There’s been a lot written about how brands can use social media to build relationships with customers. While there are certainly advantages to using social media to connect with your audience, it is not the be-all and end-all of relationship-building tools.
If I follow your brand on social media, chances are we are already in a relationship, and I just want another means to communicate with you. But if you really want to bond with me, you need to make sure you follow a few simple rules:
Rule #1 – Make yourself available through multiple channels
Like a real friend, as your customer I may want to phone you, email you, or send you a Facebook message. It may just depend on what’s easiest for me at any particular time. So make it easy for me.
Rule #2 – If I ask you a question, make sure you get back to me
If I raise my hand and tell you I have question, I expect you to respond to me… just like a real friend. If you can’t talk to me, I will feel like you don’t value our relationship and I will build another one somewhere else. The method I use to reach out to you doesn’t matter. Just make sure you get back to me.
Rule #3 – Respond in a timely fashion
It is important that you respond to me in a timely fashion. While I will let my real friends get away with a delayed response if they are busy, I won’t let you off the hook so easily. Now I know you may not be fully staffed on weekends. But guess what? That’s when I’m not working and I have time to talk to you. Just like my real friends. You may think you are saving pennies now, but you will lose my business over the long-term if you don’t make yourself available.
Rule #4 – Talk to me, not at me
Finally, I will be mad at you if you send me messages all the time but never respond to mine. For example, Obama collected my email address during his campaign. Ever since I have received emails from him, his wife, Joe Biden, Joe Biden’s wife, etc. They are usually asking for campaign donations. I reply to their emails occasionally and they never respond. So much for two-way communication!
To me it doesn’t seem so hard. To bring our relationship to the next level, you need to treat me like you would a real friend. I look forward to the day when I can contact a company via phone, email or any social media outlet and get not only a response, but a quick response. I know that day is coming so be ready.