Using Twitter to build relationships

Organisations like Dell have shown that social media can be a useful communications tool in helping us achieve trust and commitment from key stakeholders.   Successful relationships are built on effective communications so how can we use social media to help build them?

Timely: make sure your social media updates are frequent and well-timed.  Are your stakeholders online during office hours or are they night owls?  Getting to know what time your stakeholders expect you to communicate with them and responding appropriately will ensure your messages get through.

Win-win:  communication is a two-way process and every party needs to obtain value from it.  Collaborating with your stakeholders through comments boxes, direct messages, hash tags and lists will build loyalty to your brand as well as providing invaluable insights from your customers via their feedback.  Indeed, Dell state that when they direct message their followers they often become advocates.

Interesting: if what you are communicating about isn’t of interest there is no reason for your stakeholders to engage.  It sounds obvious but so many of us get it wrong.  If your blog is about electrical engineering, finding out what your target market is also interested in and tweeting about it can enrich your stakeholders’ interactions with your blog.

Transparent:  open and honest communication is valued by stakeholders.  When Vodafone tweeted an expletive recently they were heralded for the transparent way they responded when people complained.  The very nature of Web 2.0 means that people will see through you if you bend the truth using social media.

Tailored:  modern technology enables us to personalise digital communications from mail merging in the names of the people on your distribution list, to customising your content according to their preferences.  You can communicate directly with your followers through Twitter and Facebook and tailoring your messages is proven to build customer loyalty.

Engaging: it’s important to connect with your customers on a level they are comfortable with.  Brand-engagement goes a step further than simple brand-interest so it is important to invest time in researching what content will really get under your stakeholders’ skin.

Relevant: keeping your social media updated with current content trends, tweeting about the news and blogging about the market place will ensure your communications stay relevant.  It’s a lot cheaper and easier to keep our social media current than it is a print or TV campaign so take advantage of the medium for what it is.

P.S.  I asked my twitter followers whether it was naff to make up your own acronyms and no-one said no which is why I went ahead with it. Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment.

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