In our digital and information era, marketers have access to numerous techniques and tools to help us connect with customers. As we do, though, we need to avoid inadvertently building virtual walls by prioritising how we develop long-lasting, authentic relationships with our clients. We must put humanism at the heart of what we do, trying different strategies, approaches and platforms to create deep and meaningful relationships in this digital-first environment.
It’s good to consider the size and volume of your business before deciding on customer relationship-building techniques and tools. Each company is unique, and a one-size-fits-all strategy will likely leave you no further ahead and unnecessary budget spent. So, let’s look at some practical and effective ways to build strong relationships with your customers digitally.
Brands need to be active on social media at all times to build strong connections with customers. Gone are the days when a brand’s social media manager could get by using scheduling tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite to promote a product or service – there needs to be real-time engagement.
Digital marketing is a two-way conversation. Engaging with followers on social media means being available to answer queries and create meaningful connections. Automating this aspect of digital marketing won’t deliver the same results. Companies need to invest in a dedicated team member to review their social media and other digital platforms daily.
Stand For Something
Creating a unique brand personality will work to your advantage. Make sure that your social media pages reflect the image you want to put out there. Inject your voice, values, mission, and opinions into the brand.
When potential customers reach out to you on social media, make sure your responses are human and don’t seem automated. Be helpful, open, and focused on solutions. And, don’t forget to ask for feedback so you can improve; if clients are dissatisfied with the interaction in any way, they’re not likely to reach out again. Use the insights from their feedback to do better.
Have A Consistent Voice
The key to staying authentic on platforms teeming with competitors is consistency. Have a set of brand guidelines in place for anyone interacting with customers digitally. This will ensure that your tone of voice stays consistent even if you have more than one person managing your digital presence. Take a stand for the causes you believe in, whether a social movement or a charity. This way, you can lend your voice to a worthy cause while staying consistent with your brand roots.
Highlight Your Followers
Authentic relationship-building starts at a follower level. Make your followers feel seen and heard by turning them into the heroes of your social media, email, website and more. An effective way to do this is through user-generated content. Share your followers’ reviews, unboxing videos, how-to guides, testimonials, and compilation videos featuring your brand. Be sure to tag them so they can re-share their content with the world. Making user-generated content a part of your digital marketing is a sure-fire way of sparking interest and creating engagement.
Choose The Appropriate Channel
Deciding which communication channels to use is an important decision when designing a marketing strategy. Marketers need to understand their target audience and know which social networks they are active on to create relevant and targeted campaigns.
Choosing the right communication channels is crucial when it comes to effective client communication as well. You need to understand your client and find the most appropriate channels.
Be On The Right Platforms
The most effective way to promote your brand online is by becoming active on platforms that your customers already use. Apart from the usual social media giants, it’s a good idea to shake things up and try some of the less frequented platforms like:
Clubhouse: Clubhouse is a new, audio-only social platform that’s making waves. Becoming active on this platform is a great way to boost thought leadership in front of a targeted audience.
Facebook groups: Most of us are on Facebook already but may not be making the best use of Facebook groups. These groups are a great way to cultivate relationships. You could even create an intimate space for your VIP customers to connect with both your brand and one another.
TikTok: This short-form video platform is ideal for youth-targeted B2C brands. It involves filming quick, impactful videos that get your message across.
Reddit: Being active on Reddit is a great way to build an authentic following for your brand. Find a subreddit on your industry or niche and answer user questions instead of promoting yourself directly. When you educate and deliver value, users will start to recognise your expertise.
Redefine Your Website To Be An Educating Website
Take a good hard look at your website and gauge if it serves customers at every stage of their purchase journeys. Check if it does a good job of answering their questions and providing solutions. Your website should have all the information a prospect needs to trust you and your organisation. Use the right digital tools that help your customer and provide you with feedback to advance your understanding of their challenges.
Build A Community
The first step to building a community is understanding where your customers spend their time. While millennials seem to be more active on Instagram, Gen X spends more time on Facebook and Twitter. When planning your social media strategy, focus on the platforms frequented by your target audience.
Keep Your Gates Open
When you put yourself in your customer’s shoes, it’s easier to understand what they’re looking for from your brand. Respond to their queries and communicate with them on all your digital platforms. Provide them with multiple channels for interacting with you and use a genuine, human voice.
Automate And Optimise
Technology moves fast. New tools and techniques to connect with your clients are being continuously churned out. It’s essential to keep up, or you run the risk of getting left behind. Seek ways to optimise and automate your communication efforts continually.
New Zealand’s economy may be comparatively small in the global marketplace, but it is highly developed. We have access to many competing brands and are exposed to innumerable promotional messages every day. Because of the vast amount of clutter that exists, the digital marketing landscape feels saturated. Amidst this proliferation of data, machines aren’t reducing humanity’s role but are giving us the tools to amplify it. Digital content is the currency for rapport and building relationships, but brands must be human, transparent, and wholeheartedly present to build genuine digital connections with their customers.
Change has never been this fast with consumer evolution and digitally native young people. However, many brands blindly follow each other and operate from the same playbook. We need to realise the value of creating workplaces that inspire and use digital platforms and tools to enable connectivity within teams and your people.
Whether you run a B2C, B2B, or B2G company, prospects are still people. Making sales is still ultimately all about P2P, people to people. Always keep the 3Cs of creativity, collaboration, and quality conversations in mind. To succeed in such a competitive arena, marketers need to be forward-thinking and move with the times. This way, they will attract the right followers, build relationships and grow their business simultaneously.