Building Relationships in Social Media

social-media-billboardMost social strategies are mapped out with specific business objectives in mind such as brand awareness, customer care or sales. But regardless of specific business goals, there’s a central component to any successful social program: building relationships.

Relationships are the motivation and driving force behind social media.

Connecting with others and finding value in these relationships is why we as consumers use social networks in our daily lives. The companies who find valuable ways to build relationships win share of voice, loyalty and ultimately, new business. The catch is that these relationships aren’t built overnight. They must be nurtured over time by consistently creating great social experiences for your customers.

Social isn’t about “quick wins”, but rather approaching each social interaction as one step in an ongoing journey to building lasting relationships. Striving to make each social moment great is what creates likeable brands.

While the road to building lasting relationships is long, here are three crucial elements all social brands can implement to change their relationship status with consumers.

1. Be a trusted connection by listening first, and never stop.Social-Media-Listening-Image-two

We don’t stay friends with people who only talk about themselves and we don’t want to engage with brands on social that do the same. As valuable as it is to get the word out about your brand, listening is essential to building relationships with customers. It provides brands with insight into their audience, their likes and dislikes, and what they can expect from you on social channels. In addition, listening for any negative customer feedback allows brands to always keep improving and ultimately give their customers what they want.

2. Fuel conversation by responding and engaging.

In today’s connected world, when customers take the time to engage in conversation with your brand, they often expect your company to take the time to respond back. As a result, brands can no longer get away with being unresponsive on social channels. Responding to, and engaging with, your social customers signals that your brand is invested in each individual relationship. Acknowledging negative feedback provides an opportunity to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one. Engaging with customers to answer a question or send appreciation can instantly turn a good experience into a great one.

storytelling3. Become a storyteller by sharing and inspiring stories.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways we as people communicate. A great story captivates and engages emotionally, leaving people inspired to share. Social brands can now tell their story – and stories of their customers – easier than ever before. Sharing a customer anecdote can ignite community-wide excitement, and revealing the faces and voices behind your company can connect customers with employees on a personal level.

Every brand has a story to tell – be it customers who have overcome obstacles, humble beginnings or a glimpse inside the lives of leadership. Tapping into emotions and giving people a reason to share your story is one of the most effective ways to build word of mouth and deepen customers relationship with your brand. Unlike with traditional media, social offers the ability to tell new stories instantly and with little cost.

Creating great social experiences that build lasting relationships is no small task.

It requires dedication and we are only scratching the surface of what it takes to make these meaningful connections. Take the time to nurture your social media relationships and they will pay off.

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