A Social Relationship Strategy: Five Golden Keys

A Social Relationship Strategy: Five Golden Keys

As you develop your brand’s social network relationship strategy, you’ll want to create a great customer experience. I keep these five “golden keys” in mind.

1. React Wisely in a Fast-Moving Social World

Anticipation is the first key to create a unique customer experience — and reaction is the first pillar in developing a relationship marketing strategy.

  • Do you jump on social networks without any strategy or guideline in place?

  • Do you jump on the social network rumor bandwagon?

  • Do you go to a social network party where you don’t know anyone, and start to share exciting information?

Social networking is the Internet’s answer to the water cooler. We act like this is where all the cool kids hang out. And every time some share a rumor tidbit we are on it like a child entering Disney World for the first time. We are in reaction mode.

Just see what happened when Facebook launched #hashtags and short videos for Instagram. Twitter and Google+ had already been using hashtags, and. short videos are nothing new. But social networking creates a new swell of interest, like experiencing the childish wonder of Disney World for the first time. With social channels today, the answer to the questions I started out with here is YES every time! It’s human nature.

2. Realize Your Goals — By Thoughtful Planning

A well-thought-out plan and positive attitude is the second key to a great customer experience.

Many want to cross the finish line without taking a good look at what it requires to get to that point. Realizing that a solid foundation is built on trust is crucial to achieving success with social networking, so plan well before you:

  • Start adding some sporadic strategies in social channels you have a presence on.

  • Add some ‘hot’ contests to your Social Networks, well because that is the ‘hot’ thing to do.

  • Start soliciting “Followers,” “Friends,” “Connections,” “+1’s,” “Shares,” “Likes,” “Tweets,” “Retweets,” “Comments,” and more.

Live engagement and short attention spans are among the main challenges for busy businesspeople today when it comes to grabbing customer attention, socially. You must have to have a solid plan in place, because leaving your social channels to languish with the sound of crickets is not an option.

3. Build Business Relationships with Trust and Credibility

Building trust and credibility with great tools is the third key to creating a unique customer experience.

Trust is central to successful social networking. People do business with brands they trust and people they like. Get started by curating and sharing specialized knowledge with your customer.

Social networking opens new doors to providing targeted messages to your market segments. There are also opportunities for you to think outside the box to add new values to the customer experience.

  • Engage in forums where your customers hang out. Create a customer experience specialist to monitor and engage in industry forums.

  • Engage with your most loyal fans. Bring them into your inner circle and encourage them to contribute. They will bring forums, focus groups, and testimonials to life.

  • Put the proper tools in place to monitor and measure information, and keep relationships vibrant. For instance, I use Nimble — a relationship management tool that helps me turn communities into customers and helps me better understand my customer’s point of view.

4. Leverage the Customer’s Buying Journey

Time and imagination are the fourth key to creating a unique customer experience.

Traditionally there is a 5-step process customers go through before they make an educated purchasing decision.

  1. Identify need & want

  2. Research

  3. Evaluation

  4. Purchase

  5. Product Evaluation

You have three steps here where you need to go in and re-engage with your customers. Purchasing decisions made by your customers are often influenced by two elements — time and imagination.

If you are able to persuade the customer that your product is important and at the same time trigger urgency, you have a positive time factor on your side. Providing your customer with an image that gives them a positive insight into the customer experience means that you have imagination on your side.

At this point this is a very hot lead. If this customer still ends up not making an educated purchasing decision, then remarketing is your next action step. The customer has indicated interest in your product. Now is your opportunity to put in place a reminder that triggers their imagination, because at this point time is starting to work against you.

5. Support Your Most Valuable Customers

Support is the fifth key to creating a unique customer experience.

The key to retention through social networking is to build a strong (and unpaid!) support team of your most loyal fans.

Successful customer retention starts with first initial customer contact and continues throughout the entire lifetime of a customer relationship.

Your brand’s ability to attract and gain new customers is not only related to your products and services, but to your ability to continuously create unique customer experiences for existing customers.

Start to put in place a customer experience team that handles your brand’s social network strategies. Don’t have a team? Be a team of one. Social networking often lives in communities or tribes. These are places where you can reach out to cement loyalty and evangelism. With the right tools, it’s not hard to make regular contact a good habit.

What methods have been the most successful for you as you build your customer experiences?

Are Morch helps hotels create social media programs and customer experiences through social networking and collaboration. Contact him by email or on his blog.

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