When developing a social media marketing strategy, it is important to give thought to your relationship strategy, and include this as part of you broader plan. By relationship strategy, what I’m really getting at is an approach to interacting with your community, humanizing your brand, and obviously, developing relationships.
I can tell you, based on my personal experience, this is a grossly overlooked component to many business’ social media marketing strategies, and it shows. When brands don’t develop a relationship strategy, they tend to have difficulty sustaining conversations, stimulating engagement, and generally maximizing the potential effectiveness of their social media efforts.
So, what are some of the benefits of having a well-defined relationship strategy?
CREATE A TWO-WAY DIALOGUE
It is called social media after all. If you are only using social media to broadcast your amazing content, you’re missing out on huge opportunities such as learning from your community, positively affecting consumers’ affinity for your brand, and creating a sense of vested interest in your community, to name a few.
INJECT ADDED RICHNESS TO YOUR COMMUNITY
Developing relationships with active and inspired community members can lead to them being your greatest brand ambassadors. Developing relationships with complimentary businesses and/or brands can give you access to prospective community members that you might not otherwise have had access to. And developing social media relationships with your employees and coworkers, and getting them involved in your community, can give everyone with interest in your brand a deeper level of engagement and insight.
ENCOURAGE ENGAGEMENT AND AMPLIFICATION
When your fans contribute to a conversation you’ve started, add value to content you’ve posted, share your content, or publicly endorse your brand, they’re doing the very things that make social media such a powerful tool. Why not reward them by acknowledging their contributions and give them a shout-out? Better yet, help to raise their profile within your community so they feel like valued contributors.
ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS
Undoubtedly, you’ll establish a number of goals and KPIs as part of your social media strategy, so why not get your community involved in helping you meet those goals? Put in the effort to engage, interact and build true relationships with your community members and they’ll reward you in spades. They’ll be your biggest brand advocates, draw new fans to your social media properties, feel comfortable to comment, provide insight when you ask for it, be more likely to purchase your product, and share your content with their social graphs.
Plan your relationship strategy so you know how, when and with whom in your community you should focus your effort. Additionally, only after putting a plan in place will you know the full breadth of how building relationships can contribute to your social media and business goals, and you might even be surprised by what your relationships can reveal or offer.
How do you build relationships through social media?
Have you experienced any benefits from having done so?
Let me know your answers to these questions, or any additional thoughts you might have in the comments or on Twitter @RGBSocial.
Photo Credit: Veer (Photoshopped and put in layout)
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