your social channels. Ask them what type of content they prefer, what they think of your product or service, and even encourage them to come up with new ideas for your business.
The more you learn about your customers, the better you will become at serving them.
4. Personalise the experience
The simple truth is:
“People do business with those they know, like, trust, and respect” ~ Click to tweet
We know that respect is something that has to be earned, and this also applies to your customers on social media. That is why by personalizing the experience for your customers, you are able to build the rapport that leads to the trust and respect you are looking for.
So how can you achieve this?
Firstly, you want to add personality to your posts, which means using a conversational tone in your updates as well as in your replies. This helps your business or brand to become more relatable compared to hiding behind a logo. Here are some other ways you can add that personal touch:
- Sign off comments with your name or team name
- Showcase the team behind your business (live video, photos, tips)
- Address your fans by their first name where possible
- Recognise customer habits – past purchases, previous interactions, facts in their personal lives – things you can personally identify them by Here’s an example of how I’ve used this approach with my Facebook community by showcasing a fan’s personal feedback. As a result, you see how the trust begins to form instantly
5. Share your human side
So I know what you are thinking: we are human, so how can I showcase my human side?
When it comes to business and especially social media:
“Showcasing your human side on social media means being transparent with your fans” ~ Click to Tweet
That means it is ok to make mistakes. Your fans don’t expect you to be perfect as none of us are. However, if you choose to hide your mistakes, your customers on social media will be the first ones to let you know all about it.
Admitting you have made a mistake as a company or even with a customer won’t lose you business. In fact, this honesty will actually help to grow your relationship with your customers in the long run.
Here’s an example of how pastry giant Entenmann’s sent out an inappropriate tweet during the Casey Anthony trial and apologized soon afterward. While the apology may not fix the issue 100% of the time, it’s better that you recognize the issue than be faced with a huge backlash by ignoring it.
6. Make Feedback your friend
If you truly want to grow the relationship with your customers on social media:
You must acknowledge both positive & negative feedback on social media to help your business grow ~ Click to tweet
While we all like hearing those success stories about our business on social media, it’s actually the negative feedback that helps us improve our products and service. Now one quick thing to note here is that I am not referring to abusive or troll type comments. Those need to be handled on a case by case basis.
This refers instead to those comments from customers who are frustrated with what your business has to offer. This allows you to then identify the key pain points your customers have, and by listening to their feedback, you have a chance to turn their experience around.
Here’s how JetBlue used their customer’s negative feedback to turn their experience around by empathizing with the issue.
They then responded with:
“We always hate it when that happens. Send us a DM with your confirmation code to get you a credit for the non-working TV.”
A credit voucher was then sent to the customer who replied with:
7. Balance content types
Have you ever tried eating the same meal every single day for a month?
Chances are you will soon get bored of the flavours and taste.
The same concept applies to your content on social media. If you only post one type of content, your customers only have a single method of engaging with your business.
In order to appeal to a wider variety of customers, you want to ensure you mix up your content types to ensure you reach customers who have different preferences for how they like to consume their content.
Here are some ideas to help you out:
- Long form text updates – stories, advice, tips
- Live video – Q&A, behind the scenes
- Photo updates – company culture, engagement led
- Video updates – tips, interviews, events
- Short form updates – questions, quotes
8. Share timely content
We’ve seen a lot of examples over the years of brands who have gotten it oh so wrong on social media by trying to capatilise on a trend that has nothing to do with their business.
However, these types of posts can actually help to bring in new customers as well as engage your existing customers on a popular topic if timed correctly using the right context.
Here’s an example of how GBK used this approach on Facebook to capitalise on the popular topic of Donald Trump during the U.S. presidential elections. By using some clever word play with the hashtag #VoteRump they were able to boost their engagement. Good idea? – You decide:
9. Use competitions
Competitions offer a great way to build the relationship with your fans ~ Click to tweet
Competitions allow you to reward your fans for being a part of your community.
Not only does the prize incentive help to drive increased traffic back to your social channels, it’s also a great way to build leads for your business.
You can even use a contest to learn more about what your customers think of your product or service by asking them for feedback for a chance to win.
With so many different ideas for social contests, here are a few you can try out today:
- Why should you win (insert product or service)
- Enter your email address to win (sweepstakes)
- Fill in the blank to win: The reason I love (insert product or service) is _________
- Caption contest: Name this picture for your chance to win (insert product or service)
Alternatively, you can also host your social contest using apps on Facebook such as Shortstack. This offers you the chance to get a little more creative with the type of contests you can run.
10. Thank your customers
Let your fans know they matter.
“It’s not your product or even price that will beat your competition, but how you treat your customers” ~ Click to tweet
With increased competition for attention on social media, your fans are looking for a reason to re-visit your pages and content.
One way to show your fellow employees and customers that they matter is to simply say “THANK YOU.”
These two small words can go a long way in showing your community you appreciate them far beyond just a follower number.
On that note, I wanted to personally say THANK YOU for taking the time out today to read my post.
So here’s a little message just for you!
With these ten tips you now have the core skills to start building those better relationships on social media. Make sure you take the time to read through the tips and implement!
Simply tweet me @RaviShukle with your results!
Which tip will you try first?
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Ravi Shukle is a social media and relationship marketing expert with over 10 years experience working with brands such as Samsung UK, Amazon UK, Tmobile and many more.
Ravi is well known as a leading expert helping businesses online to build better relationships with their customers, co-workers and online communities through human-touch social media and online support.
Learn more about how Ravi can help you implement these tips at RaviShukle.com