Aside from quality of the actual product or service that your business provides, the number one thing that customers look for in a company is the service; in fact, this has been shown to be true no matter what era of business we are in. Customers want to feel as though they are legitimately valued as both a person and a customer. One of the best ways that you as a business owner can help build that trust and loyalty in your relationship with your customers is through the use of social media marketing.

General Social Media Rules

Before engaging in any kind of trust-building campaign with customers using social media, here are a few points to consider:

  • Consistency - don't start and then disappear. Commit to a campaign long-term.
  • Speed - respond to positive and negative commentary quickly: within minutes.
  • Positive - always stay positive no matter how frustrated the customer may be.
  • Value - add value to the conversations that customers are having with friends. No back-patting allowed.
  • Policy - have an explicit policy regarding how your staff will respond to customers.

Blogs

You can use your blog to post updates and little stories about what is going on in your place of work. Post pictures of new products and employees, blurbs about any new changes, and sneak-previews of things that are in the works. The best part about using a blog, aside from the general quality of allowing customers feel as though they are part of the process, is that customers can add comments to your posts.

Positive or negative, you can take this as an opportunity to respond directly back to them. This gives the customer that commented, as well as onlookers, the impression that you actually care about their input.

Twitter

Twitter is an easy way to periodically post short statements about what’s happening on a daily basis in the office. There is also a “retweet” option as well as an option to reply and mention other Tweeters in your tweets. Therefore, customers have the opportunity to mention you in their tweets if they are exceptionally pleased or displeased with you as a company. They'll also retweet when you provide something of value to their followers: coupons, funny quotes, or quality content.

You can monitor when one of your tweets is retweeted. Again, this is an opportunity that you can take to respond directly back to them. Even if they have given you positive input, thank them. Never underestimate the power of being gracious. Make your customers feel special and appreciated.

Facebook

As far as social media marketing goes, Facebook is kind of like the combination of a Twitter and a blog. You can upload pictures, post status updates, create a Fan page with company information, etc. Customers will post directly to this fan page if they have a problem with your company or product.

Respond quickly and appropriately, giving them feedback on how you are working to find a solution to their problem or simply give them the answer to whatever question they pose. Remember, everyone that goes to your page will be able to view your response, so word your answers well.

Remember that social media presents you an opportunity to engage directly with your customers. Trust is built when customers see you engaging beyond the sale. When you provide value post-purchase, they will trust that you want them to have a positive experience well after money has exchanged hands, that you care about their experience, and that they have an outlet if there are concerns.