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Social Media Marketing:
Focus On Building Relationships

When I used to teach new startup business owners digital marketing, I used to talk the "Just like me's." People are looking to purchase from or get involved with groups that they feel they have something in common with. That's a big part of relationship marketing, which is a form of marketing that focuses on long term engagement, customer loyalty and especially customer satisfaction.

Social media websites like Facebook are ideal platforms for relationship marketing. See below for more information and tips to running a successful relationship marketing campaign for your small business or community organization or NGO.

Use Social Media to Grow Professional Relationships for your small business

Is it more important to have a large number of followers, or is it more important to have followers who interact and respond to your posts?

There are Facebook pages that we administer that have over 30,000 Likes. Some have less than 500.

While larger numbers are very exciting, in truth there are some days that the smaller pages are more responsive and drive the same amount of traffic as the larger ones do.

Ultimately, you need to have a clear set of goals and objectives when you launch any social media marketing campaign. 

What do you want people to do? Do you want people who will purchase your products, register for events or otherwise engage and help spread the word about you and what you’re doing?

Whether you're a small business looking to increase sales, a non government organization trying to increase engagement or even a local church looking to create awareness about a community event, your followers and potential followers want to know what you expect from them.

People do not want hard sales pitches on Facebook. Very rarely does that work. Facebook users want to feel like they belong to something. 

I’ve been to the Facebook page of more than one large business with millions of Page Likes, only to find that they only have double digit numbers on Post Likes.

At the same time, I’ve been to business Pages with a few thousand Likes that also have double digit Post Likes. They’re the one’s actually doing better as they are engaging a higher percentage of followers than the larger companies.

The biggest difference between the two is that the major corporate Page tends to be very cut and dry and direct in their messages, where as successful small business Facebook Page tends to be more personable.

Here are five tips to help you get more from Facebook going forward:

  1. Be genuine. If your business sells auto parts, and you post kitten videos to build your're going to have a credibility problem for sure. If you sell auto parts, you do not always have to share information about products, but most posts should be related. If you want to post something for kittens, how about a link and message of support to a cat shelter in your community.

  2. Be personable. The most successful relationship marketing campaigns that I've seen worked because they were an extension of the business' or the owner's personality. A little humour, maybe the reason you feel strongly about something affecting your industry or even messaging that occasionally ends with a tag line like "and that's why we love what we do." Whatever it is, put a little of you in your messaging.

  3. Be focused. If you are selling something, make sure you mention it regularly. If you have an event coming up, don't avoid updating followers about your progress as the event gets closer and closer. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in creating personable posts that they forget to post about the little things like sales. Sales related posts that seemingly come out of the blue will get a much lower response rate than sales related posts that appear on a regular basis.

  4. Be engaging. I was checking out an international guitar maker's facebook page recently and noticed that with over 3 million followers, the highest amount of traffic I saw going back a few weeks was about 300 Likes. When people comment, the staff would sometimes Like the comment, but I did not see one time where they took a minute to respond. Something simple like "We're glad you like this guitar" to a compliment or directing someone with an issue to the support page of their website will buy a lot more goodwill than ignoring either type of comment.

  5. Be consistent. Post regularly. Set at least one day a week to post or re-share a post. If something extra comes up in between, you can share it then as a special announcement or exiting news, or you can hold on to it for a few days. If your posts are not gaining traction, try moving them to a different day and time. Stick with it for a few weeks and keep monitoring engagement.

All successful marketing involves following a plan, a certain amount of guesswork and making a few adjustments as things progress.

Work at building engagement organically, Like and Share other people’s content and even paying to promote a post now and then will take longer, but will be more effective and get you the results you’re looking for.

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