Ideas That Click - Be More Social with Customers and Prospects

When you invest time in engaging people through social media, relationships pay off

By Maureen Link,
January 2015

Social media is one of the greatest technological developments of this generation. It is proving to be as big of a game changer for mass communication as television was in the 1950s.

In a recent study, Nielsen found that more than 80 percent of Americans use a social network, and Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other website. As people of all ages, income levels, and occupations flock to social media platforms, small business owners can no longer afford not to create a social marketing strategy.

Social Relationships with Customers

When used efficiently, social media goes beyond simply communicating with customers and prospects to building relationships with them.

The basis of social media is interaction. Every Like, Tweet or re-Tweet, Friend, connection, endorsement, blog post, and comment is an interaction. Each interaction you have on a social platform is important because it gives you the opportunity to listen, to learn, and to engage. What’s equally important is to come to your social media activities from a place of authenticity.

Achieving Authenticity

If you are using LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter just to announce deals or promote products and services, that’s not authentic social interaction. It’s nothing more than advertising. Advertising doesn’t build relationships.

If you want to get people listening to you and paying attention to your brand, you have to post useful content and relevant comments. Think through how you can provide reliable, quality content appropriate for sharing in a social space. Also consider the possibility that there are people listening to your social media conversations but not necessarily participating.

How can you be authentic while still promoting your business? You could post about things that are relevant to the economic landscape of your community. Posting about current events can be thought-provoking and enable your audience to think about how to use your services or products in response to the event.

For example, if winter storms are on the way to your area and you own a plumbing business, you can post about the weather and provide tips for caring for pipes as the temperature drops. Or, if you are a physical therapist, create posts about stretches that can prevent injuries from shoveling snow, or home remedies for minor slip-and-fall injuries. These aren’t sales, but they’re relevant to your product or service and they give you credibility.

Don’t Fear the Content

People often get caught up thinking their social strategy has to center exclusively around original content. It’s OK to use other people’s content as long as you reference the original author and link to the site where it was published. If you find quality content and it’s something you feel is important to building your brand, share that content. Connecting your audience with another author continues to build your community.





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