Social media for startups: A tool for building better customer relationships

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In today’s business landscape, making every conversation count is the key to success, and leaving social media out of the picture is not an option.

Many customers prefer to use Facebook or Twitter to contact brands simply because they’re easy to use. These sites are accessible with just a flick or a tap of the finger on an internet-enabled device. The mobile app versions of these sites, a feature that greatly adds convenience, attract millions upon millions of users. In fact, as of January this year, the number of social media users around the world has risen to 2.3 billion, and almost two billion are using mobile as the point of access.

Brands of all sizes have started to embrace this trend. According to an article published on AdWeek, 91% of retailers juggle two or more social media channels to keep in touch with customers. By penetrating customers’ online social circle, businesses weave themselves into people’s everyday lives. For small businesses and startups, this is a great opportunity to create brand awareness and provide customer service.

However, although auspicious, social networking comes with big challenges particularly for budding entrepreneurs. If used the right way, however, it can be a powerful tool for building customer relationships that will last. For starters, remember these when interacting with your target audience on social networking sites.


1.     Engaging the audience in conversations

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You may find yourself overpowered by social noise, and the challenge is to come up with a message that cuts through. This message should capture the interest of your target audience and make them want to talk to you.

But how can you do that when you have hundreds, maybe even thousands, of competitors who are trying to do the same thing?

Staying true to who you are as a brand and then showcasing what makes you unique can be a powerful strategy. Make sure that every detail on your social profile reflects the exact image that you want your target customers to see. If people feel like they know your organization at a deeper level, they’ll want to build a relationship with you.


2.     Responding to customers

illustration human figures in conversation with word balloons

Effective customer management is determined by your ability respond to customers properly. All types of social media comments, be they positive or negative, warrant two things: acknowledgment and action. Instead of being aggressive, try to be assertive. And instead of projecting a spotless image, own up to your mistakes and show that you’re striving to meet customers’ expectations. By creating a brand that people can trust, you can build better customer relationships.


3.     Monitoring and listening

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Many, if not all, small businesses use social networking sites for two purposes: social media marketing and customer service. They can’t win at both without proper monitoring and social listening. In this context, monitoring entails tracking the interactions between brands and their customers. It also includes keeping tabs on the progress of your social campaigns as well as the feedback you generate from your followers.

Social listening, on the other hand, is closely related to monitoring. However, it’s focus is on extracting insights and analyzing feedback trends so that managers can provide customer-centric services.


4.     Optimizing customers’ social media experience

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Efficient and fast problem resolution is the key to optimizing the brand–customer interaction on social channels. Brands must also expand the customer service options of consumers by connecting social platforms to other communication channels like email, SMS, and voice calls. Widening the customers’ array of choices is one of the best ways to empower them.



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