Marketers have started adjusting their expectations from organic social media marketing. It’s no longer about generating sales or even getting referral traffic.
It’s become a channel for increasing your brand exposure, providing customer support, and building relationships with your audience. It calls for abandoning the mindset of going after vanity metrics including “likes” and “followers”, and instead, trying to create a niche community of “true” fans that are passionate about your brand.
Undoubtedly striking emotional chords with your audience and motivating them to participate on social media is challenging. However, if you put in the time, the rewards are exemplary.
A Social Media Examiner report found that over 70% of marketers that have used social media for over 12 months say that it has helped their sales.
With that said, here are three simple strategies to help you build relationships with your audience using social media.
1. Create a buyer’s persona
Have you documented the characteristics of your ideal customer detailing the social media platforms where they like to hang out?
For instance, direct to consumer brands like Barkbox, define their audience as “crazy dog people” that want lighthearted and humorous content. The company has gone to the extent of hiring dog-obsessed comedians for creating engaging content. It seems to work as they produce viral content like the Dog Mom Rap.
Look, most brands do not try to understand their customers, though it’s the first step when starting a brand. They wing their strategies. Hence, their marketing efforts are generic and fail to connect with their audience.
You can do better by creating a buyer persona. It should also include the kind of language your audience likes and the social media platforms where they hang out. Note that if you’ve been actively marketing on social media, here are guides to build your persona using Facebook Insights and Pinterest Analytics.
If you understand the pain points of your audience, then you can communicate with empathy. And once you let go of the metric mindset, you can start connecting with your audience as a human being. Ultimately, it can lead to a creation of more relatable social media updates that are way above brands using scheduling tools to post links to their site.
2. Mix up different kinds of updates
How do your usual conversations with a close family member go? I’m sure they touch on different aspects of life, and you can’t put them under a single framework.
Similarly, on social media, your relationship with your fans can’t be one dimensional. You can use the inherent functionalities on social media platforms (types of posts) to share different aspects of your life.
For instance, Ryan Holiday, an author, occasionally shares pictures from his farm on Instagram stories.
He also shows around the animals he owns.
And puts out questions to interact with his Instagram audience.
Blogger, Harsh Agrawal, occasionally conducts polls of his audience on Facebook to understand their preferences.
Foundr magazine shares inspirational quotes as high-quality graphics on Instagram.
B2B content marketer, Aaron Orendorff, shares his industry insights to start conversations on Twitter.
Can you see how none of the above updates contained a link to a sales pages of their business? It’s because social media is not about trying to squeeze revenue from your audience with every update. It is about engaging your audience and deepening your understanding of their interests.
It might mean sharing updates about your business transparently. You can also take your audience behind the scenes of building your products. Remember that people buy from people because of their emotional needs. You can use social media to show your brand personality and engage your audience with visual storytelling.
3. Resolve customer concerns quickly
Content marketer, Shreya Dalela, built a huge community of passionate fashion enthusiasts through Instagram for a social commerce app, Marsplay. She found that direct messages on Instagram drew a LOT of customer support questions from their newly registered users. So they had to put up a team of two customer service representatives to answer the customer queries.
Indeed, Sproutsocial found that 88% of marketers say that customer service on social media is vital for their brands.
Angry customers quickly turn to social media platforms for venting their frustrations. If you’re not considering social media as a part of your customer experience, then you will miss out on connecting one-to-one with your audience.
On the other hand, if you quickly and efficiently resolve the concerns of your customers, then it will help you retain your customers. It also breeds brand loyalty and in the long-run, investing in customer experience has tremendous financial benefits.
If you want customer service lessons, then turn to the award-winning Twitter account of JetBlue Airways. They quickly try to resolve customer inconveniences and surprise their customers with birthday greetings.
If you serve your customers well and exceed their expectations, then besides spending more on your products themselves, you might also earn some good old word of mouth marketing.
Twitter and Facebook might be the primary platforms of communication. However, consumers use as many as seven social media channels to contact brands. Hence, stay vigilant and watch out for your mentions on all social media platforms. You can use a little social media automation to stay on top.
Social media is a powerful tool for businesses. In this article, you saw three ways to strengthen your bonding with your audience. It’s all about fulfilling your audience expectations and treating them well.
Do you have other relationship building tips for businesses through social media? Share them with me in the comments below.
Author’s Bio: Chintan is an ROI focused content marketing consultant and currently leads the content at The Ecommerce Academy. Join him at Elite Content Marketer to learn how to grow your business through content.