Building relationships with social media

Epwin’s marketing director Sharn Samra looks at how brands can build rich relationships with customers in the social space. However, these social interactions need to be real and two-way conversations to actively engage with users online.

If you really want to use social media to build meaningful relationships, you must think about the authenticity of those relationships to determine the return on investment. Using social media to demonstrate to everyone what it’s like to deal with your brand and business is a great way to build relationships.

Below are five steps to help build and maintain those relationships.

Keep it real. Use social media to encourage and exchange genuine content and participate in conversations rather than just promoting products and services. Make sure the human side of your business is presented and expressed.

We all have brand and company values, tone of voice and personality, therefore we ought to be using these in a social media communication as well.   

Create a dialogue. It’s proven that brands that engage on social media have higher loyalty rates from their customers. Make sure you obtain feedback from customers that will help understand what they are really interested in and respond with relevant content in the correct format.

Build interactions, respond to conversations, and comment when relevant. Give people as many reasons as possible to connect with your brand.

Be responsible. Don’t use social media as an opportunity to add an extra layer between you and the customer or buy time to get the correct answer. Ensure the person looking after your social media has the knowledge, information and confidence to respond directly to customers online.

Use the opportunity social media provides to communicate with customers in real time. This will help build the trust and loyalty toward your brands.

Content and form. By understanding your audience demographics and engaging with them, you can develop content and build meaningful relationships. Ensure there is value in the messages you share and try to go beyond text and images.

By offering more dynamic-rich media content such as videos, e-books, podcasts, blogs, white papers or infographics, you will deliver a more engaging and richer user experience.

Deliver outstanding customer service. Segment your audience and try to identify your ‘brand ambassadors’, those who endorse your brand values and try to positively influence others, increasing brand awareness and ultimately, your sales pipeline. 

However, you need to deliver outstanding customer service to make these ambassadors happy and your brand worth talking about. I once heard someone talking about social media is ‘customer service on steroids’.

We all know social media has been around for some time and has turned into an important element in every communications plan. We all want to become the strongest brand within our sector online and build a robust ‘brand authority’. By building relationships with both existing and potential customers online we all hope that when they are ready to buy, they think of our brands first.