Participating in social media is not about earning followers; it’s about building relationships.
Posting content to social media is a great way to earn followers. But a follower doesn’t necessarily equal a customer. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that participating in social media is not only about earning a large following; it’s about building relationships with those people.
An article published in Entrepreneur says it best, “Content equals marketing; conversation equals a relationship.” Using social media to converse with people and form relationships is what will ultimately drive sales.
Research from Social Sprout shows that social media messages to brands from customers rose 110% between 2014 and 2015. And that number keeps going up.
So, don’t just hand out your content like a business card and walk away. Customers increasingly expect businesses to converse with them through social networking, so it is critical that your business is online and ready to respond.
Here are five tips to build relationships on social media:
1) Be the person representing a brand.
Represent your company, but be a real person to whom your customers can relate. Do not appear as a brand who is a person; show up as a person who has a brand.
2) Be a real person.
Be personable and real. Open yourself up to conversations that show a bit of the real you. Nothing builds a relationship better than making a genuine connection. In other words, be a real person, not a personality.
3) Show who you are.
In addition to sharing information and knowledge related to your business, don’t be afraid to sprinkle in a bit of what matters to you in your posts. Photos of bring-your-child-to-work day, pets who regularly visit the office, or even your extra-large coffee during a particularly busy week tell a story that your followers can relate to. These kinds of things are excellent starting points for conversation!
4) Show that you care.
To build a relationship of trust, people need to feel that you care about what is important to them. Go beyond just liking, retweeting, or leaving an encouraging message on your followers’ posts. Actually put yourself out there and respond, invite dialog, and demonstrate that they are someone you value.
5) Be a regular.
Show up on a regular basis to interact with your audience and answer questions. And make sure to respond quickly when someone reaches out to you. Don’t underestimate the power of being there when a customer needs you. Remember 7 in 8 messages go unanswered for 72 hours, so if you can be the brand that is always there, you’re head-and-shoulders above the crowd.