Building Relationships with Your Customers on Social Media Sites
With memberships of somewhere around 1 billion people social media offers a cheap and alluring means for promoting your business. The accessibility of sites like Facebook and LinkedIn means that even small businesses can use them to place themselves in the marketplace with their largest competitors. But getting a return on the time that you put into social media marketing requires more effort than simply posting your daily deals in your status update. Successful marketing on social media revolves around building relationships by engaging people in conversation.
To begin your marketing strategy for social media it is important to become known and the best way to do this is to join the already existing conversations. Choose threads where you can show off your specialist knowledge or skills and offer expert opinions that are genuinely helpful to people without necessarily being a pitch for your own business. As your relationships develop in this way it then becomes easier to suggest a product or service that you offer as a solution to questions people post on the site. Your previous efforts will then be an important factor in giving your product more credence and your new customers will already feel as if they have a connection to you and your business. While this feature of social media marketing is its strength, unless it is backed up by a point of contact online it won’t drive sales in itself.
The foundation of a corporate web presence will usually be the company website and the point of social media marketing is to direct traffic to that site where the visitors can be converted to customers. In order to do this the website has to offer quality content that will engage the readers and encourage them to take more interest in your business and its products. Finding the right content for a company blog begins by paying attention to the conversation in your niche on social media sites. Find the topics that you are well informed on and post useful or insightful information on your blog and then link to it on social media sites to begin a conversation of your own. Offering your social media followers and
friends special offers can be a practical way to turn them from Facebook friends into blog subscribers and eventually customers. The real beauty of using a blog to market your business is that it doesn’t only offer people valuable information but it also offers them the chance to contribute their own opinions. When people feel that they have had even a small part in the development of your business they are more likely to trust it and to recommend it to their friends.
In many ways this kind of online marketing favors smaller businesses which have more of a focus on personal service. It can be an effective way of reaching local customers and creating a connection with them before they ever set foot in your business. Because the cash expenditure is so low and results are produced by putting in the time to make it work it can be an integral part of establishing a new business by developing a social media following to create online buzz about you, and even starting with a base of just friends and family has the potential to reach a huge amount of people through their friends and friends of those friends. That is the sort of grassroots marketing that huge corporations dream about being able to generate. Social media is one of the few places where smaller businesses have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with the largest companies and may even have an advantage because they can build more genuine relationships.