In Mari Smith’s most recent book, The New Relationship Marketing, she delves into the importance of developing marketing efforts centered on building relationships; specifically building relationships through utilizing popular and quickly growing social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). It seems that now, more than ever before, we have a large passive audience made up of individuals who would rather look for your company’s message and values online than call to talk with a company representative. However, it is feasible to be a passive customer in today’s world because information is literal at consumers’ fingertips.
So how does an independent contracting company build connections with a passive audience? The answer is Relationship Marketing. Whether a potential customer is making contact with your company through a telephone call or a social media site; every customer wants to feel important to your service company and this requires relationship building. Improving and enhancing your company’s social media sites is a great way to market to your target audience in a relational yet inexpensive manner. Here are three of the major benefits of effectively using social media sites as a medium for relationship marketing:
-Solidify Company Values and Message-
First and foremost, relationship marketing on your company social media sites should reinforce the values and message of your company. When your message is portrayed consistently from your company website, social media sites, and verbally from your company team; then your message has the means to be far-reaching and effective. It is very likely that a majority of potential customers search through your website and social media sites before they even make a call into your company. Thus it is important that your web presence and social media marketing reinforce the value of your company. When this is done effectively, it helps your technicians prove company value on a call with greater ease and thus resulting in a higher chance of closing a sale. Reinforcing your message from many directions will help to solidify your company’s value and make your company memorable. This consistency is very important when marketing relationally because it works to build trust, confidence, and rapport.
-Engage with Target Market-
As mentioned, the way to engage with a passive audience is through relationship marketing. But the interesting aspect about seemingly passive customers is that they are only passive when it relates to openly expressing their interest about doing business with you. In reality, this “quiet audience” is more active than most because they are searching for quality information, consistency, and others’ opinions. So to satisfy this information craving, give your audience quality content and useful resources to delve into such as: weekly blogs, useful quotes, links to interesting product sites, pictures of your team, company activity in the community, or positive customer feedback. Mari Smith mentions that providing quality content and engaging resources will, over time, draw a larger audience because you begin to be viewed as “an expert” in your field. When you become an information resource it further engages and grows your audience while building company value. Consistently and authentically engaging with your audience in this relational manner will turn a passive audience into active listeners and these active listeners into loyal customers.
-Provides “Social Proof”-
Both solidifying your company values and engaging with your audience on social media sites is a means to achieve “social proof.” Social proof is a psychological occurrence in which individuals assume that the thoughts and opinions of others prove the value and authenticity of a product, service, company, or idea. For example, if a company’s Facebook fanpage has hundreds of fans, countless comments, and lots of shares then this company is growing their audience reach and “social proof.” When we see heavy social media activity around a certain topic or company we begin to think that there must be something interesting or valuable about the company, product, or service. We buy into many ideas everyday by the phenomena of “social proof.” If you don’t believe it, try looking through your Facebook homepage without clicking on a photo, article, or comment that has tons of shares, comments, and likes—it’s subconscious but we all do it none the less.
“Social proof” isn’t something that your company will automatically have when starting your social media marketing. However, by posting quality material, engaging content, and regular updates “social proof” will begin to develop due to your current audience activity; which in return, will draw a larger interested audience to your sites. Mari Smith mentions in her book that one easy way to provide “social proof” is to add a plugin on your company blog that displays the number of people and names of people that “like” your company or blog on Facebook. So when a reader makes a quick glance over the blog they will see “social proof” that your company’s content is valuable to others; which they in return will be more enticed to give it a read. It’s like giving your company a passive “peer” referral.
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Check out Mari Smith’s new book: The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web.
-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training.