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Use Social Media to Connect with Your Customers

April 14, 2009

While social media creates many opportunities for extending your marketing plan and reaching out to larger markets, these tools in and of themshandshake2elves do not mean that your company will have increased success. While email, blogging, micro-blogging and social networks (among other things) open the door to new possibilities in the world of market, they must be used properly in order to be successful. Just using these mediums to spread a tired, one-directional message won’t get you anywhere (see Beth Harte’s blog post about why email marketing doesn’t work) but instead you must employ these tools to build relationships with your clients and customers.

Listen to what they are saying. Respond to what they are saying. Consider their feedback as a valuable tool to improve your company. As the authors of Groundswell, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, explain on page 18 of their book, “Concentrate on the relationships, not the technologies… relationships are everything. The way people connect with each other—the community that is created—determines how the power shifts.”


So it’s not just enough to know that social media technologies exist and to know the basics of how to create a profile, blog, etc. In order to really take advantage of the power to communicate via the internet, you must engage with your customers. Let them know you’re interested in what they are saying AND join in on the conversation. By building a relationship with your customers that feels more balanced and appreciative than the old-school seller/buyer relationship, you prove that your customers are an important part of the company (and they most certainly are! As evidenced by #amazonfail, ignoring your customers won’t keep them from talking about you and can cause serious harm to your reputation.)

With the influx of social media technologies comes change. Change in how you think about customers, change in how you connect with those peophug1le, and change in what they expect from you as a company. It’s not enough just to have a Facebook or Twitter account, or to have a company spokesperson maintain a blog. In order to use the power of social media for good, you MUST be responding to and interacting with the comments, concerns and complaints that these mediums allow customers to generate. It may be scary at first, communicating so openly with the customers to whom you are trying to sell, but the respect you’ll earn and the two-way dialogue you’ll open will serve you well (really well, in fact) if and when your company hits a bump in the road.

-Arikka Hall

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