9 tips to build customer relationships with social media in 2021

Marketing your company and generating new customers is only one piece of the overarching business puzzle. Another piece of that puzzle is to continue nurturing those people so you can build customer relationships that last.

In this guide, we’ll take a deeper dive into why building customer relationships is so important as well as share nine strategies to help you get started.

Why building customer relationships is important

Social media has changed the way businesses and customers interact with each other, and it’s important that social media is seen as an avenue for real-time communication and feedback.

So, just because you’ve converted a new customer through lead generation or a sale doesn’t mean your work is done. You need to build customer relationships on social media so they keep coming back again and again – and they’ll start advocating for your business and assist in the marketing for you.

There’s nothing quite like word-of-mouth marketing, and having solid foundations with your customers is a great way to keep them excited about your business. When you have customers who have enthusiasm for your business, not only will they continue to shop with you, but they’ll tell their friends and family about you as well.

This is why building strong customer relationships is an essential part of business and marketing. It’s cheaper – and smarter – to retain loyal customers than to try to only convert new ones.

Make sense? Now, let’s dive into these nine strategies to help you use social media to build customer relationships that last.

How to build customer relationships with social media

While there are many avenues you can use to help you build customer relationships – a forum, your website, email marketing, your blog and so many more – we’re here to talk about how you can do so through your social media platforms.

After all, you’ve worked hard to grow your following. Why not use that audience to convert and nurture longterm relationships with customers?

Here are our top nine tips for you.

1. Create a customer service social media channel

One great way to get started with relationship building on social media is to create a dedicated customer service channel. There are a few ways to do this.

First, you could take a page out of Sprout Social’s book and create a Twitter account specifically for handling customer service requests as well as communicating product support issues and resolutions. (Do a “support” or “customer support” search on Twitter to find even more examples of customer service Twitter accounts across a variety of industries.)

@SproutSupport Twitter handle cover image

Additionally, you could add an option to your Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows customers to input customer service requests, or direct people to a support page on your website.

Ensure that all response times are quick and helpful to build a good reputation for your brand.

2. Use social listening

Social listening is the act of monitoring certain topics and keywords online to ensure you find important mentions of your brand or related topics.

Sprout’s social listening tool collects and centralizes what people are saying about your brand, industry and related topics around your brand. With this information, you can modify and improve your campaigns and messages. Make more informed decisions to help your customers solve their problems and provide valuable answers to questions.

Or, utilize this knowledge to gather a list of blog posts, new features and learning resources that you know your audience wants to see.

Screenshot of Sprout's Listening Dashboard showing competitor share of voice
3. Listen to customer feedback

It’s one thing to have an outlet for customers to provide feedback. It’s another entirely to actually do something with that feedback. Show your customers that you care about their input by putting their suggestions and wants into practice.

Whether it’s a new product that you launch or a new feature in your software, listening to and implementing customer feedback is an essential step in gaining their trust and loyalty. It shows that you hear their concerns and needs and you’re willing to act on it for their benefit.

4. Personalize customer experiences

Another great way to build customer relationships is through personalization. Consider adding a live chat widget onto your website for support and customer questions. Your audience will be able to speak to a real person who calls them by their name and provides a real experience.

Other ways to personalize experiences is by ensuring social media interactions and email newsletters include your recipient’s first name. Here’s an example of how Visme personalized a response on Twitter.

Visme's personalized response to a user on Twitter

Whether you’re dealing with customer service issues or simply interacting with your followers’ Tweets, creating that personal connection is key.

5. Create a relatable brand voice

One of the best ways to build strong connections to your audience: be relatable! Social media should be fun, and while you don’t have to be overly casual, there are still ways to let your audience enjoy your presence through your brand voice.

Take a page out of MoonPie’s Twitter account. They share humorous content, jump on memes they can relate back to their brand, and they take any opportunity they can to bad mouth the sun.

Screenshot of a MoonPie Tweet showing their playful brand voice.

Try sharing memes that are timely and relevant to your brand, use current lingo and take a look around at other brands to see if you can get any ideas to help your brand voice become more relatable online.

6. Offer rewards and incentives

We all love free stuff, which is why putting together contests and giveaways is one great way to offer rewards and incentives to your audience.

Check out this giveaway from Aerie on Instagram. They ask Instagram users to leave a comment with a branded hashtag and tag a friend to enter. It’s effortless and it gets their followers excited and engaged.

Screenshot of an Aerie giveaway on Instagram.

Consider sharing flash sales on social media, including freebies and discount codes.

Here’s a great example from Fast that gets their audiences engaged and gets their business in front of potential customers.

@Fast on Twitter sharing news of a flash sale and discount code share based on responses.

Think about the ways that you can implement these tactics in your own social media strategy.

7. Share user-generated content

Customers love to share and tag brand products in their photos when posting on social media. This is called user-generated content, or UGC, and is a helpful tactic both for community building and for filling your social calendar up with hyper-relevant content.

For example, online swimsuit retailer Cupshe uses UGC in their social strategy to showcase their customers wearing their different styles and sizes. In turn, they tagged the original account who shared the photo of herself in one of their bathing suits. It’s important to note that you should ask permission before reposting a users’ photograph onto your brand account.

As a way to build a community and encourage your customers to share their photos of your product is to create a branded hashtag. Share this in your bio, like we see below on A Color Story‘s Instagram bio.

Screenshot of A Color Story's Instagram bio showcasing a branded hashtag for community engagement and UGC..
8. Provide value on social media

There are so many different types of content you can create on social media. Some will – of course – be more promotional in nature, because your business is to make a profit both solve customer’s problems and needs as well as make a profit.

However, you need to ensure there’s a good balance between your promotional content and the educational and free value you provide to your audience, whether it’s freebies, discount codes or knowledge.

Share your business’ value visually in a Facebook or Instagram carousel, or you can create a Twitter thread that shares information like Grammarly did below.

Screenshot of a Twitter thread by Grammarly that is informative and shows empathy.

Share blog content and create educational videos to inform your audience even more. Providing free value helps to showcase how beneficial your product must be, bringing in new customers and building a relationship to help those customers stick around.

9. Build an online community

Our last tip for building customer relationships is to focus on building a community. Whether it’s through a Facebook Group, an other online community or branded hashtags, invite your audience to participate.

One great example of a highly active Facebook community is The Daily Carnage, a marketing-focused Facebook Group run by agency Carney. The agency publishes posts in the Group, but the conversations tend to be member-run and always all about marketing.

Screenshot from The Daily Carnage Facebook Group calling for designers to apply to a job listing.

You can create your own Facebook Group, start a Slack community or look into other platforms perfect for community building. This is a great way to keep people aware of and talking about your brand, even when you’re not directly selling to them.

Start building customer relationships today

Are you feeling ready to set off on your own and build valuable relationships with your followers and customers? Use these nine tips to help you navigate your relationships and don’t forget to look at our free social media templates for even more content ideas.

This post 9 tips to build customer relationships with social media in 2021 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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