Social Media Marketing Requires Trust Building
Social media marketing isn’t that different from real life relationships; both take time, and both require you to build trust. Responding to customers the right way is the key to building that trust. Here are the proper approaches to interacting with customers on social media:
Empathy: When necessary, anyways. When customers complain on Facebook or Twitter, resist the temptation to lash back and respond with empathy, professionalism and intelligence. The worst thing you can do is respond with the attitude that your customers are yet another problem to be solved. “We’re sorry,” “we understand the frustration” and “we apologize for your experience” all comprise the appropriate language here.
Education: But do it through experiences, rather than words. That means letting customers experience your company values by providing live communities, and then supporting those communities on your website (rather than on third party discussion boards, which are often more popular than the forums on the actual brand website. Try to make your customer community the exception to that rule).
Keep the Conversation Going: All the time, by producing and sharing content. You may need to turn your attention to building the community on your website, but don’t stop blogging, tweeting or responding to customers in those channels either. It’s another way that maintaining your customer relationships online is like building and maintaining your “real life” relationships: The lines of communication must stay open. Just keep talking!
Be accommodating: You could say “no” to everything (and many companies do), but why do that when you could say “yes” and earn the lifelong loyalty of another customer? Recently, Tyrel Hartman asked social discovery app StumbleUpon if he could use the forum to propose to his girlfriend by rigging his girlfriend’s account so that she’d stumble on a wedding proposal disguised as a blog post. Could they have said no? Of course, but instead, they were inspired by Hartman’s enthusiasm said yes. Besides customer loyalty, the other payoff was positive media exposure from the event.
Just like a real relationship is a two-way street, social media marketing – the key to building and maintaining SEO rankings – is too. Build trust with your customers online and see what deeper, more meaningful relationships that results in.