How to Use Social Media to Create Relationships

How to Use Social Media to Create Relationships

Social Networking Builds Your Audience

reviews_iconFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram are so much more than social sites where we share pictures of our kids, our pets, our meals. If you’re using social media, much of it is indeed social. It’s fun and it’s supposed to be! Where we often find our clients struggling is in using social media effectively for business.

There are a number of tools, primarily pay-for-service tools, that can make finding and connecting with prospective customers on social media a breeze. What I want to focus on in this brief article are some basic principles about making social media connections, whether you are using pay services or jumping in on your own.

Nobody likes to be sold. Even when you go to the car lot, you know you want a car, you probably even know which one, but the entire transaction becomes exhausting the minute the “sales person” walks up and shakes your hand. For you to leave with your desired goal (new car), you know a sales process is going to take place, and yet it feels like you have to be on heightened alert so your values and wants don’t get trampled on during the sales portion of the deal. Sales are a negotiation and none of us want to end up on the losing side of the negotiation. How can you avoid coming off as a sales person while effectively promoting your brand or services on social media?

Rule 1: Know Your Audience
The first step we recommend is looking closely at your audience. Who are your Facebook fans? What sorts of posts do they make on their personal pages? What kinds of articles, videos, photos, websites do they share with their networks? What kind of content are they hungry for?

Rule 2: Share Helpful Content
Posts that promote your own business or services should be limited to about 20% of what you post. If you share content that your audience finds useful, you become a resource of helpful or fun information that they are more likely to “share” with their audience. With more than 757 million users every day, a post on Facebook that goes viral has the potential for astronomical reach.

SD_icon2Rule 3: Make a Content Calendar
Every month is a “National Awareness Month” of some kind. Research and make notes about timely causes, issues, and events in your regional area and promote them. If your business is seasonal or you work in the retail environment, make a note of your sales cycles and determine a content posting strategy on social media that will dovetail into your store promotions. Try to plan out the majority of what you post on social media ahead of time. There is nothing wrong with sharing helpful things you find online, but the majority of your posts should be planned in advance, as a piece of your bigger marketing plan.

Rule 4: Stay Consistent
There is nothing worse than an abandoned Facebook fan page. Visitors like your page and head over to get more information about you and your business and notice you haven’t updated in several months — it creates an impression. A negative impression. Some people recommend posting a few times a week, we actually recommend at least one daily interaction to keep yourself and your business on the radar.

Rule 5: Measure Interactions
As with any part of your marketing plan, your social media engagements should be measured for effectiveness. Checkout Facebook insights for your page and gauge which posts connected with your audience. Make note of the content that was shared. Also of importance is identifying the posts that reached the biggest audience. Engagement rates for Facebook are typicaly 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays, but we’ve found that depending on the industry, social sharing days and times can vary greatly.

Lastly, have fun with your social media interactions and keep it positive. While this article focused on Facebook, your strategy across all social media channels should really be to connect and engage with your audience. Nobody wants to listen to a sales pitch; users are seeking meaningful interactions with you and your brand. Remember that social media is not a monologue, it’s a platform to have a strong dialogue. Get that right and you’ll make connections with others who will end up as brand ambassadors for your organization.