It’s almost impossible to be in business today without using social media. But if we limit how we use social media, by thinking they are mainly for advertising and informing customers, we neglect huge opportunities. Social media is for interaction. We can communicate with customers, partners, suppliers, even competitors, in many different ways.
So keep up your relations and interactions with people outside your customer base. Being present, active and relevant keeps you in their minds.
Building business relationships through social media is just as important as building them with your customers.
Don’t Be Selective
Some social media platforms may seem/be more important than others because they have a broader user base – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, for example. But when you’re building business relationships, be open to all social media. Remember Google+, Reddit, Periscope, Vine and VK.
Never heard of some of them? They may be smaller, but niche areas are often gold mines for building partnerships with likeminded people.
Even better, there are media dashboard tools to help you manage all your accounts in one place – Hootsuite is a great example.
If Colleagues Are Using Social Media, You MUST
It’s obvious, but let’s say it – be social! If your partners, colleagues and suppliers are active on social media, you need to be in there mixing with them. Imagine you are in one room with them all and that you stay away from them and not say a word. Think you’ll be relevant to them?
Building business relationships is easier if you actually USE social media and not be just a bystander.
In a few seconds a day, be sure to like, comment, and share posts from other users. If you’re being active then those people will in turn be active with you. That’s how building business relationships through social media works.
Don’t Overdo It
In the wonderful world of social media, where each platform gives realtime feedback and links to other platforms, there can be too much of a good thing. It can be easy to discover that you’re using a lot of time posting, sharing, liking, and commenting. Going too far and being too busy may cause you to put people off and lose followers.
This is PR and marketing, so follow the formula that has worked for you in these areas: be strategic. Prove your worth and relevance and support, without being the one who becomes annoying. Building business relationships through social media is not rocket science, but it requires some strategy.
Build Human Relationships
All relationships – social as well as business – occur through human connection. You may think your product or service is the key but, in reality, how you connected with people is what made them do business with you. So, when looking to build your business relationships on social media, be human. A few harmless jokes are good for showing your human side. So is sharing a few details and stories about yourself.
Important: (1) Avoid hot button issues like religion and politics, unless that’s your business’s thing. (2) Don’t say negative things about people in private communications because screen shots can kill relationships in seconds.
Look, Listen, Act
Social media is very powerful for reaching out to other businesses and for communicating directly with customers. The most important things you can do when building business relationships through social media is to look, listen, and act.
- Look at what’s being said and done.
- Listen to the response(s).
- Act accordingly in order to get the outcome you want.
When in doubt, ask marketing experts who excel in the art of managing a business’s online presence and reputation.
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