With the growth of web-based social networks and a desire for transparency, trust and peace-of-mind messages, it shouldn’t be surprising that relationships rule these days in marketing. Like in life, relationships are everything. When you build relationships with consumers, you also build a band of brand loyalists that can become your most powerful source of word-of-mouth marketing, brand advocacy and brand guardianship. Building these lasting relationships with consumers is far more powerful than making a quick sale and turning your head to the next individual. Marketers and communicators are understanding the importance more and more and are starting to leverage the social web to interact with people around the world and build relationships that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago.
It wasn’t long ago that business relationships were generated from networking events and face-to-face interaction such as trade shows. However, in today’s technology driven world, relationships are commonly built by using the tools of the social web. The Web has created a whole new way of building relationships, and we (as marketers) are no longer forced to focus on traditional (or monologue) marketing, where the marketer only talks to the customer. Which usually results in the customer to react and say something along the lines of “I am or am not interested.”
This new way of connecting to customers is exactly the same way we do with our personal relationships nowadays. That is, we utilize different communication channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Come on, is it not easier to drop Aunt Betty a wall post rather than picking up the phone to be ear strained for an hour. This same technique applies to business, where by using these connection points you get to build a conversation. Would you want to talk about the simple and strategic messages that are created? You have short quick messages in real time that are focused on a single idea, not run-on like the phone call with Aunt B. Get to know your customers likes, interests and address them personally and strategically (via your message or medium of choice) about any issues they may be experiencing. Utilize this information to strengthen the relationship which in turn will help create better (and quite possible more) influencers among their social networks and potentially even create/design products and services they might want.
Step outside your comfort zone and get personal with your existing and potential customer base. It will not only change the way your business is viewed, but will bring you much success from the ambassadors you create.