Recently I had the opportunity to invite my friend Madi Giordano, from HIVE Social Media, onto the Create, Connect, Convert Podcast to talk about building relationships on social media. Madi is a social media coach, and she shared so many helpful tips that I’ve already had the chance to try out in my own business!
Today I’m going to share around what we talked about and what you can do to build relationships on social media.
Relationship marketing is a business strategy that focuses on providing value and building authentic connections with your audience. This began in the 70’s and 80’s, giving incentives like punch cards to gain repeat customers. Now, we are seeing a rise in the need for businesses to build relationships with their fans and potential customers.
A lot of companies aren’t focused on building relationships, which gives you an opportunity to stand out. I’ll share some practical tips on how you can start building better relationships with your social media followers.
The idea of value-based marketing is that you should provide value before asking for anything. This might sound like the opposite of a good idea if you think you should get paid before offering value. But this is a proven way to create raving fans and return customers. Return customers will save you a ton of money and bring you more sales!
How is that possible?
It’s proven to be much less expensive to get returning customers compared to always finding new buyers. And return customers already know you and your products, so they’ll likely spend more money with you.
You can (and should) offer a ton of great value for free and leave people wanting more from you. Think of this as offering the first chapter of your book free of charge. You’re not giving away the whole story for free, but you’re grabbing people’s attention and proving that what you have is worth the cost.
You can aim to provide value for free and earn more money, all while building a loyal fanbase. This is especially important on Instagram and Facebook because there are millions of accounts to follow. If you don’t provide value to your followers, no one will have a reason to follow you.
A few value providing ideas are sharing quick tips, how-to guides, answering frequently asked questions, and more! Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and write down a few ideas of what you would like.
More than ever, people want to feel like they are included. You don’t want people to just follow you. Instead, you need to create followers that are engaged and interacting with you on a regular basis.
Big brands accomplish this through their logos. Everyone knows when someone is wearing a Nike shirt, and it makes them feel like they can relate to other people wearing Nike.
In a similar way, your opportunity is creating a tribe on social media. This is done when you are engaging with everyone, replying to every comment on your posts, and replying to direct messages. Most businesses don’t take the time to do this, so your followers will feel a sense of being included, and feeling like they’re seen. Most direct messages go unread, and many comments are left alone.
Building relationships results in loyalty in your followers. You’ll soon become their go-to person when they need what you offer.
When you’re interacting with your followers, or building a community, don’t start with a sales pitch. If you walk in a store, you want to feel welcomed, not pressured into spending money. When you’re focusing on relational marketing, you need to start with relationships!
The results of building a community of followers are great! I have seen Instagram accounts that have thousands and thousands of followers, but most of their posts only get a few likes. When you build a community, instead of a following, people are interacting with all of your content, and they’re more likely to buy what you promote.
We could easily write a whole blog post about hashtags, (which you may see in the future) but for now, let’s focus on how to use hashtags in relational marketing.
It’s true that the organic reach of Instagram hashtags has decreased over the years, so instead of using hashtags for other people to discover you, you can use hashtags to develop new customer relationships.
Keep in mind that you want to find the hashtags your potential customers are using and like, not necessarily the hashtags your competition uses.
One way to find hashtags is to look at the profiles of your top competitors and view the profiles of the people who like their posts. Many people follow their favorite hashtags, which you can easily find by clicking on their following. Remember, your goal here isn’t necessarily to steal your competitions following, you’re just trying to figure out hashtags. If you go down this route, you can avoid clicking on private profiles by looking for people with active stories.
You can also find the best hashtags to interact with by taking a look at your top fans- think of the people who follow you, view your stories, and like everything you post. Take some time to look through their profile and write down the hashtags they use. If you do this with 20 of your top fans, figure out which hashtags are common with all of them- these are your best 5 hashtags to follow and interact with. Now you can rotate through them using the 1-3-30 strategy in the next section.
As with most things, it’s always easier said than done. I know that I’ve said I’m going to implement business strategies, but never did. You will only see the results of your customer relationship marketing when you start taking action!
Here are a few quick things you can start doing today. In my own business, I took action with these relationship marketing tips and have already seen good results.
This is something you can do every day and it takes a little bit of time. The one is one hour, as in don’t do this more than once per hour. You don’t want to overdo this because Instagram may think you’re spamming people instead of connecting with them. Find three hashtags that your customers use, and engage with thirty photos. Engaging with a photo can be a simple like, or comment. But remember you want to add value, commenting “nice” doesn’t add much value. A question can be a great conversation starter or say you love the coffee shop they’re at.
This can be a challenge for a lot of us because we want to create a separation between business and fun. But your followers on social media want to know who’s behind the business, and they’re tired of the perfected highlight reel. Posting what goes on behind the scenes will break the cycle of what people are used to seeing. You can post your morning routine, a book you just finished reading, or something you’re doing on your day off. Don’t be afraid to show your followers the good and the bad. A lot of people are getting tired of seeing perfectly edited posts.
Questions are one of the best conversation starters on social media. You can use Instagram and Facebook question stickers to ask your followers questions. People want to know that you actually care about them and are interested in hearing their opinions. Most businesses start off with a sales pitch, rather than building relationships, so this approach will surprise them.
With any marketing strategy, consistency is key! You can start being consistent today. You can post things that consistently provide value, interact with followers on a consistent basis, and be consistently genuine.
Remember that this is a long term marketing strategy. Building relationships takes time, and provides long term results and growth for your business. You won’t see overnight results using these tips. When you continue to provide value, and create genuine connections, you will see more sales and interactions with your content. The best time to start with relational marketing is now! The sooner you start the better, even if you don’t feel 100% confident.
If you start using some of these relational marketing tips, let me know on my Instagram page @one6creative! You can also check out Madi, the founder of Hive who provided a lot of this helpful info, here @thisishive for more social media tips.
For more on this topic, make sure you tune in to episode #030 on the Create Connect Convert Podcast!