For corporate social media success, building relationships with customers is essential. After all, their support is the foundation upon which a company’s reputation and business is built. Honest, reliable, and trustworthy interactions are what customers are seeking from companies, and if they find a reason to be distrustful of one business’s practices, they can simply take their business elsewhere.
Honesty is a key factor in building a successful online relationship between business and consumer. In order for a company’s online message to appear authentic, it must actually be authentic. Mashable’s Ted Rubin’s article on creating online relationships explains that not filtering out negative reviews or comments of your company is essential because “no one believes 100% positive feedback anyway.” Customers will have opinions of your company, and they are entitled to voice them. Being aware of critical messages in the online community about your company will only help you to know where changes are necessary.
No company has a perfect reputation, and having a realistic, conversational online persona can lead customers to positively perceive your brand. An article from the Social Media Examiner states that “the more we expose our vulnerability and show something that is not normally considered to be a strong business persona, the more people in the online world will know we care.” In Lauren Metz’s previous post, she explains how Citigroup used Twitter to gain customer service feedback from customers. As Citigroup’s social media engagement shows, trust is more easily established when customers feel that your company cares.
Company trustworthiness in turn creates a personal relationship with your brand advocates – who according to Rubin are “people who are so delighted by your product/service/brand that they can’t wait to tell their friends and their whole social networks about the experience.” High return rates will come from these brand advocates, as they will spread positive word-of-mouth advertising to those in their (rapidly expanding) social networks.
By: Claudia Pitarque