Social Media Can Help You Connect & Build Trust
Business is all about the relationships. Whether you are building relationships with other businesses or with the end customer, relationships are important. We purchased a car from the guy our neighbor’s brother recommended. We hire the contractor our mother’s friend used. We go see the movies that everyone on Facebook talks about. We buy a product because everyone was tweeting about how much they liked it. Whether online or off…relationships are important. Finding ways to take business relationships beyond transactional is a sure-fire way to cement yourself in the minds of your customers.
Social media – blogs like this one, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and the like – are all ways to connect with people. And if you can use these tools to establish and enhance your relationships with your audience, you’ve got a leg up on your competition.
Here are a few examples:
- The real estate agent posts an Instagram picture of the new owners in front of their new home.
- The fabric store owner who tweets her new customer to ask how the new quilt is coming along or perhaps posts a photo of the customer holding the finished quilt.
- The car salesman who leaves a link for $10 off an oil change on a customer’s Facebook timeline.
- The heating oil distributor who records a short video showing how to clean the furnace filter.
- The tennis instructor who holds a Skype party during the Wimbledon.
- The trainer who remembers his client’s birthday with a gift certificate to an extra class or service at the gym.
The possibilities are as vast as the world of business.
What Do They Have In Common?
You will notice some commonalities between the ideas mentioned above:
- They’re relevant. They are directly applicable to the niche or industry they are in (the tennis instructor, for instance, isn’t sending out oil change coupons; the fabric store owner isn’t hosting a Wimbledon chat). Think of what you could send to your clients that would be relevant.
- They’re personal. Each interaction connects with the audience in a manner beyond a simple “buy my stuff” way. You want to foster that like, know, and trust relationship. Customers know you are in business. There is no need to mention a purchase.
- They’re useful. Each interaction provides value to the recipient. In some cases, it’s a dollar savings (the coupon); in others, it’s informational (the video and the quilt inquiry). And even the Skype party is useful in terms of entertainment. The recipient is better off for having taken part in the interaction. And you can be sure they will remember you and tell their friends.
- They’re free. They don’t cost anything on the part of the person receiving them and many are of no cost to the person reaching out.
- They’re relatively low on the time-investment scale. A tweet or Facebook post takes seconds; the video, a bit longer, but actually saves time in the long run as the vendor is answering a question she receives over and over again. The Skype party takes place during an event the tennis instructor was going to watch anyway. Just a few minutes of time but long-lasting benefits.
Social media provides ways to reach your customers on an intimate level, quickly and inexpensively. People want to be treated as individuals, not as a number or just another customer. Everyone likes to feel special. Social media provides a way to do that with a small time investment and huge rewards.