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Social media on a mobile phone

The new relationship marketing

Mari Smith,
 top social media influencer, and author of 'The New Relationship Marketing' and 'Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day', explains how using social media in relationship marketing means seeing customers and prospects as real human beings

Mari Smith,
 top social media influencer, and author of 'The New Relationship Marketing' and 'Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day', explains how using social media in relationship marketing means seeing customers and prospects as real human beings

The huge popularity of online social networks has caused a fundamental shift in how we communicate and do business. As more businesses learn to ‘humanise’ through having authentic conversations with their online audiences, consumers in turn respond with more trust and more buying decisions. 

Golden opportunity

The power has shifted to the consumer. If someone receives bad customer service, one negative tweet that goes viral can dramatically impact that company’s reputation. The #1 reason brands and businesses fear having an active presence on Facebook is the fear of negative comments. Yet we need to embrace negative comments. This is your golden opportunity to demonstrate stellar customer service and, in doing so, you’ll convert the complaining person as well as others observing the interactions. 

Also, influencer marketing is now a huge part of everyday business. Brands can actively seek out and ‘court’ individuals with large online followings who may rave about their experience.

Engagement is Queen

A common mistake is having a one-way, old-school, broadcast mentality. Businesses set up their content strategy (often on autopilot), then wonder why they’re not seeing any measurable results. The secret is you must also have an engagement strategy in place. I like to say that “content is King, but engagement is Queen and she rules the house!”. Investing in key personnel to help manage and moderate fan posts can yield immediate ROI. For every Facebook fan you engage, there are on average 34 more reachable friends. And, when brands respond to fans, 80% go on to make a buying decision.

Strategic steps

To be successful, adopt a motto of ‘people first, business second’. Add value and be of service. Become known as a go-to resource for exceptional content; you can do this by using great curation tools like Spundge.com and Trap.it every day. To achieve real ROI, you do need to be strategic with your efforts. Be sure to integrate your marketing campaigns with your content calendar. When you’ve provided sufficient valuable, relevant content, it’s perfectly acceptable to make an offer and ask for the sale.

Although technology is evolving at warp speed and we are living in an always-on society, ultimately, we do crave high touch. I see a movement back towards more in-person, live events, where people who have met online can also meet in person. Businesses that tap into this human need will continue to dominate the online social media world.

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