The Secret To Engaging Customers And Building Relationships Through Social Media

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There’s no doubt. Social Media is a great micro business tool.

It provides your businesses (regardless of its size or budget), with the ability to market cost effectively to potential customers.

What’s more, there’s lots of choice. So take your pick from the various online channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, blogs and the new kid on the block…. Pinterest.

We’re often told that social media can generate big sales. And although that’s possible, it doesn’t happen by accident.

By engaging followers and building solid, trusting relationships, your business has the best chance of success with social media.

To help you achieve this goal, here are five top tips.

1. Give your business a personality

It’s best to decide on the ‘voice’ you would like your business to have before setting up on social media.

The trick is to find a balance for your brand. As a micro business you still need to decide where on the scale between formal & casual to be.

The think about what you’ll say – and what’s appropriate.

Do your customers want to know what you’re having for lunch? If you run a local newspaper column for reviews then it’s more than likely. But if you run a large cleaning firm the answer is probably not.

Finding the tone of your businesses voice and giving it a personality is key.

After all, at the end of the day it is YOU that your potential customers are connecting with.

So don’t just offer sell sell sell messages or your followers will soon be reaching for the un-follow button. Instead offer your expertise and share opinions in your industry to genuinely add value and help others.

2. Trust

The one thing that links people together through social media is trust.

In order to be added as a friend, followed, or for someone to take the time to read your blogs, they have to trust you or value you opinion.

Just like any relationship, true friendships are built on adding value and trust. Online you build this by engaging with people through conversation. In many ways, online relationship values are no different than those you have off line.

Trust is so important it can make or break your brand / company. You simply must acknowledge the importance of it and never let it fall to the back of your mind.

By gaining trust your customers will start to talk about your business/product in the Social Media world.

  • They’ll share it with their friends on Facebook,
  • They’ll RT to their contacts on twitter,
  • They may comment on or mention your product in a blog.

Recommendations in social media can lead to a huge amount of potential exposure for micro businesses that otherwise may not be affordable.

3. Know your audience

Knowing what your audience wants to hear about is key.

If your expertise is healthy eating… then tweet, blog and Facebook about it.

Here are some ideas:

  • Let everybody know what you and your business is about,
  • Be the first to tell them about the latest trends,
  • Expose myths that should be busted,
  • Clarify the truth behind label reading etc.

Whatever you talk about, it’s really important to meet and exceed your audience’s expectations.

This way you’ll gain reader’s loyalty and create a following. Then you benefit because the next time a follower thinks about buying a product or service you offer, your business will be at the forefront of their mind.

4. Networking

Whichever platform you’re on, always remember you are actively networking. So even though you may be behind your laptop in your pyjamas (rather than wearing your best business suit at a business breakfast meeting), stay focused on your goals.

And as well as promoting yourself, look for other ways to improve your businesses awareness. For example:

  • Take interest in what others are promoting and discuss ways to help each other.
  • If you require a service for your business ask people within your network. The likelihood is you’ll build a relationship with people who’ve been recommended.
  • Use the people in your network as you would also like to be used. If you help others, when someone needs your products or services, you could come to mind.

5. Time

Whatever social media channel you’re using, the one thing you will need to invest is plenty of time.

And this does not mean a token hour at the end of the day!

Just like any other marketing tool, relationship building does not happen overnight. It takes time to build that trust and conversation and most people who buy through social media, do so only after they’ve built a connection with the seller.

Divide your time throughout the day. People use social media sites 24-7 so by logging on at different times you will network with different people.

Social media has transformed the way we do business and it’s opened up new possibilities for micro business owners. But to really see results, you need to engage customers.
micro business action

Today’s Micro Action

Identify five new content ideas that you could use on social media to build trust and engage customers.

What’s your secret strategy? Why not tell us in the comments below.