When a lot of companies compete against each other to get the attention of their target audience, the power is in the hand of the customers. Customers decide where to go and thus, companies have to make an extra effort to please them. Sometimes, even the smallest thing can make a huge difference. So yes, customer experience has become a top priorities of companies. The question is how to build customer relationships using social media as people mostly browse online nowadays.
Customers based their perception of a brand on many factors, but mostly on the interactions and overall experience they have with it, at any stage of the sales funnel. However, social media has emerged as a crucial touchpoint in building customer relationships. As a matter of fact, churn increases by up to 15% for businesses that fail to respond to messages on social media.
8 Ways to Build Customer Relationships Using Social Media
In short, when used correctly, social media are crucial to creating customer relationships, building lasting connections and increasing brand awareness. You get it, social media isn’t just for complaints, cute selfies and quirky stories. 76% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand they felt connected to on social media than a competitor. Thus, if you want to build customer relationships, you need to use social media. Here’s how:
1. Open your DMs to offer customer support
The best way to build customer relationships using social media is first and foremost to offer customer support through your channels. Make sure your followers and customers know that your DMs are open for any questions and that you are always responding.
If your customers regularly need instructions, troubleshooting, or any form of assistance, there’s a good chance they’ve already tried reaching out to you on social media. This is becoming a common practice. Furthermore, 52% of consumers who have reached out to companies on social media say they expect a response within 30 minutes.
While some social media apps will send a notification each time you get a message, other may not. Thus, it is up to you to check every day whether someone has been in touch. For example, Instagram places people who you are not following or have never interacted with before into another inbox. You need to check it to see if you’ve received a message and respond to it or else your customer might think you are ignoring them.
2. Respond quickly
32% of customers expect a response within 30 minutes online. Furthermore, 57% of customers expect your response time during nights and weekends to match your response time during normal business hours. While some social media will not feature your average response time, some others like Facebook or Yelp will. This can have a huge influencer on how your customers will perceive you.
Seeing that you take some time to answer will make them think you are difficult to get a hold of. Furthermore, taking time to answer might just make customers think that you are ignoring them, which will upset them. Fail to address their concerns fast enough, and you could see your customers’ anger spread across social media. An upset customer may leave your brand and never return.
Quick responses provide not only the speed and convenience that people crave, but also build your brand as one customers can trust and rely on when there’s an issue. These are benefits that customers are willing to pay for.
3. Personalize conversations by showing your human side
To build customer relationships using social media, you need to ensure people know they can get in touch with you on your platforms. You must also reply quickly. However, even though bots can be very useful, they can quickly be frustrating for customers, who may not feel like they are getting the answer they need. That’s why you need to show the human side of your customer service.
To do so, it is important that whomever is answering a customer complaint or question, whether via DM, comment or tweet, signs with their name. They must try to connect with each person, showing empathy and using the customer’s name. You want to build a community for your customers, a place they feel connected, safe and informed.
It is also good to adopt a friendly tone of voice when answering questions on social media, use emojis, and just make sure that the customer is happy with the help it is getting. As for your social media strategy, using behind the scenes and photos of your employees can really show that there are people behind the screens to connect with.
4. Respond to reviews and accept feedbacks
Online reviews are becoming more and more important for businesses. As customers are facing a lot of options, it can be difficult to make a decision. Thus, they will have a look at online reviews a business is getting to see what others think of the company. Multiple 5-star Google reviews can do wonders for your brand and income.
Answering reviews is great to let a customer know that you acknowledge their opinion. Of course, it is easy to say “thank you” to a positive review. Answering negative reviews is a bit trickier but it is still crucial. It shows that you take responsibility for whatever happened and are really trying to make it right.
Reviews are also great for feedback and to help you improve your company as a whole. Furthermore, the quality and quantity of online reviews can increase your local SEO rankings and thus drive more traffic to your site to increase revenue.
5. Make extra efforts to engage with customers
Building customer relationships using social media is not only limited to answering DMs and providing customer service. Brands need to go beyond that and really engage with their followers. If people reply to an Instagram story, answer. When people comment on your Instagram post, comment back.
If you are getting just a few comments on your post, it is a good idea to go check the account of the people interacting with you. Then you can personalize your answer to each person and comment something directly relating to them. That will show that you care and really help to build strong relationships.
Similarly, if someone is dropping offensive comments, you may want to step up. Take into account your brand values. If some comments go against them, reply accordingly. Moreover, if someone features your products on their socials or mention your brand, take the time to drop a comment. Again, small things can make a huge difference.
6. Hold giveaways and contests
You need to reward your customers for their loyalty. Contests and competitions can have different purposes. You can use them to survey people and learn more about your audience. Competitions are also great to grow social media following or get more email sign ups.
You can organize competitions on different social media platforms using different ways to enter. For example, on Instagram people have to follow your account and tag a few friends to enter. On Facebook, they can like your page, share the giveaway post and tag a friend. On Twitter, they can follow you and RT so that their followers see the giveaway.
Not only are social media competitions great to get your audience engaged, but they will also help increase your following and thus broaden your audience. They are also great to increase engagement rate and show your next brand post to more people.
7. Have social media exclusive sales and offers
To build customer relationships using social media, you need to show your followers that you care and to reward them from being loyal. Giveaways are great. However, holding too many giveaways is taking the risk that people will only follow you for your giveaways and not actually engage with your content nor be interested in your brand.
That’s why you can reward your followers in other ways. For example, you can have social media exclusive sales and offers. Everyone likes a good deal and they like it even more if they feel it is 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.
Social media exclusive sales and offers can also be a great way to find out which of your platforms has the highest conversion rate. In advertising a different discount code for each platform, you will see which is most profitable. Then, you may adjust your social media and ads strategy to focus on the channels that you know have a higher return on investment.
8. Make the most of user-generated content
Last but not least, a great way to strengthen customer relationships on social media is to show that not only do you respect your customers but that you also value your opinion. The easiest way to do this is with user-generated content (UGC). User-generated content tells your followers that you take their views and ideas into account when building your brand.
It’s also a great way to build your social proof and generate sales. User-generated photos are 5 times more likely to convert customers. A lot of brand will have a branded hashtag that customers can use on their photos. As more and more posts feature the branded hashtag, you will eventually create a community around it. Brands will encourage followers to use the hashtags in the hope of getting their content reposted.
Remember to give credit where credit is due when reposting.
To build strong customer relationships, using social media is crucial. Social media gives your customers a direct communication channel to you. You can engage with your followers and customers, answer questions, solve problems, give customer support and really strengthen brand loyalty. No one wants to return to a brand that ignore people or does not make any effort to interact with their customers.