Mix Up Your Networking: Social Media and Customer Interaction Part 3 of 4

By Amelia ClarkThe last two weeks I have been talking about networking styles and why you should be using face-to-face AND social media, especially for your business. To recap, real life experiences are more memorable, and social networking can reach more people. Ultimately, it’s about getting out there, interacting, and building relationships with people.

When we’re talking about social media interactions, we are talking about the ways you interact with the people who following you, the way you build new relationships, and the way you respond to feedback. In real life, you can’t build a community by ignoring your neighbors. With social media, you can’t build a community by ignoring the people connected to you.

If you are a small business, these connections and interactions often start with the people you already know. This is good for you, because your friends, family, and established customers can help spread your content and reputation by re-tweeting, liking, sharing, posting, and commenting. Be sure to thank anyone helping you spread the word, and return the favors. People will start to feel like they are part of something and will become your most loyal supporters.

The same concepts apply to bigger businesses. If you are in charge of a large corporation or brand, you’re probably thinking I’m crazy. How can a company maintain that many relationships? How do you avoid becoming a broadcaster? Just think about your company’s customer service policies. There are protocols in place to deal with customer complaints. There are standards of behavior for the employees who deal directly with the customers: they are expected to behave a certain way to ensure a consistent message and to encourage repeat business.

Social media is just another contact point between your company and the consumer. Conduct your social media campaign with the same approach to individuals and complaints you would use on a sales floor or in a business meeting. Maintain a consistent tone, have a plan of action to respond to complaints, and always keep the broader goal in mind.

And whether your company is large or small, you will gain more followers and a better reputation by providing useful content such as tips on new products, industry stories, and links to coupons. Always keep in mind your target customers and why they care about your product. Make social media an extension of not just your company, but your product, your ethos, your mission and your goals.