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Its the ever searched for Mecca in social media – a ‘real relationship’ with your customer, and it really is easier to achieve than you’d think. We’ve put together the most important factors in building real relationship in social media, and how you too can gain real value from your social sites.


#1. Be Authentic.

It might seem like an obvious place to start, but it is generally the first place that businesses online tend to fall down, and is something that will set you apart in a increasingly competitive market place.

Avoid the “100% positivity” claims of yesteryear, with social media being so transparent, you’ll soon be caught out somewhere. Instead, embrace all that is said about you, good and bad. Sometimes the best publicity is formed in the midst of a negative comment. How you manage both positive and negative PR can either make or break the honesty factor in business. If people can trust you, they will buy from you.

#2  Make Customer Service Top Priority.

It can sometimes only take one person to make or break your brand, which in itself, is a pretty scary thought. However, even the worst situations managed impeccably can result in great PR for your brand. The key is customer service.

Given great service (which lets face it, should be number one in priorities anyway!) is a sure fire way to not only build a relationship with your customer, but as a result – can convert them into a brand advocate.

‘Advocates’ are those people that are so happy with your product or service, they can’t wait to tell everyone about it and what a wonderful experience they’ve had.

Think about it, if you saw a tweet or update from a friend about a brand who surpassed their expectations, or answered a question or query promptly with a simple 140 characters, you give them the social nod of approval, and chances are will be recommended to you at a later date by said friend if you required a similar service or product.

Using Social Media to focus on Service builds an added personal dimension to your relationship with your customers, giving them a platform to engage with you in a way a decade or so ago was completely unheard of.

Personal relationships drive an emotional connection and trust to your brand. And with trust, comes influence….and then as a result, revenue.

#3 Be a ‘Friend’.

Look at your social media channels and ask yourself one simple question: “Would I want to be my friend?”

Its a simple step to take, but seeing yourself from your customer’s shoes is an important step in building real relationships online. Are you adding value to your timeline? How are you interacting with your followers? Are you listening as well as speaking? Are you paying attention to your network?

Don’t become an ‘all talk, all the time’ type person. A real conversation and real relationship is two way. Engage with your followers, follow up and ask how important meetings went. Say hello to new followers or old connections who have recently joined your network.  Become ‘socially active’ at exhibitions or industry events, and use it as a tool to put names to faces and businesses.

[image via Mashable]

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