17. Using Social Media for Establishing Relationship
One of the greatest values of social networks is their possibility to establish relationships between people and create an active community of followers. You, as a representative of a company, should use social networks to interact with both customer and other business. This way you establish a long lasting relationship that can result in a good collaboration, out of which your company can benefit.
You should have in mind that some social networks are more helpful with establishing relationship with the customers, while other social networks provide more opportunities for establishing a relationship with other business. This is especially helpful if you target groups which include small companies and businesses.
Relationship with customers (B2C)
If you have a business in a phase of searching for more customers, social networks can help you in reaching those customers. The purpose of having social media accounts will be to connect with customers by sharing content, interaction, organizing chat sessions, giveaways, etc.
Establishing a loyal relationship is not as easy as it might seem. You cannot simply create an account and expect people to start interacting. You have to provide value and to be interesting in order to be even noticed, let alone to encourage people to respond. Creating a respectful authority that can be trusted is the goal of your strategy, and this is the only way to establish a relationship that will produce good results, regardless if those are clicks, conversions, likes, etc.
As a result, good relationship with the social followers ensures that you will get a loyal fan base, who are very likely to become or stay your customers in the future. On the long run, this relationship can be very profitable for your business. You should first choose the social network that is most suitable for the type of relationship you want to establish, and in this case it is business to customer type of a relationship.
Relationship with other businesses (B2B)
In case your company provides a product or service to other small or large companies, you are interested in establishing B2B (business to business) relationship. The goal of your strategy will be to find other business that might be interested in the product or service you provide, and to find a way to connect with them.
A social network, such as LinkedIn, is particularly suitable for this kind of interaction, as the target group of this network is business professionals. However, other social networks can help you find business through different groups. A great benefit of finding other businesses through social networks is that you will be able to interact with them on social networks and thus gain trust, prior to contacting them and proposing a business offer. Having a prior relationship can improve the chances of your collaboration in the future.
When it comes to business to business relationship, you will need a different approach than in case you were trying to reach individuals. You should start by learning about the particular business in order to define the approach you will use to address the business. You should also offer some kind of helpful material, such as tutorials, e-books or guides about a topic related to the business in order to encourage the representatives of that certain business or company to interact with you. Besides providing materials, you could also organize webinars and interviews, or you can participate in such event organized by others, as this is a good way to meet and interact with other businesses. Obviously, this can lead to establishing a long-lasting relationship which could be very beneficial for your company.
Social media used for customer service
Since we are on the topic of relationship that can be established through social media, we must stress out the importance of social networks being used as a channel for providing customer support. Traditionally, each company has a department to which customers can address if they have any questions or issues with the products. The importance of such department is immense to the public image of the company, as the satisfied customers are more likely to share their positive experience in working with a specific company. This kind of recommendation is very important for those companies that strive to build a respectful and trustworthy brand.
Development of social networks affected the importance of businesses being publicly recommended even more. Since the information about anything can easily be shared on social networks, in which case the information can become widely available to the large number of people, avoiding negative reviews and experience has become even more important for companies nowadays.
Furthermore, social networks enabled quick and simple ways to interact with customers and provide assistance they require. This can greatly speed up the process of answering to any issues a customer could have. Time and place are irrelevant now, as companies are now able to provide non-stop online support via social media to all of the users, regardless where they live.
Having in mind the fact that social networks are such powerful and efficient platform for providing customer service, it is highly recommended for companies to offer that kind of service, as nowadays people are most likely to use social networks to reach brands. Instead of sending an email or phoning, people use social networks to send inquiries via messages, as this seems quicker and easier way to solve a problem or an issue a user might have with a particular product. Some companies choose to create separate social media profiles devoted solely to customer service, while other companies integrate this department as a part of posting activity within social media marketing.
Build your own community
Building your own community is not an easy task, but since it is something that you can get great benefits from, you need to focus on creating your own community, your base of followers who are most likely to become your loyal customers.
Start by creating social media accounts, optimize them and then start following people. Interact with the users in order to get followed and to create your own voice. Here are some other ideas to help you build your online community.
Listen what you followers have to say, as this can be priceless information in terms of improving your online reputation and the results of your business activity. Social media is a perfect tool to get to know your followers, your potential and current customers, where you can listen what they have to say about your product and your company, which can help you with improvements.
Followers also appreciate the brands that listen and respond, which is why this activity can additionally improve your relationship with the customers and increase the level of loyalty.
Valuable content is the most common reason for online users to interact, regardless if they choose to share, like or comment. Sharing quality content is the best solution for providing value to the followers and building respect and reputation on social media.
Focus on your community
Rather than trying to reach out to everyone, focus your efforts on your own community, on your own followers. Specialize in communicating with your target group, as this kind of strategy is the most productive approach to building your community.
Influence is an important aspect of building your community, because you want to be able to reach the followers through your social media account, and the influence will allow you to be separated from all the other marketers and promoters who are constantly overwhelming social media users with promotional messages. If you are able to create good reputation for you social media account, your influence will help you reach more people and successfully communicate your message to the online community.