Why building a strong online community is a business’s best friend

As much as people say that social media is ruining personal relationships, for businesses, platforms like Facebook not only makes customer-to-business relationships stronger, it creates a loyalty and develops a give and take that is necessary for success.

Having an online relationship with a customer is beneficial for many reasons, and I might add that it’s beneficial for both parties, not just the business.

1.  It allows a business to have contact with their customer outside of the store or office and, more importantly, during the time when the customer isn’t looking to buy something. Car dealerships for example may only see their customer every 5 -10 years, so how do they stay in contact? Social media.

2.     Conversations online are often more meaningful or more honest than ones held in person. People find that they can be more honest saying how they feel over the internet because maybe they are too shy to express how they’re really feeling or feel pressure to keep their thoughts to themselves in person. In your personal life this can be potentially a bad way to express yourself, sure, but for a business it’s extremely beneficial. Online, people are able to provide very valuable feedback, whether positive or negative. Talking to a business in person can seem intimidating but opening your Facebook as a forum for people’s thoughts opens a new line of communication that may not have been possible before.

3.    Social media allows businesses to have a personality. Depending on who you have monitoring your social media and posting regular content, it shows your customers that you have a sense of humor or that you really are an expert in your field or that you are extremely passionate about local causes. It’s the best source of positive PR that you can get, if you take advantage of it. Yes, people can say negative things about you on your profiles but when you take care of it online, other followers will see how you handled yourself. Problems aren’t swept under the rug they have to be addressed, and if you can turn a negative into a positive it all works in your favor.

4.      It’s not a one way street. Traditional media is easy, you go to the newspaper, you give them your ad, pay for it and then they take care of it. Social media is work because you are constantly cultivating a relationship that will eventually lead to more sales. Like any relationship there are two sides. Traditional media is very one sided. You put out the information you want but you don’t see what the customer thinks about it. With social media it’s a conversation. You give them information and they give you information back. They learn from you and if you’re smart you will learn from them. It’s more work but it’s worth it because a customer who feels like they are heard and that you care will be far more loyal to the business in the long run. People don’t want to feel like you’re just trying to get stuff from them.

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