Most of today’s marketers look at social media and tend to see it as one big scoreboard. To come out as “reigning winner” of their field, they exercise various campaigns all in the name of obtaining followers and “likes.” At the end of the day, however, the fact is that when it comes to social media, vanity metrics such as follower counts aren’t important. It’s the meaning behind the counts that do. Social media is marketing about building relationships with consumers, and because of this it’s the authenticity of those relationships that will actually determine the ROI of those efforts.
Ultimately the power of the number of followers you obtain comes from the quality of the conversations you're having with your audience. To ensure you’re taking part in conversations that are meaningful and growing your online reach, consider these tips for developing deep relationships with your customers.
Be Honest and Real
Your social media efforts should focus on the promotion of participating in honest and real conversations. Just like the real life space of networking, you must ensure that you are taking part in the exchange of actual ideas when you get into social media networking. Remember, your target audience wants to feel as if you’re investing in their attention for more than obtaining the money that’s in their pockets. To do so, start soliciting feedback from your customers to obtain a sharper understanding of what they want and what matters to them.
Avoid Censoring Your Followers
People have a lot to say on social media. They use it as a platform for vocalizing their beliefs and opinions, and the truth is, you won’t always want to hear it. Often you will find followers feel particularly emboldened to share how they feel about you and your brand because they’re on a platform that’s not face-to-face. Instead of putting up a block or filter on the customers of yours whose opinions are controversial or whose comments on your brand might seem hurtful, use your platform as an opportunity to change their views. Always allow your audience to be honest, while also taking advantage of the fact that you have their attention. Take these interactions and use them to correct wrong opinions of your brand or products. Only use filtering when you find customers posting spam or comments that might be hurtful or threatening to you or your followers.
Never Pass The Buck
Customers use social media as a way of connecting with companies because they expect it to be easier than calling up customer support. If you’ve yet to obtain a social media customer service team, buckle down and ramp up your efforts in building one. This is particularly important because as you build your online presence, you will want to establish yourself as a brand that can efficiently solve problems. When a customer asks a company on Twitter about their product, they should never be directed to another point of contact for the answer. It creates an extra step for the customer and can often lead them to feel frustrated and dissuaded from returning. Never use your social media presence as a stopgap; instead, it should be utilized as an opportunity to engage with your customer right then and there. Equip your social media team with the tools and knowledge that will allow them to respond directly and accurately to any and all customer concerns.
Find Your Niche
Having a million followers on your page might seem promising, but it will mean nothing if only a small percentage of that group represents your target customer. Remember, it’s your core audience that is worth the most engagement on social media. Be sure to zero in on the group of consumers who like your page based off of recommendations from friends or because they were on your website. These are the people who truly want to connect with your brand and stay connected with you to obtain valuable information about your business. Once you’ve connected with them, be sure to keep the conversation going.
Get Brand Ambassadors
Starting out with social media marketing, you alone hold the responsibility of convincing others about your brand. However, the opposite is true. Sometimes the smartest way to build strong connections with your audience is to piggyback on the relationships that others have already built with them. A brand ambassador, or popular social media figure, can be a great way for you to connect with your target audience and develop strong ties and relationships. Consider getting into contact with an influencer who can promote your social media page by taking over it themselves or recommending it to their followers themselves.