It Is All About Relationships

As a local business, you face constant pressures from big “box” stores and other national companies that compete for your customers on price and selection. They sell things cheaper than you can buy them for, they run multi-million dollar marketing campaigns and they have more items in their stores than you could ever hope for. So how do you respond?

Most local business owners I know respond with “We provide better service.” Yes, but what does that mean? Everybody says that. I think for most it means that they know more about their clients and how to fulfill their needs than the impersonal national companies. Therefore, they are not really talking about “service” but “relationship.” So how do you build this relationship?

For years building this relationship meant taking time to get to know your clients. From learning their names, to who their family members were and knowing where they lived and worked. This took time and developed over many times of doing business together. But, what happens if someone only does business with you once? How do you build up that relationship so that they will come back? It is very difficult unless you see them regularly somewhere else like church or the county club. This is where Social media comes in and helps to solve this dilemma.

Social media not only allows you to build a relationship with those who only visit your business once, but also with those who have never been to your business. Social Media is all about relationship. It is a tool by which people can share what is happening in their life with their friends and family all at once, instead of one at a time. They can interact with each other about what is being shared, and all of this can be done from anywhere in the world. People love it and more and more are joining social media applications every day. This is communication from many people to many people for the first time in history and it is growing exponentially.

Here are 5 key ways that Social Media can help your local business build relationships with your clients and help you make money.

You can share personally with them so that they feel like they know you… the business owner. People do businesses with those they know and trust. To compete with impersonal box stores you must create “personality” in your business.

You can learn about them. You get to hear what is going on with them in their lives, interact with them from anywhere and be prepared when they are ready to do business with you.

Your clients introduce you to their friends and share their experiences with them. Social Media provides hundreds of ways for your clients to do this; writing a review, becoming a “Fan,” suggesting their friends become “Fans,” clicking on a “Like” button, “Checking-In” at your business, and the list goes on…..

You can reward your clients with specials and deals just for them. Social Media allows you to communicate with your customers and friends in real time. So rather than putting your special in the newspaper that goes to everybody, you can say “thank you” to those who are excited about your business.

Social Media helps you build your database so that you can continue the relationship into the future. When someone becomes a “Facebook Fan” or a “Twitter Follower” you now have a communication link that you can continue to use to build the relationship.

Finally, it is important to note that like any relationship Social Media takes work. You reap what you sow… but just like the tractor and the automatic seeder multiplied the planting efforts of the farmer, Social Media multiplies the sowing efforts of your local business. So whether or not you do it yourself or you hire a Social Media Manager someone has to “drive the tractor.”