The social media is about being social, right? It’s a platform to build and nurture relationships. It’s not truly a place to sell your stuff, though that too can be done. But how do you increase sales by using the mammoth, continuously-growing social media? Obviously you can’t straightaway make people on these networks targets of your marketing and sales strategies. You have to engage with them, build and sustain real relationships, and become a brand that they will trust and come to like. You can use these social media sites to also conduct your business’s PR work.
Since customers will purchase from the people in whom they put their trust, whom they know and like, you have to become trustworthy and likeable on these networks. How do you accomplish this? In this post I’ll lay down some practical ways to build relationships on the social media.
Listen to what your audience is saying
Many of us have a habit of talking more than listening. If you want to build a real online relationship this is what you must primarily do – listen more than you talk. Always be willing to listen to your audience. Social media is a great place for your PR work; and it begins with proactive listening. If you listen to your audience you can make the correct changes before negativity and misinformation or misunderstanding undermines your social media endeavor. Listening also helps you to know exactly what your audience wants and so you can build up brand in the best way possible.
Do what your customers do
Become an integral part of your social media niche; don’t just use the networking platforms to broadcast your products and services. You have to be into it. If not, then you’ll get negative responses and bad publicity which will ruin your social media campaign forever. Go where your customers go, do what they are doing, become one of the gang.
Engage with fans
When it comes to the social media the word ‘engage’ is bandied about like no other. What exactly does it mean? The answer is, interacting with followers/fans with the aim of keeping them fascinated or what is called engagement on the social media platforms. It involves asking questions, giving comments on posts, staging competitions, sharing precious information and other related stuff. In short, it’s all about making conversations with the audience you target and sustaining it.
The social media is no more only a place to keep in touch with friends and relatives; it’s a place where you can push your business by providing value. Here are some ways in which you can do it:
- Give free gifts like an audio, free report, free advice, free consultation, etc.
- Provide answers to the queries put forward by people.
- Put people in touch with others in your network so that they mutually help each other.
You have to do some research before you decide what platforms to get onto. If you find that you’ll find likely buyers for your business products on LinkedIn, then concentrate on that networking platform. Don’t spend time and energy on Facebook and/or Twitter campaigns.
Like, follow, friend
This may seem pretty obvious but research has shown that there are indeed people, including business persons, who don’t accept friend requests, follow back or like other pages intentionally. Common sense tells you that if you want to make someone your friend, you need to become that person’s friend.
Quid pro quo
A loose translation of this Latin phrase is: “Favor for a favor.” Simply put, on the social you must give and take. Be a giver as well as a taker. If a person follows you, you follow him/her back; do the same with the likes and shares. Use your social media presence to publicize and augment your brand image.
Give lots of incentives
We all like receiving free gifts. So, if you give your followers and fans incentives by way of free gifts through games and competitions they will get closer to you. They will like you more and your brand’s image will go up.
Read other peoples’ bios
If you want to engage with people and strike up a lasting relationship with them you must know them thoroughly. For this you have to read their biographies which will give you all the information you need on them. Importantly, you will get to know their likes as well as their dislikes and armed with this information, you can converse with them far more advantageous ways.
Sharing is at the heart of the social media. You share someone else’s posts and that person shares yours. In that way you both help each other. Thus if you care for others in your niche on the social network, they will reciprocate by caring for your posts. The stuff that is generally shared is articles, videos, photographs etc. The content that you share must have some value, for only then will people start to look at you as a resourceful person from whom they can easily get valuable information.
More than one platform
Form an effective relationship on a variety of social media platforms and don’t just stick to one. You can integrate your social media efforts better if you have a presence on more than one social media network.
The changing social media
We’ll now take a look at the evolving nature of the social media and how you also have to change the way you use it for your business optimization.
If you want to make the social media work for you, you must have a website or a blog. This will form the centerpiece of your social networking platform. If you lack it, your business won’t make much headway on the social network.
Podcasting has returned as a valuable instrument in your social media effort, along with good email marketing. A personal, relationship-oriented strategy is necessary; forming a community on a social platform is the need of the hour, just being on the social media site won’t do. The elements of success on the social media are the human touch, a value-based network and people who love the info that you share. To have an aggressive connect with your audience you need both a website and an e-mail newsletter. In this way you’ll achieve both exposure and reach. Having just a Twitter account won’t do for this platform has its limitations. Using multiple platforms is essential for success. You also have to gain trust. But how do you obtain that? It’s simple: You must be helpful; don’t ask or expect anything in return; do something for others.
However odd it may sound, we also have to show our vulnerable points for vulnerability and intimacy are intricately woven with each other. When we show we are vulnerable, it means we are being intimate and followers will know by this action of ours that we care for them. By saying this I know I am going against the grain of sound business tactics which hold that businesspersons must hide and not expose their weak points. But on the social media platforms things work differently; it’s a nice blend of personalization and business out there.
To fulfill the desires of customers — to deliver what they want, that is, a product in which they have confidence, from a person whom they trust and which is based on the reference of another person or persons – the social media can be used to build a strong relationship with customers so that all of the above are delivered to them. Consumers as a rule avoid taking risks; they don’t like to waste their time or talk to people they don’t know. All this can be solved on the social media platforms by putting into action the tips and tricks that have been described in this article.
The social media will work for you if you work hard at it. I know of people who have built up a base of thousands of followers and because of this their business is booming. As you build your contacts your relationships will develop and the old ones will get strengthened. Having more fans and followers is a win-win situation and this is what you should aim for. The initial steps may seem hard; you may not achieve instant success, but as you pursue it with single-mindedness, you will eventually turn out a winner! The people on your social pages will then not just be your friends – you will even know the names of their kids, their relatives, their friends, their connections – all of it etched in your mind.