Building Customer Relationships With Your Prospects On Social Media
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” — Sam Walton
Since the late nineties of the 20th century, marketers as well as business owners have been interested in customer-brand relationship.
More and more brands try to figure out why customers prefer to do business with and purchase items from one company or store rather than the other. What influences their choice?
To answer that question and better understand the behavior of customers, first, we need to reflect upon and consider our own preferences and choices. After all, each and every one of us is a customer from time to time. One that makes choices about where to buy and where not to buy particular products.
Think about it. Why do you choose to buy a new smartphone in that store and not the next one? What is your choice influenced by? The price, customer service, or maybe… something else?
Does Social Media Influence Customers’ Purchase Decisions?
Here’s what you may already know:
- 70% of millennials make purchase decisions following the recommendations of their peers.
- Before making a purchase, people decide to read online reviews. As much as 85% of customers trust an online review and treat it like a personal recommendation.
What you may not know, however, is that:
- Yes, people follow their friend’s advice as far as purchasing products is concerned, but, the question is, which brands do people actually recommend to their friends? Well, in fact, 38% of people recommend a brand they either “Like” or follow on a social media platform.
- And… yes, people search for online reviews before making a purchase decision and trust them. Where exactly do they search for those reviews, though? It occurs that on social media: 68% of customers go straight to a social media profile of a business to read product reviews.
- 78% of people admit that companies’ social media posts influence their purchase decisions.
- People prefer social media platforms for customer care over other channels:
- And… 70% of people are more likely to purchase a brand’s product or use a brand’s service if that brand provides a good experience on social media.
What’s the conclusion? The conclusion is that social media has a huge impact on customers’ purchase decisions. Thus, the better relationship you have with your customers on social media platforms, the more you will sell.
Now, here’s a vital question: what can you do to create close and positive relationships with your customers on social media platforms? Well, to figure that out, you need to scroll the page down a bit.
Customer-Brand Relationship: How To Strengthen It On Social Media
Let’s be honest, people are impatient and easily get bored. Also, unlike twenty years ago, they have high expectations of brands, such as:
- To be present and active on at least three social media channels,
- Provide support as well as entertainment via social,
- And to deliver helpful and engaging content.
Thus, to improve the relationship with your customers, you need to spend some time each and every day on creating and posting interesting content on social media channels.
Today I will give you six tips on what you should pay attention to, do and post on such social media channels as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to create a strong relationship with your customers. Ready?
1 Read and reply to comments.
How often do you read comments under your posts on social media? Always, sometimes, seldom…, never? Do you respond to them? If not, then that’s your first nail in the coffin.
Remember, you can’t build good relationships with your customers on social if you don’t care about what they say. Also, when you don’t read people’s comments, you miss vital information, such as what your customers like and don’t like about your products, whether they have any problems during checkout in your store or if they have questions. Now, since you ignore your customers, they will ignore you too and go to your competitors.You can’t build good relationships with your customers on social if you don’t care about what they say. Click To Tweet
So, make it a priority to check people’s comments and reply to them. Make sure your customers know you care about what they have to say and are there to offer help, support as well as advice. Take example from Tupperware:
Now, let me answer questions you may have at this moment:
- Should you reply to all comments you receive? No, you shouldn’t. Respond when it makes sense to respond.
- How quickly should you reply to comments? Research shows that people expect brands to respond to social media comments within 24 hours, so check your profiles on social every day.
- Should you respond both to positive and negative comments? Yes, you should. Responding to positive comments is a great way to engage your customers who are already enthusiastic about your brand (this way you build customer loyalty) while replying to negative comments shows others that you don’t try to evade criticism. Facing it reassures everyone who stumbles upon those comments that you do care and try to resolve negative situations.
2 Ask your customers for feedback.
Customer feedback is the information provided by your customers about the experience they have with your brand, whether they like your products or not and if they’d like anything to be changed.
Now, collecting customer feedback is important to the development of your business not only because it helps you to improve your products and services, but also, because it shows you value your customers’ opinions and care about giving them the best customer experience. That, in turn, has a huge influence on the relationship you have with your audience.
You can ask your customers for feedback on various social media channels and in a variety of ways. For example, Trivago likes using Twitter for this purpose and their feedback posts are fun and entertaining:
… while TUI fly Belgium prefers Facebook and likes gathering information on how to improve their services:
You can follow in their footsteps or create other interesting polls. Be creative!
3 Create social media contests (or competitions) and give rewards.
There are three main reasons why you should hold social media contests:
- They are fun, exciting and engaging,
- Earn attention of your audience,
- And they appeal to people’s desire to receive something for nothing.
All that together helps you bond with your customers, and so, strengthens your relationship. Right, but what types of contests can you run? Well, there are many possibilities! Here’s a contest Natura Siberica created on Instagram:
If you’re not sure whether to hold a contest or not, remember that contests give you more benefits than helping you to bond with your customers. They are also a perfect way to gather customer feedback and collect vital information about your audience. Moreover, thanks to contests, you can encourage user-generated content and so, let users advertise and support your brand for free (more about UGC later in the article).
4 First give, then take.
Have you ever had such a situation? You decide to Like and follow a brand on social media only to figure out later that that brand does only one thing, that is, tries (desperately) to sell their products? They post only one type of content: Facebook Ads. Thus, every single day you’re bombarded with sales slogans and encouraged to make more and more purchases.
Such posts are interesting the first day. The second, a little less. The third day, you’re already annoyed. The fourth, you start ignoring those posts, and by the end of the first week, you unlike and unfollow the brand.
Thus, if you don’t want to discourage your customers and destroy the relationship you have with them, show them that you’re interested not only in selling your products and services, but also, in entertaining your audience, providing them with help and support, and sharing what’s worth to share. Remember, your customers come to social media primarily to engage with others, and not to figure out what’s there to buy.
Or… share your awesome blog posts and other people’s valuable content:
Remember, be helpful to your audience and they will feel obliged to return the favor. Really? Yes. Really.
5 Apologize and express gratitude.
There is no better way to create a positive atmosphere on social media and improve the relationship with your customers than to apologize for problems and say “Thank you” for feedback, support and Likes. It also helps to humanize your brand.
Why is that important? Well, because your customers want to know that they are not dealing with a corporation, but with a person who has feelings and emotions. So, be a friend to them! And, what do friends do? They thank you for the good things you did for them and apologize for the bad.Be a friend to your customers — thank them for the good things they did for you and apologize for the bad. Click To Tweet
You can do so via a number of social media channels. Check how other brands apologize and express gratitude on Facebook:
… or on Instagram:
… and learn from them.
6 Encourage and share user-generated content (UGC).
User-generated content can be defined as any type of content (e.g. blog posts, tweets, videos or photos) created and posted on social media channels by users. Thus, users promote a brand, and not the brand itself.
Now, since your customers share their own experiences with your brand, you can build a community of followers and thus, deepen customer-brand relationship. Also, UGC is a great way to build trust between you and your customers. How come?
Well, let’s look at it in practice. Consider: when a brand tells you that their product is the best on the market, do you trust them? Not really, right? What if you saw that other people (especially your friends) use that product and share their experiences on social? Well, that’s different, right?
… and using user-generated content:
… can have a huge positive influence on the relationship you have with your customers. So, give it a try!
Is It The Right Time To Be Social On Social Media?
Yes, it is! It’s about time! Remember, nobody Likes, follows and purchases products from brands that are either non-existent on social media channels or aren’t active. Thus, make time for social media, publish interesting content, keep your audience engaged and you’ll deepen the relationship with your customers.
Time to act!
My author bio:
Emily Johnson is a content strategist at OmniPapers. She writes insightful articles about digital marketing, social media, remote work and productivity. Her blogs about content marketing and blogging help writers improve their skills. Feel free to follow Emily on Twitter.