How To Build Customer Relationships Using Social Media

Using social media to build customer relationships is a must. Think about it for a second - social media is where your customers basically live these days. Customers don't want to be waiting on hold forever waiting for answers. Who does nowadays? Instead, they want immediate answers and social media is the ideal avenue to make that happen.

There is huge opportunity with using social media to build customer relationships, including building brand loyalty and increasing your bottom line. According to J.D. Power and Associates, 87% of customers said that their online interactions with a company made a positive impact on that customer's likelihood of making a purchase from that company. That is enough reason alone to move much of your customer relationship management to social media.

Here are some tips you can incorporate right now to build stronger customer relationships using social media:

1. Respond Quickly. To be blunt, you are going to ruin relationships with your customers if you don't have a fast response time on social media. Customers expect near immediate answers and when they don't get them, they turn into an unhappy customer and will often complain across social media about their experience. According to The Social Habit, 32% of customers expect a response within 30 minutes and 42% of customers expect a response within the hour. Furthermore, 57% of customers expect your response time during nights and weekends to match your response time during normal business hours.

Having a fast response time not only leads to a happy customer, but it can also lead to additional revenue for your company. Twitter did a study and found that when an airline responded to a tweet in 6 minutes or less, the customer was willing to pay almost $20 more for that airline in the future. But when an airline took longer than an hour to respond, that customer was only willing to pay an additional $2.33 for that airline in the future. Really makes you want to put some pep in your step when it comes to responding to customers, huh?

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2. Make An Effort To Engage With Your Customers. Responding quickly is only half of the battle. You also need to actively engage with your customers across all of your social media profiles. Not all of your customers are going to come to you with questions, good or bad. So when you see customers responding to your posts, join in on the conversation. Did a customer post to one of your profiles to share their experience with your product or service? Take the time to thank them and provide feedback. Did a customer retweet one of your posts on Twitter? Thank them and follow them back if you haven't already done so.

Always use your customers first name when responding to personalize your response and show customers you care. It's the little things that count and engaging with your customers helps you build a strong community-like feeling with your customers and ultimately helps build brand loyalty, which leads to repeat business and additional revenue for your company.

3. Show Your Human Side. Customers don't want to feel like they are dealing with cold, heartless corporations. You'll get the most out of your social media experience if you show a personal touch to your customers and make your profiles fun and interactive. MediaSmiths provides 5 solid tips on how to show your human side on social media:

  • Use photos and names of staff and contributions to put a face to your brand.
  • Relate products to personal experience. Customers aren't going to respond very well to, for example, a standalone image of a product. Instead, share images showing the product in use and how that product is going to help people in their day-to-day life.
  • Use a personal tone. Show your personality and keep your tone relaxed and personal.
  • Use behind the scenes posts to encourage engagement on your social media profiles. You can, for example, share posts of an office party or other staff events to show the human side of your business.
  • Share content created by your followers. Coming up with fresh content all of the time can be difficult, but if your followers are posting an experience they had on your profiles or if you're running a contest where your followers are having to send stuff in, share it for everyone to see.

4. Hold Contests Or Competitions. Rewarding your customers from time-to-time is a very effective way of building a strong community. Contests and competitions can have different purposes, from using them to learn more about your customers and their interests by surveying them and attaching a grand prize to survey responses to bringing in fresh leads by hosting a contest where your customers have to share a post of yours to be eligible.

You could even start up a "customer of the month" promotion to show customers how much you appreciate them. PureMatter provides a great example of a competition Amazon ran, by giving away bikes as a response to a current event, in this case the Tour De France.

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5. Run Exclusive Promotions, Sales, Or Events. Show your customers who choose to follow you on social media you care by running exclusive promotions, sales, and/or events. Everyone likes a good deal and they like it even more if they feel it's exclusive. You could even run deals that are exclusive to a specific social media networks as a way to not only rewards your followers, but to grow that specific network. You can also involve customers in your effort to grow a network by saying everyone who shares a specific post will receive an exclusive coupon, for example.