Thursday, Jul 27, 2017
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Relationship Marketing and Social Media

According to Wikipedia and Len Barry who coined the term, “relationship marketing is a form of marketing which emphasizes customer retention and satisfaction, rather than a dominant focus on point-of-sale transactions.”

Products themselves would seldom retain, satisfy, and turn customers into raving fans. Many businesses learned this the hard way during the troubled economic times we face. The most successful businesses over the last few years were those who were able to develop long lasting, meaningful relationships with their customers. There is no better set of tools to help you accomplish that than social media.

Here is a list of basic common principles that if followed, will help you become more successful:

  1. Relationship marketing is more about relationships and less about marketing.  Avoid overselling on social media channels, pay attention to customers’ needs and wants, ask questions, and most of all, answer their questions. Make your fans and followers feel important, know them well and help them know you better.
  2. Relationship marketing is about authenticity and transparency. Nothing hurts communication and trust more than lack of authenticity and vague or opaque language. Adopt social media and engage with your fans and followers based on a strong commitment to openness. It is not always easy or funny to handle criticism, especially if it is well founded and the blame is truly yours. Apply the same principles of honest public relations and people will choose your business over your competitors.
  3. Relationship marketing is about connection and being social. Everybody hates being put on hold, especially when the call was triggered by an important issue for the caller. Any phone call or question posted on a social media channel  received from a customer should be an important issue for your business, too. Help as many of your customers or potential customers as possible to connect with you on social media. Once connected, be social. Engage with them, build an asymmetric two-way communication on social media where listening is more important than talking.

No extreme is ever good so you also have to remember and consider the marketing component. As much as loved and entertained your Facebook fans might be, the ultimate reason of your efforts is to have customers stick around enough to keep shopping. It is about making sure that customers come back next time to buy more. Do not spend too much money or time with people who are less likely to become your customers. The best way to accomplish this is to follow the good ol’, time-tested marketing principles of market positioning, talking about benefits not features, and include calls to action. Be proactive and remember: if you wait until there is another case study in your industry, you will be too late!

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