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How to to build customer relationships with social media


Having a strong relationship with your target audience helps secure your brand as your customers’ go-to company when in need of your product or service. And you can easily do this by improving your customer care strategies as well as nurturing both potential and current customers into returning again and again.

In this guide, we’ll take a deeper dive into why building customer relationships is so important as well as share nine strategies to help you get started.

Why is it important to build customer relationships?

Social media has changed the way businesses and customers interact with each other, and it’s important that social media is seen as an avenue for real-time communication and feedback.

And just because you’ve converted a new customer through lead generation or a sale doesn’t mean your work is done. You need to continue to build and nurture those customer relationships on social media so they keep coming back again and again. When you do, they’ll start advocating for your business and assist in the marketing for you.

There’s nothing quite like word-of-mouth marketing, and having solid foundations with your customers is a great way to keep them excited about your business. When you have customers who have enthusiasm for your business, not only will they continue to shop with you, but they’ll tell their friends and family about you as well.

This is why building strong customer relationships is an essential part of business and marketing. It’s smarter to retain loyal customers and continue to build customer relationships than to try to solely convert new ones.

To break it down further, it’s important to build customer relationships because it:

  • Reduces customer turnover and improves customer loyalty. As with any organization, the less turnover the better. The same applies for customers: the longer you can retain your customers, the better mutual outcome. They receive excellent customer service and products from your business and, in turn, you receive their loyalty.
  • Increases the customer lifetime value (CLV). This is a great social media KPI to capture. The longer a customer remains loyal and purchases from your business, the greater the value this customer has in their relationship with you.

What makes a strong customer relationship?

Strong customer relationships occur when your brand becomes top-of-mind to your customers. When they start referring friends and family to your business. When they trust your business to always get its work right, every time.

It can be difficult to get to this point, though—which is why you’re here. Your brand needs to build trust and deliver on consistency, timeliness and quality again and again.

One of the best ways to do this is through better listening. Listening to your customers and analyzing what they say gives you deeper insights into how to best serve them. Exceeding expectations every time will help you solidify strong customer relationships.

But—without further ado—here are additional tips and tricks to help you build customer relationships.

How to build customer relationships with social media

While there are many avenues you can use to help you build customer relationships—a forum, your website, email marketing, your blog and so many more—we’re here to talk about how you can do so through your social media platforms.

After all, you’ve worked hard to grow your following. Why not use that audience to convert and nurture longterm relationships with customers?

Here are our top nine tips for you.

1. Create a customer service social media channel

One great way to get started with relationship building on social media is to create a dedicated customer service channel. There are a few ways to do this.

First, you could simply take customer service requests on your existing social media accounts. X, specifically, is perfect for customer care.

However, many brands choose to create an X account specifically for handling customer service requests as well as communicating product support issues and resolutions. (Do a “support” or “customer support” search on X to find even more examples of customer service X accounts across a variety of industries.)

Here’s an example of Patreon’s X support profile—the brand has also linked to its main profile and a profile it has just for the website’s server status:

A screenshot of Patreon's customer support Twitter account

Additionally, you could add an option to your Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows customers to input customer service requests, or direct people to a support page on your website.

Ensure that all response times are quick and helpful to build a good reputation for your brand.

2. Use social listening to build customer relationships

Social listening is the act of monitoring certain topics and keywords online to ensure you find important mentions of your brand or related topics.

Sprout’s social listening tool collects and centralizes what people are saying about your brand, industry and related topics around your brand. With this information, you can modify and improve your campaigns and messages. Make more informed decisions to help your customers solve their problems and provide valuable answers to questions.

Or, utilize this knowledge to gather a list of blog posts, new features and learning resources that you know your audience wants to see.

Screenshot of Sprout's Listening Dashboard showing competitor share of voice

3. Listen to customer feedback

It’s one thing to have an outlet for customers to provide feedback. It’s another entirely to actually do something with that feedback.

Show your customers that you care about their input by putting their suggestions and wants into practice.

Whether it’s a new product that you launch or a new feature in your software, listening to and implementing customer feedback is an essential step in gaining their trust and loyalty. It shows that you hear their concerns and needs and you’re willing to act on it for their benefit.

4. Personalize customer experiences

Another great way to build customer relationships is through personalization. Consider adding a live chat widget to your website for support and customer questions. Your audience will be able to speak to a real person who calls them by their name and provides a real experience.

Other ways to personalize experiences are by ensuring social media interactions and email newsletters include your recipient’s first name. Here’s an example of how Victoria’s Secret personalized a response on X.

A personalized Twitter response from Victoria's Secret to a customer

Whether you’re dealing with customer service issues or simply interacting with your followers’ tweets, creating that personal connection is key.

5. Create a relatable brand voice

One of the best ways to build strong connections to your audience: be relatable! Social media should be fun, and while you don’t have to be overly casual, there are still ways to let your audience enjoy your presence through your brand voice.

Take a page out of MoonPie’s X account. The brand shares humorous content, jumps on memes it can relate back to its brand, and takes any opportunity it can to hype up the moon.

A screenshot of a MoonPie tweet

Try sharing memes that are timely and relevant to your brand, use current lingo and take a look around at other brands to see if you can get any ideas to help your brand voice become more relatable online.

6. Offer rewards and incentives

We all love free stuff, which is why putting together contests and giveaways is one great way to offer rewards and incentives to your audience.

Check out this giveaway from Fable England on Instagram. The brand asks Instagram users to follow a few quick steps—including leaving a comment and tagging friends—in order to enter the giveaway. It’s effortless and it gets followers excited and engaged.

A screenshot of a Fable England post on Instagram

Consider sharing flash sales on social media, including freebies and discount codes.

Here’s a great example from Pepsi, sharing a promo code that offers some kind of freebie or savings surrounding the brand’s latest co-branding partnership.

A screenshot of a tweet by Pepsi

Think about the ways that you can implement these tactics in your own social media strategy.

7. Share user-generated content

Customers love to share and tag brand products in their photos when posting on social media. This is called user-generated content, or UGC, and is a helpful tactic both for community building and for filling your social calendar up with hyper-relevant content.

For example, dog subscription box retailer Bark uses UGC in its Instagram strategy to showcase various dogs of Instagram for engaging and adorable content. The brand always tags the original creator to give due credit. It’s important to note that you should ask permission before reposting a users’ photograph onto your brand account.

Here’s an example of one of Bark’s UGC posts:

A screenshot of a UGC post on Bark's Instagram

As a way to build a community and encourage your customers to share their photos of your product is to put some sort of call-to-action for your followers. Share this in your bio, like we see below on Nestle’s Instagram bio—the brand has asked for users to tag its profile in photos of their “delicious moments.”

A screenshot of Nestle's Instagram bio asking for UGC

8. Provide value on social media

There are so many different types of content you can create on social media. Some will—of course—be more promotional in nature, because your business is to make a profit both solve customer’s problems and needs as well as make a profit.

However, you need to ensure there’s a good balance between your promotional content and the educational and free value you provide to your audience, whether it’s freebies, discount codes or knowledge.

Share your business’ value visually in a Facebook or Instagram carousel, or you can create an X (formerly known as Twitter) thread that shares information like we did below.

A screenshot of a Twitter thread from Sprout Social

Share blog content and create educational videos to inform your audience even more. Providing free value helps to showcase how beneficial your product must be, bringing in new customers and building a relationship to help those customers stick around.

9. Build an online community

Our last tip for building customer relationships is to focus on building a community. Whether it’s through a Facebook Group, an other online community or branded hashtags, invite your audience to participate.

One great example of a highly active Slack community is Superpath, a content marketing-focused Slack group. The founder publishes posts in an #announcement channel to share valuable content, conversations in the group and a call-to-action to join the paid channels.

A screenshot of an admin post in the Superpath Slack community

You can create your own Facebook Group, start a Slack community or look into other platforms perfect for community building. This is a great way to keep people aware of and talking about your brand, even when you’re not directly selling to them.

How is AI used to build customer relationships?

AI, or artificial intelligence, can also play a role in building customer relationships. A number of AI and machine learning tools have come out of the woodwork in the last couple of years, helping to automate and streamline processes to make teams even more efficient.

Using AI in customer service can help with relationship building in a number of ways:

  • Be more proactive with your customer support
  • Scale customer care to help more people faster
  • Improve the quality of your support chatbots
  • Personalize customer interactions

All in all, incorporating AI can help your customer support team do their job better and more quickly. And the better your customer support is, the more likely customers are apt to stick around and continue buying from you.

Start building customer relationships

Are you feeling ready to set off on your own and build valuable relationships with your followers and customers? Use these nine tips to help you navigate your relationships and incorporate them into your overall customer experience strategy. Providing the best possible customer experience is going to improve your customer relationships.

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