How brands can build social relationships that deliver real value

Social relationship marketing is a key imperative, or should be, for all brands — both B2B and B2C. Social works in all stages of a customer’s discovery of a brand’s products: Discovery, Exploration, Purchase, and post purchase Engagement. There are jobs for social at each stage.

But the way social relationship marketing is being done by most brands today is failing. Why?

1. Because organic posts are now effectively zero — your social audiences aren’t seeing your content, and

2. Even fewer people are interacting with the posts they see.

Social audiences have to be tapped with social advertising. It’s no longer remotely reasonable to believe audiences will find your social posts just by discovering them in the Newsfeed (organically).  And similarly, it’s less valuable to drive them to your social presence.  You should be driving them to the only place you own — your brand website.

How can brands address failing social relationship marketing? Two ways:

1. By using social networks that aren’t squeezing organic reach as much yet — Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn are good examples of places where audiences can be reached effectively, and

2. By adding social relationship tools to the brand’s website, such as branded communities, ratings, reviews, places to comment and share, and places to enjoy and share fan-created social content. Audiences are ‘trained’ on social practices. Put that training to use on your brand website.

The brand’s website remains universally the #1 place a customer will go to follow up with a brand after purchase — to give feedback, find out more, ask questions, give praise, or complain. All those interactions are relationships that can be managed and nurtured through good social practice.

Check out this excellent Adweek Webinar “Reboot Your Social Strategy,” presented by Nate Elliot of Forrester. There’s some great stuff in there worth thinking about.