In business social media, it’s crucial that you always have your attention on building your brand and on building your relationship with your customers. In the long run, that’s what’ll really make your company successful. Short term strategies can bring in small bursts of sales; but real companies are built on long lasting relationships.
How do you build those relationships? These 5 tips will help.
Tip #1: Be Real and Candid
If you made a mistake, say so. If you’re very excited about a new product you’re putting out, say so. If you don’t agree with a general trend in your industry, talk about it. Customers value candid communication. Instead of trying to appear corporate, try to appear genuine.
Tip #2: Put Out Fires Quickly
If your customers ever complain about something on social media, make sure you handle it immediately. Waiting too long can be the death of your company. Digg knows this all too well, when they waited days to respond to a customer revolt. They very quickly lost their position as the #1 social bookmarking site on the internet.
Tip #3: Get Feedback, Ask for Advice
Ask your customers what they want. Ask them what kind of products they want in the future. Ask them about how you can help them better. Instead of coming up with your content and your products in a black box, do it in conversation with your customers.
Note: the one question you should never ask is “how much would you pay for X?” Customers really don’t know how much they’d pay for something until they’re actually presented with an opportunity to buy it.
Tip #4: Engagement and Two-Way Communication
Instead of treating social media as a one-way street, treat it as a two-way dialogue. This is one of the biggest differences between social media and other marketing channels. Radio, TV and email marketing are one-way channels. Social media is designed to be a two-way channel.
Ask challenging questions, then respond to your customers’ answers. Send out surveys. Ask people to mail you their questions, then answer them in public. Run polls. Turn your social media from a one-way channel into a two-way channel.
Tip #5: Have Consistent Cross-Platform Branding
Your Twitter feed, your Facebook page, your website and all your other social media platforms should all have common branding. Have your Facebook cover designed to it integrates well with your website’s design. Have a custom Twitter background done. Make sure there’s a central theme across all your channels.
In the long run, having this consistent brand is what will let you establish a strong market position. It’s what people will remember about you. Products only last a short while in memories, while brands last a long time.