There is absolutely nothing worse than scrolling through the feed of my favorite platform when I’m suddenly interrupted with some random advertisement.

At this point most business owners would stop me in my tracks and say, “without advertising, how would we sell anything?”

With relationships, that’s how!

The hard truth to face is this:

“Social isn’t for selling, it’s for building trust.” – Sue Zimmerman

It’s tough to swallow because most businesses I’ve encountered have a misconceived notion that social strategies are all about getting their “product” in front of the billions of people that use apps like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat as their primary sources of communication.

But, that’s not how it works. Being on social media is not a magic pill a business can take to have “all eyes” on them. It’s a tool (a pretty powerful one at that) to help build your business in a relevant way for the century we are living in.

Some things I’ve learned.

I’ve managed social platforms for 10 companies, in 10 different industries over the past 4 years and never once has a single person flocked to any of those businesses the moment I made their presence known on social media. But growth was achieved, over and over again, when consistent relationship prompts were woven into the overall marketing strategy.

  1. Follow the 70/20/10 posting ratio rule. Knowing what to post on Facebook can be tricky. Follow this simple rule to create a social environment filled with meaningful engagement that leads to customer action.
  2. Prove you care. Don’t ignore the customer service evolution happening within the confines of Social Media. Yes, this includes publically addressing negative feedback. Solving problems in the open is the best way to show your company is genuinely concerned and the quickest way to win customers for life.
  3. Be Social! Social Media is so much more than a hot new Advertising outlet. It’s an effective platform to get to know your customers and how your product/service can enrich their lives. Talk with them, not at them. Here are 70 Content Marketing Ideas that are bringing Social Engagement back.
  4. Ask customers for ideas. It’s no surprise that Social Media Marketing has exposed weaknesses in a company’s ability to connect with customers in a meaningful way. According to Shoutlet’s latest findings, “Our research reveals that the best way for brands to get their messages heard by millennials is to market with them, not at them.” But, how the heck do you Market with them? Just ask!

Host Contests.This is a quick and easy way to build up the target audience you are seeking to isolate. Keep in mind an infrastructure of content and a clear goal must be in place long before your legal giveaway can take place. Yes, social platforms have specific guidelines to follow when conducting contests, so know the rules!

But I’m not the only one who has experienced this relationship based social phenomenon.

A few of my fellow Snap-Peeps feel the same way and even have their own insightful twists to it.

Kimba Cooper – Owner Kimba Digital Marketing:

“People use social media and other online platforms to feel like they are part of a community and to build relationships with others. The best marketers have always utilised the skill of building relationships to attract clients or sell products. It’s one of the things I love most about Snapchat. You truly see people and businesses for what they are and some companies are really benefitting as a result.”

Chris Baier, Creative Director and Snapchat pro had this to say:

While Helen Blunden of Activate Learning unearthed something a tad alarming:

“When interviewing business owners last year I discovered they had no interest in their staff to use any social media networks for relationship building (their comments were “they’ll not use it for work purposes mainly” or “not on my time and money”). However, they did all want social media marketing (push marketing – not engagement which wasn’t my area anyway).”

You see, social media doesn’t work when a top heavy push (advertising) format is in place. It’s only when actual people use social to show the transparently human side of a business, do you begin to see the magic happen.

It’s not too late to share your opinion, please feel free to tell me whether you want businesses to build a personal relationship with you or not, in the comments below.