In the digital age, you are more available than ever before to your customers. This is a huge advantage for your business, but if you get it wrong you can also do huge damage. People are fond of ascribing a poorly judged tweet to ‘the social media intern’, but the fact is, poorly handled direct communication can do such damage to a business that most corporate Twitter accounts are handled by specialist social media managers.
Today we’re taking a look at how you can talk to your customers and build a better relationship with them – and how you can make mistakes and undermine that relationship.
The Most Important Quality
The thing you must strive for – and not look like you’re striving for – is authenticity. Social Media authenticity is the thing that builds audiences: the idea that people can interact in good faith with your brand.
To achieve this, you need to clearly understand the values people ascribe to your brand. It’s worth conducting market research to confirm this – for all the work you put into it, it’s customers who decide what your brand is. If you’re wrong in your understanding of what appeals to people about your business, you could make some damaging mistakes!
Once you know what people value about your brand, you need to communicate that clearly to your social media staff, to ensure they in turn communicate those values in their interactions with customers.
The worst mistake you can make is to expose a lack of authenticity in your social media interactions: to show the artifice behind the scenes. This makes customers distrust the interactions they’ve had with your business, but worse it makes them suspect your entire branding operation is insincere. This can undo thousands of pounds and years of work, and totally undermine your brand as a tool to bring in customers – ironically by revealing it as a tool to bring in customers.
The best solution to this is to ensure there is no artifice! If you found your brand on values you believe in, and hire people who share those values, then you’ll naturally find your footing with customers who sympathetic to your business and won’t need to ‘create’ a personality for your business. You can focus on clearly communicating the one that emerges naturally, and build a brand that thrives on authenticity.