How to Build Successful Online Relationships With Customers

By on October 5, 2009

The success of any business’ social media campaign is due in large part to the quality of the connections formed online.  So how do you form beneficial contacts that will lead to increased business?

Follow Your Interest.

Look for conversations taking place among your target clientele that catch your attention, or make you want to chime in (even if it isn’t business related).  When you enter into conversations this way, you’re input is more likely to come across as authentic, and personable, and not like you’re just there to make a sale.

Coming across as authentic and personable is so critically important that I’m going to reiterate it here.  For far too long, businesses in general have abused their relationship with customers, making clients more cynical than ever.  “What’s their motive?” will likely be the number one question in a customer’s head, and interacting with them in a ‘real’ way can help to neutralize this.

Try Remembering Personal Details.

While this may not be possible to do all the time (especially if you’re running a large campaign), it doesn’t hurt to occasionally fire off a note with a link to something other than your business, telling your contact that you saw this and thought of them.  When they believe you are thinking of them as something other than potential business, they’ll let their guard down more.

Common Ground

Finding additional common ground is another good option.  The more in-touch with you that a customer feels, the more likely they will grow to feel some sort of allegiance to you and your brand, and, the more likely they’ll be to tell their contacts about you.

Out With the Old

Lastly, don’t be afraid to go through your connections lists on a regular basis and purge them.  Try to clear out the ‘quantity’ so that you can make room for more ‘quality.’  Too many businesses are afraid of letting go of any contacts for fear that they’ll miss a potential sale.  However, the reality is that making room for one quality lead will likely bring you more business than hanging on to ten ‘maybes’ will.

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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