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  • Writer's pictureMartin Ferrand

Building Meaningful Customer Relationships

The original model of social-media engagement for commercial purposes was the “one night stand”. The goal was to attract a user’s attention, make the sale, and then vanish from their life -- preferably with mutual satisfaction and consent.

But as more people look to social media to make purchasing decisions, and the pool of suppliers for a given product or service grows exponentially, the “rules of engagement” are changing. The goal now is to build a meaningful relationship with the user, nurturing a sense of trust that will encourage repeat purchases or a long-term commitment to access services.

One important key to building a relationship, especially if the provider is an individual or small team, is the profile image. An arresting headshot or other image will attract a click to the bio notes, thus giving the face of a real person to the product. This is especially important if the product or service is a commercial realization of a passionate interest or particular skill set. Both the image and bio should be updated at regular intervals to keep the algorithms happy.

In building any relationship, timing is vital. Many socmed users, especially those with real jobs that structure their lives, tend to engage in various platforms at certain times of the day. The pattern of user engagements (the “velocity” in the jargon) often falls off dramatically in the second hour after posting. Comparing the velocity of posts among various time periods provides a simple method of gauging the optimal posting time for a particular product without resorting to complex statistical analysis.

The most important factor to consider is that any meaningful relationship on social media is a threesome: you, your customer, and an algorithm. Even when you follow all the rules, you can confuse the algorithm by, for example, joining engagement groups. Like millennial dating, building commercial relationships on social media is a minefield, and requires expert knowledge and long experience to get it right.

But the rewards of relationship management are there for the taking. To learn more about how you can initiate and nurture relationships with potential customers,

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