In the age of social media and instant communication, building and nurturing customer relationships is easier than ever, but it’s also one of the most neglected areas of marketing initiatives, especially in the B2B tech space. Letting your social efforts fall through the cracks does a severe disservice to your business. Sprout Social found that:
- 91% of people believe in social’s power to connect communities.
- 78% of consumers want brands to help people connect through social.
- 76% of respondents were more likely to buy from a brand they felt connected to on social media than a competitor.
With social media best practices constantly changing and platform updates happening every time you blink, tackling social projects might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. You build relationships on social platforms the same way you build relationships in real life, with three things: interaction, authenticity and consistency.
Because no relationship can be one-sided
Engaging with your customers and audience via social media is one of the easiest ways to grow these relationships. Because it’s so easy to craft a Tweet to share an experience with your company or ask a question of your brand, it’s expected that you make the same effort to craft a response. This can grow not only your visibility but also improves your brand trust and builds relationships with the people you interact with.
Companies like Starbucks and Wendy’s are well-known examples of engaging with audiences on social—humorously responding to posts and sharing their customers’ content. But you don’t have to be witty, snappy, or constantly reshare pictures of people drinking coffee or eating burgers to have create great engagement.
Simply responding to a post or review with a “thank you” or “glad to hear it” and addressing any poor reviews can go a long way, both for the original poster and the others who see the exchanges. Seeing consistent interaction on positive and negative comments can create trust and build affinity with your customers.
Just like any other relationship, social media relationships require interaction and communication on both sides, so make sure you’re doing your part.
Shake off the corporate-speak… and have fun!
Gone are the days of stiff, formal promotions and ads. Nowadays, especially on social media, people want to see other real people using or benefitting from your product or service and the real people behind the product or service as well. A recent study found that 90% of people believe authenticity to be important when supporting or purchasing brands, and that number has only grown in recent years.
Social is a place where you can be less formal and more creative, so don’t be afraid to show the more “human” side of your company. The success that Starbucks and Wendy’s have had in their social channels is in large part due to the personal and often humorous voices they use when posting. Finding an authentic and personable voice for your social channels is a great way to show transparency and authenticity to your consumers.
Authentic content might look like office culture pictures or testimonial quotes from satisfied customers, as well as just having a unique, not-robotic voice in your posts. Really, any kind of content that provides a kind of “inside look” at your culture, employees, or company values shows that human side of your brand that people want to see.
But because social media communication is vastly different than any other kind of communication, finding and refining your brand’s voice might take some time. Experiment with different voice or content styles to learn what works best for your company. At the end of the day, you’re really just trying to humanize your brand, which can go a long way in a tech/software-focused market.
Establish a cadence and stick to it
Interactions are great, and authentic interactions are even better, but if those only happen once every few weeks or months it is impossible to build relationships. Making social a priority and posting consistently gives people an opportunity to interact with you and you the opportunity to interact with them. Consistency is something B2B companies often struggle with, but simply creating a cadence and adhering to it can massively impact the success of your social programs.
Our resident social media Guru Talissa Beall recently outlined one of our client’s successes in social media after we helped them establish a consistent posting cadence. These are just a few of the stats that came out of that:
- Social impressions increased by 179% on Twitter and by 15.3% on LinkedIn
- Engagement rates for both Twitter and LinkedIn increased by more than 100% after the program was implemented
The program included a mix of both organic content and thought leadership, so don’t be afraid to mix it up! Take some time to create a content calendar for your social channels so you aren’t scrambling every week and you can be strategic in your posts.
Consistency is vital in keeping a healthy and authentic social strategy, as it helps promote brand authority in your business’ space, as well as allows your customers to rely on your content and your voice.
It doesn’t have to be complicated
Including social media in your marketing and customer service strategy should make building and nurturing customer relationships easier, not more difficult. Utilizing it is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to have instant interactions with your customers. Thinking of it like a personal relationship can help it feel not so intimidating.