Social Media 101: The New Era of Relationship Building

In the last post, you should have gained a better idea of what social media is and how your brand can benefit from utilizing it.  This time, let’s take a step further to explore relationship building and what it means in 2.0.

Long-gone are NOT the days of caring for your customers and making them feel special.  Quite on the contrary, now more than ever customers want to connect with brands.  Why?  Because we’re spoiled.  We have been ushered into this new wave of customer service where we expect to be wooed before making a purchase and if we happen to have a negative experience, we expect to receive a genuine apology and a sincere form of redemption.  This is where old meets new.  Since more than half of the U.S. population is on some form of social media site, it has become one of the simplest and most effective channels for brands to communicate with consumers.  And like I mentioned in the last post, social media is basically “word-of-mouth” revamped.  Anything posted on the Internet has the potential to be socially shared an infinite amount of times amongst consumers: good or bad.  Therefore, you want to be nice to the Internet public.  And by nice, I mean no BS and no over-selling.  Since we’re all now more spoiled, as consumers, we’re smarter shoppers than ever and can sniff out BS from a mile away.  Brands that are utilizing social media correctly are not just promoting their products, rather they are engaging their followers by building relationships with them.  They are starting conversations, answering questions quickly, and pulling information from current and potential customers to better their products.

You may wonder, why not remove your brand from the equation?  If you don’t have an online presence, then your consumers can’t possibly credit poor online customer service to you or even better, you don’t have to put as much work into courting consumers, right?  WRONG.  Social media doesn’t work that way.  Like the newspaper comparison, you get to publish whatever you want to whoever you want, but the same goes for your consumers.  All you need is one customer who writes, “——– sucks! Ate there tonight and had the worst customer service in my whole life. Never going back again!”  Whoever is affiliated with this customer’s social media profile will then see that your restaurant had such poor service and you may then have lost all the potential customers from that person’s circle of friends–if you “removed yourself from the equation.”  But, if you are actively utilizing social media and you caught this negative feedback, you can choose to join the conversation and attempt to make amends by saying, “Sorry to hear of your poor service at our restaurant tonight. Please email —@—–.com to let us know what the issue was so we can better serve you in the future.”  Boom.  You just rebuilt the burned bridges.  This shows that you’re conscious of what your customers think, that you care about how they feel, and that you’re willing to take extra steps to ensure better service.  This is what relationship building is all about in 2.0.

Stay tuned for the next post on the “Push vs Pull” theory of social media.

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