Relationship Marketing 101: Social Media, Content and more
The term “relationship marketing” has been around for a while, and we here at Forward Progress have been practicing this in various stages for about a decade.
Basically, the main focus of relationship marketing is customer retention, keeping those customers happy and satisfied, and building trust and relationships with those customers. Relationship management, relationship building, social media marketing, content marketing, and social/emotional intelligence are what powers relationship marketing. So, how can we do that? Well, the answer is different for different companies, but there are several practices that all companies can benefit from.
Let’s start with relationship management and relationship building. Now, in today’s age, social media plays a huge role in relationship marketing. With laptops, smartphones and tablets, we have technology with us almost at all time. How can we use that to further our relationships? Social media allows us to be plugged in all the time, which can be dangerous because we don’t want to forget about having human interaction and engagement as well. What’s important is that we’re interacting with people in the way that they want to be interacted with. So, if you see that your target demographic hangs out on Google+ a lot, you should be producing your content there. We find that people that generate content (blogs, videos, photos) are the people that are doing really well, because the people of the Internet can really sink their teeth into it. People today constantly have a need to search for things and, when they do, we want the content that YOU produce to be at the top of the search engine. When that happens, you can build relationships with even more people off of something as simple as a Google search.
Another essential aspect of relationship marketing are prospects that arrive from lead generation. These prospects or leads are people who have downloaded things from your website or maybe registered with you or contacted you at some point. This is where your relationship starts and, when that happens, trust either begins to build or break down – and it is our choice which way that goes. Trust is a cornerstone of relationship marketing, and you want to build it as much as you can with a potential customer. So, be responsive to that person, keep your promises to them, and start building that relationship and building trust. Some people tell me that they’re just not getting good leads. When people say that, I always wonder if maybe it isn’t that they’re not getting good leads, it’s that they’re not tending to those relationships, both prospective and current, in the way that they need to. If you’re giving your relationships the care and attention that they deserve, you’ve got a good start on relationship marketing.
The amazing thing about relationship marketing on social media is that, now, referrals aren’t just between two people.
When you produce interesting content, people in your network might just share that to their own networks. Why does that matter? Because when they do that, not only have you engaged with a lead and built on that relationship with them, you have also now exposed that person’s entire network to YOUR content. That person has essentially just recommended you to all 800 of their Facebook friends. This is how things go viral, and this is part of the reason why relationship marketing is so essential to generating new leads. Companies that truly engage – that post content that is valuable to their target, ask questions, fully enter into conversations with their community – those are the companies that are successful. People want to be seen and heard and listened to. When you listen to your community and respond to them, your community will feel it.
So, to break down the basics of Relationship Marketing 101:
- We practice relationship marketing to build trust, rapport, an emotional connection and because, well, relationship marketing has the numbers to back it up.
- When we engage with customers, they’re more likely to buy from us (87% of survey respondents indicate that online social engagement with a brand positively impacts their likelihood to purchase).
How do we start?
- Make a plan – figure out your main goals, your target market, where you want to be found, and what you have to offer.
- Commit – to engage with your new and old relationships, have ownership and a schedule.
- Value – outline how you can help others, how do you compare to the competition, and what products and services do you provide?
- Build your profiles and appropriate websites.
- Launch! Start generating valuable content, interact and engage with customers and prospects, and build those relationships.
Contact Us for More About Relationship Marketing
Author Dean DeLisle is President and CEO of Chicago based marketing company Forward Progress, Inc. Come visit our website at www.forwardprogress.net for more information on our services. If you find yourself looking for more, then visit some of our other sites at www.LinkedInOnDemand.com and www.SocialJack.comwhere you can join us for more coaching and training programs. Or ask us for a private quote for your company – we love doing workshops and boot camps or even custom coaching contracts. We have programs to fit most any budget. Consider working with Forward Progress to learn more about relationship marketing.