Relationships are the foundation of every business. With the world of technology seeping into every facet our lives, many businesses struggle with how to practically build relationships and integrate technology.
Nobody enjoys a one-sided conversation, especially one where you brag about all your achievements. We all naturally tune out those type of relationships because, in business, people want to know how you can help them. And if they are going to invest their time forming a relationship with you, they want to know if it’s in their best interest. No one wants to be treated like just a customer so when you can make people feel like they are meaningful to you than they will respond in loyalty.
When potential clients talk to me about how I can help them, marketing tools like Mailchimp and social media platforms are often brought up. They know they want to grow their reach but feel overwhelmed on how to do it. There number one reason – they don’t want to come off as gimmicky. My first question I ask them is if they are sending marketing emails or something that feels like a message from an old friend. We get so caught up in selling our product that we loose focus on the relational groundwork of our business that ultimately lays the foundation for a successful future. When you take the time to invest in a relationship, you open the potential for future opportunities.
I always advise my clients to have a balance in the emails they send – for every advertising email they send they need to double that with emails are connection based (a blog, a free resource, simply reaching out). Of course, it varies based on your business. The patience to not count on an immediate transaction has many new business owners discouraged, but those that do wait see results and those that cultivate relationships see results. Utilizing list segmenting tools and target audiences will even make those advertising emails feel personalized and generate a higher click rate. Catering these types of simple details will make networking feel more personal.
When you run your own business, your priority is customer service. Allow technology to serve as a customer service platform to help make and grow those connections. Knowing which social media outlets are best for your business are vital. It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking that you need to be on every social media platform. Having successful interactions on a couple social media platforms should be a priority over being mediocre on several platforms. When you can determine who and where your audience is, then you know which platforms to focus on. For example, if your selling something tangible like jewelry then visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are ideal. If your service is based on personal or professional development, then Facebook and LinkedIn are the platforms on which to focus.
While a large following helps your organic reach, you don’t need to mind blowing numbers to succeed. What keeps your audience coming back is the content you provide. If the average person spends about 20 minutes per session on social media, what makes them choose to look at your feed verses the adorable animal videos or latest trending fad?
Value and entertainment.
If your content is adding value and meaning to your audience, you’re configuring the social media algorithm accurately. Social media creators are making it harder than ever to allow the every day organic post to reach your audience. And posting solely items that are marketing based or take your audience away from a social media platform are being lost in the social media algorithm. While every business will connect with their audience differently, there are ways to take advantage. While I won't mention all of them, I will go over the ones my clients benefit from most.
Facebook Groups are proving to thrive beyond the Facebook Business Page -which is now used primarily to verify your business. Yes, people are actually turning to social media before your website to verify your business. Facebook Groups often offer support and advice in a specified field which people actually seek out over searching through multiple business Pages. At first, people want their specific need addressed so being active in Groups in your business focus, not only gives you credibility but raises your exposure. If you’re offering great advice, you’re going to be sought after.
Your Facebook Business Page isn’t rendered useless but still continues to be a venue to share news with your audience. No one wants to connect with someone who is all business. While your content should be relative to your field, it’s okay to show to lighter side of you through content that your audience would enjoy – everyone loves a good meme. With a career that allows me flexibility for my family, I’ll share photos and articles centering around that focus. And don’t be afraid of showing what goes behind the scenes – your audience wants to see you in action. They want to see what your workplace looks like and if you give back to your community. Since social media isn’t one-sided, don’t shy away from interacting with your audience. Respond to comments, ask for feedback, start the conversation – all while cultivating a stronger bond with your audience.
Every business professional should have a LinkedIn account because networking is always going to be important in business. When your connecting or reconnecting with business acquaintances, you’ll need to get in the habit to set aside a little time each day to get personal. Take advantage of the opportunity to reconnect and be more visible. Since no one has time to attend all the networking events, this is an easy way to congratulate people on their successes and comment on their posts. If you want to stay relative in your field, you have to make the time.
If you aren’t hiring someone to maintain your social media platforms, then developing a content calendar will help you get in the habit of posting consistently and layout what type of content you have or will be posting. Being active on social media platforms ultimately drives people to your website where you ideally have an email sign up waiting for them. When you can build your email list, you can build meaningful connections. And here we come full circle to how social media can help you with your meaningful connections.
About the Author
Kathryn founded KJ Virtual Assistance in 2016 on the sole principle that you should love the work you do. When reflecting on past positions, there was a prominent trend in administrative roles ranking amongst her favorite. From her time in the Operations Department at the University of Miami to assisting her College Chaplain, the various aspects of a support role have always fulfilled her. Learn more about Kathryn.