There’s no doubt that digital marketing can be a helpful tool in growing your business and strengthening your relationship with your target market. But, just because you’re “doing” content marketing doesn’t mean that you’re getting the most out of this ever-evolving discipline.
It’s entirely possible to run slick, impressive digital campaigns, to update your social media feeds regularly, and to invest a huge amount of time, effort and capital in your digital marketing efforts… yet your message can still completely fail to resonate with your target audience.
Why? Because you haven’t taken steps to build a rapport with them.
If you run your own business, you likely know the importance of building customer rapport. You train your employees rigorously to do just that. Once they set foot on your premises, your every effort is dedicated to building rapport into the customer experience.
But nobody said you needed to wait for them to show up at your door before you can start building a rapport with your customers!
Statistics say your audience wants to engage with you
In an increasingly digital age, most prospective customers will get their first exposure to your brand through digital channels. Whether they alight on one of your landing pages, stumble across your website, discover you on social media or click on a paid ad, they will likely form an opinion of your brand based on your digital marketing content way before they ever set foot on your premises.
The good news is that the statistics show that all those prospects out there want to engage meaningfully with your brand. A recent report by Sprout Social revealed that;
- 78% of consumers want brands to connect with them (and help them connect with each other) through social media.
- 76% are more likely to buy from a brand they feel that they have a connection with on social media.
- 91% of people believe that social media has the power to connect people and communities.
Here we’ll look at some ways in which you can build customer rapport in your social media and help legions of prospects convert into loyal brand advocates…
Leverage content marketing to give personality to your brand
There’s truth in the old adage… People buy from people.
But, of course, your business may be more than just one person. It may be an organisation of talented and highly motivated individuals working towards a common goal. Still, that doesn’t mean that you can’t imbue your brand with a sense of personality. Something that helps to anthropomorphise the ideals, goals and operational values your business represents.
One of the best ways to do this is through content marketing. As they’ve been saying for decades… Content is still king.
Regularly adding blog posts, infographics, white papers and even e-books to your website helps to give your brand a sense of personality as long as a consistent tone of voice is maintained across your content. It’s completely up to you what kind of voice you want to give your brand. You can be caring and nurturing, sagely and informative, funny and light-hearted… whatever best suits your business and its target audience. Read more about that here.
As well as helping to lend your brand a face and a voice, content marketing also builds value for new prospects. It demonstrates your industry knowledge and establishes you as a respectable and trusted authority in your chosen field.
When potential customers like you and trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you regularly.
Are you asking them what they want? Or telling them?
While digital marketing can be a powerful tool, it’s a tool that can become dulled and ineffective if you don’t approach it from a “customer first” perspective.
It doesn’t matter how much you’re brimming with pride at your latest product, how many great ideas you have for your next campaign, or how many clever slogans you have up your sleeve.
If you launch digital marketing materials that aren’t based on extensive market research you risk telling your audience what they want rather than listening to what they want. And that makes it so much harder to build the rapport that will help you to win them over.
Involve your target market in the creation of new campaigns. Base them on input gleaned directly from them, or at the very least using historical data based on analytics gained from previous campaigns.
If you don’t base your marketing efforts without knowing what your target market wants you end up with cringe-worthy campaigns that fail to read the metaphorical room.
Focus your efforts on the right social platforms
It doesn’t matter how well you tailor your message to your customer profiles if they’re not around to hear it. Often brands adopt a “spray and pray” approach when it comes to their social marketing efforts. However, this can result in wasted time and effort attempting to connect with the wrong type of crowd.
Take your message to the platforms your prospects use… And only those platforms.
For example, if you’re trying to target younger consumers, you’re unlikely to do so on Facebook. Younger markets tend to gravitate towards more visually oriented platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
Don’t just talk to them on social media, listen to them
We’ve already discussed how your prospective customers want to engage with you on social media. But if you’re not careful that engagement can become a one-way street. Customers are unlikely to keep trying to engage with your brand if you never respond to their tweets or their comments on your Facebook page. Customers like to feel as though they’re interacting with brands rather than shouting into the void.
Take the time to engage with your prospects. Answer their questions in an informative way that hints at the personality of your brand. Comment on their posts. Like what they have to say. Retweet them. Quote them. If they’re nurturing businesses of their own, perhaps you might even want to give them some exposure. If they say something nice about you, by all means, share it with your followers with a sense of humility and gratitude.
Respond quickly and decisively to social media complaints
A huge part of developing a reciprocal sense of customer rapport on social media lies in dealing effectively with customer comments even when they’re not rosy and cheerful in nature. Nobody likes receiving customer complaints on social platforms but if you bury your head in the sand and ignore them it will only incense the person complaining and send a very unflattering message to all those scores of prospects out there… That you don’t respond to customer complaints.
Therefore, don’t be afraid to address these quickly, openly and decisively. Don’t offer empty platitudes, either. Apologise sincerely then offer to work with the person who complained to achieve a satisfactory resolution.
There’s tremendous currency in showing your customers and prospects alike that their voices are heard under all circumstances, not just when they have something flattering to say.
Let them peek behind the curtain
Remember what we said earlier about giving your business a personality? One of the most effective ways to do this is to let your potential customers get to know the people behind your business.
Devote some of your marketing efforts to letting your audience peek behind the curtain and get a taste of daily life in your business. Showcase the knowledge and skills of your team but also show that they have personality and passion. Show them the care and effort that goes into the products you enjoy and the professionalism and expertise that your team bring to the table each and every day.
This not only shows potential customers that you value them enough to invest in the best people, but it also shows that you value, respect and care about your employees.
Ensure your operations follow through on promises made in your marketing
At the end of the day, no matter how grand, clever, witty and well researched your marketing efforts may be they are meaningless if you don’t follow through on them.
Digital marketing makes a promise to your prospects. It promises them a quality of product, service and customer experience upon which you build your brand. But if your operations don’t follow through on that promise, it can immediately sour the perception of your brand and undermine the potential customer rapport you’ve spent so much time and effort building.
Thus, when your marketing efforts are out there, it’s up to you to ensure that your standards are upheld and maintained to offer customers an experience that reflects what you offer in your marketing. When you’re able to follow through in this way, your customers will realise that what they see really is what they get.
Make your customers feel valued
In its simplest possible terms, building customer rapport is all about ensuring that they feel valued. The more they feel this in their interactions with you, online or in person, the more likely they’ll be to shout your praises from the digital rooftops.
For help injecting some personality into your marketing communications to build rapport with your customers, get in touch and let’s chat about the possibilities that will work for your brand.