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How Brands Can Use Social Media to Build Relationships

We wanted to create a space where social marketers could dig deeper into trending topics and learn a little more each week, so we decided to host a weekly Twitter chat. Last week at #SimplyChat, we discussed how brands can use social media to build relationships and discuss successful tactics, and see how relationship-building is different on each social platform.

Q1. How can brands use social media for relationship-building?

Takeaway: Social marketers need to intentionally engage with their audience by listening to what they have to say. There are many benefits of social listening. My favorite benefit is that people are literally telling you what they want. All you have to do is listen, decide if it’s right for your brand, and, if it is, implement it. A great example of this is how McDonald’s listened to their audience’s feedback on Szechuan Sauce.

Q2. What’s the most successful tactic you’ve tried for building relationships [with whom??] on social?

Takeaway: No matter which platform you’re on, the most successful tactic for building relationships on social is to converse with followers on a one-on-one basis. There are various ways to do this with intention. Here are a few:

  • Repost or share content from your audience that you appreciate and/or agree with, AKA user-generated content. There are many reasons a brand would want to implement a UGC campaign. Showing appreciation for fans is a great one. For example, Amanda Lee, a YouTube influencer, shares screenshots of her followers’ bullet journals. Of course, you need to ask for permission before sharing content created by someone else.
  • Have one-on-one conversations with your followers. Some brands respond with comments on their followers’ posts. Madalyn Sklar takes it one step further by sending video responses. According to this article, having one-on-one conversations can boost your brand image because it humanizes your brand and shows your brand personality.

  • Create a space for your most engaged followers with the intention to provide value. This space can be a private Facebook group, a weekly Twitter chat, or even an in-person meetup. The value added can be things like giving access to exclusive content/products, giving early access to sales or products, or a networking space. For example, we created #SimplyChat so that social marketers can learn and share tips and tricks on trending topics with one another. The space is a weekly Twitter chat, and the value added is networking with other social marketers.

Q3. Which social network(s) do you prefer to build relationships on? Why?

Takeaway: Go where your audience is. Each social platform attracts different people because of the features (we’ll discuss this more in the next section). Think about your target audience and decide on the type of interaction you should have with them. For example, take a look at the first three responses to this question.

  • Amy likes Twitter because people are open to conversing with others. If you feel that your target audience would agree with Amy, try putting an effort into engaging with your audience on Twitter.
  • Marcos likes Instagram because he is a visual person. If you have an aesthetically-pleasing product, try engaging with customers on Instagram by commenting or reposting their photos.
  • Houndstooth Media finds LinkedIn useful because the information on it can help you find people who are in your brand’s niche market. If you think your target audience will respond well to you via LinkedIn, try engaging with the content they are sharing on their profiles.

Q4. How is relationship-building different on each social platform?

Takeaway: Because of the various features and demographics on each social platform, the way you build relationships is different.

  • Instagram is a visual platform. It’s a great place to inspire and encourage your target audience to use your product in innovative ways. For example, take a look at Lowe’s Home Improvement’s Instagram post below. They use stop-motion animation videos to create inspiration for how followers can improve their homes. Then they engage with those who comment on the post.

  • Twitter is a place where people share their opinions; if you want to know what your target audience thinks about your brand, competitors, and/or general space, participate in Twitter chats related to your industry, create content that encourages your followers to share their opinions, engage with your followers one-on-one, and remember that you have the option to take matters into a less public place with DMs.
  • With LinkedIn, take a more professional tone. It is a great place for B2B marketers to make contact with influencers. This blog post has five best practices for building relationships on LinkedIn.
  • Facebook, unlike other social networks, is a mix of things–which is why it’s considered a marketing powerhouse. Although there are many ways to create a community on Facebook, one way is to create a Facebook group with your most active followers.

If you like what you read here and want to be a part of the conversation, join us today at 11 AM PST for a chat on how social marketers can prepare for 2018! These are the questions we’ll be asking:

Q1: How are you preparing for 2018?
Q2: How do you keep a pulse on trends in your industry?
Q3: How do you implement what you’ve learned? Examples welcome!
Q4: What’s the #1 thing you’ll do to be a more successful social marketer in 2018?
Q5: What role does organization have in being a successful social marketer?
Q6: Is auditing your 2017 social marketing strategies important? How do you do it?

Laurie Anne Nilo

I'm the Social Media Manager here at Simply Measured. I love all things wellness, coffee, watercolor, and travel.

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