Social Media has revolutionized the way people do business. It has provided businesses with a low cost means of advertising, increasing its market share as well as building relationships with employees, suppliers,current and potential customers. Among all the marketing strategies used by businesses over the years, relationship building and nurturing has been the most important…well, at least for successful businesses.
“You need to have long-term customers and good vendor relationships that will carry you through challenging times or tight deadlines, as well as relationships with other business owners to share struggles, resources and best practices that can really give you an edge. The reality is that business relationships are just like any other relationship. They require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial. As in any relationship, you must be willing to give, share and support, not just take or receive” -Michael Denisoff, founder and CEO of Denisoff Consulting Group.
Although relationship building and enhancing has been a credible strategy for years, many entrepreneurs get too caught up in the product details and sales pitch, that they tend to neglect their relationships. This has often been the case with social media marketing. What most people need to realize is that individuals use social media sites to get SOCIAL. They are not there to learn about what you have to offer or sell, they are there to post a status updates, share stories with friends, look at pictures, watch videos of dogs playing piano, or maybe play a little Farmville. So it is important that you respect that….unless your goal is to get “unfriended”, in which case you will lose part of your warm market and all the benefits associated with that.
If you are wondering how to build relationships and market your product, then treat social media sites like you are having a virtual BBQ:
When somebody comes over to your house for a summer BBQ, you welcome them in, chat, find out how they are doing and show some interest into what they are saying and just have FUN. You are not pitching your deals or asking people if they want to hear your offer… otherwise, you will just make them feel uncomfortable and they’ll find an excuse to dash.
What you should do, like at a BBQ, is just, get to know them, answer any questions, offer snacks (ie: free advice,suggestions etc.), and casually mention what it is you are doing or selling, without saying things like, “Hey Bob, you will love this toothbrush, its exactly what you need and only costs $20. How many do you want?”; instead you could say ” well, I’ve taken an interest in dental hygiene over the last couple months and at the moment am selling toothbrushes; how about you?” By providing little information and turning the conversation back to the other person you will leave room for curiosity and your friend will most likely be inclined to ask you more question about what it is you are selling and doing. So this is the basic BBQ strategy. And what is great about this strategy, is that, by having conversations you can casually include other friends into the conversation; which is KEY to Facebook marketing and increasing your market share!
According to “Using Facebook for Business- 20 Tips to Make Your Marketing Endeavors Successful“, by Edmond, Facebook serves nearly a seventh of the global population. This means, that you have the opportunity to expand your business to people you don’t even know, locally and internationally. However, over the years businesses have been impacted as Facebook restricted the posts one receives on their news feed. Have you ever noticed that some friends don’t seem to be active on Facebook? If you have, chances are your friends are active but you are just not receiving the notifications, due to Facebook restricting the number of notifications you receive. How this works is, Facebook tends to publish updates by friends you have recently interacted with or individuals who tend to be highly influential (based on popularity of their photos, status updates etc.) . This has posed a problem for many entrepreneurs and businesses as it restricts their information reaching large audiences.
In order to overcome the setback, what an individual or company can do, is increase their own popularity by encouraging friends to comment or like their posts (again, by using the BBQ strategy). The following are a few methods that can be used:
- Have fun conversations with friends. This can be done on your own wall or the walls of your friends. If you are commenting on YOUR own wall posts, then casually ” tag” other friends and invite them into the conversation. This will not only increase the popularity of your posts (and of yourself), but it will also encourage your friends to learn a bit about your products etc. When commenting and having the “BBQ” conversation with friends on THEIR wall, you are now reaching out to their friendship circles; thus increasing your market share as individuals you may not have known are now able to read your posts and learn a bit about your products.
- When posting status updates, videos or pictures, tag your friends. By tagging them, your friends and their friends get notified and can contribute to a discussion. This will increase your popularity, as well as build a relationship.
- A status update or anything posted should never be a sales pitch. Instead post fun facts,information or links for free merchandise and deals that will benefit the reader. After all, people do enjoy getting things for free.
- Finally, create fan pages, update Facebook daily, link Facebook to your Twitter or Instagram sites etc. By doing any of these mentioned things, you will be increasing your online social media presence which will allows you to have a higher popularity ranking, allowing your posts to be viewed by a larger audience, increasing your credibility and potential market share.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this post. If you have any tips to build online relationships please post them below.
Dahl, D. (n.d.). How to Build Better Business Relationships | Inc.com. Small Business Ideas and Resources for Entrepreneurs. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.inc.com/guides/201101/how-to-build-better-business-relationships.html
Using Facebook for Business – 20 Top Marketing Tips You Must Know . (n.d.). Buy Facebook Fans – Secret to Instant Social Credibility Online . Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.fansbuy.org/using-facebook-for-business/
default. (n.d.). Some of your friends’ updates are missing in your Facebook? | Calvin’s Hub. Calvin’s Hub. Retrieved November 21, 2012, from http://www.calvinshub.com/2011/02/how-to-show-all-your-friends-updates-in-facebook/