Marketing your business and generating new customers is only part of the larger business puzzle. Another piece of this puzzle is taking care of these people so you can build lasting customer relationships.

In this guide, we’ll dig deeper into why building customer relationships is so important and introduce nine strategies to get you started.

Why building customer relationships is important

Social media has changed the way businesses and customers interact with each other, and it is important that social media is viewed as a way of real-time communication and feedback.

Just because you converted a new customer through lead generation or sales doesn’t mean your job is done. You need to build customer relationships on social media so that they will keep coming back – and they will be committed to your business and help you with marketing.

There’s nothing like word of mouth marketing, and having a solid foundation with your customers is a great way to get them excited about your business. When you have customers who are passionate about your business, not only will they keep buying from you, but they will also tell their friends and family about you.

Because of this, building strong customer relationships is an essential part of business and marketing. It’s cheaper – and smarter – to retain loyal customers than just convert new customers.

Make sense? Now let’s dive into these nine strategies to help you build lasting customer relationships using social media.

How to build customer relationships on social media

There are many ways you can build customer relationships – a forum, your website, email marketing, your blog, and so much more – but we’re here to talk about how you can do this through your social media platforms can do.

After all, you’ve worked hard to grow your fan base. Why not use this audience to build and maintain long-term relationships with customers?

Here are our top nine tips for you.

1. Create a social media channel for customer service

A great way to start building relationships on social media is by setting up a dedicated customer service channel. There are a few ways to do this.

For starters, you can take a page out of the Sprout Social book and create a Twitter account specifically for handling customer service inquiries and for submitting product support problems and solutions. (Do a search on Twitter for “support” or “customer support” for even more examples of Twitter accounts for customer service in a variety of industries.)

Additionally, you can add an option to your Facebook Messenger chatbot that allows customers to enter customer service requests or direct people to a support page on your website.

Make sure all response times are quick and helpful in building a reputation for your brand.

2. Use social listening

Social listening monitors certain topics and keywords online to make sure you can find important mentions of your brand or related topics.

Sprout’s Social Listening Tool collects and centralizes what people are saying about your brand, industry, and related topics related to your brand. You can use this information to modify and improve your campaigns and messages. Make more informed decisions to help your customers solve their problems and provide valuable answers to questions.

Or, use this knowledge to gather a list of blog posts, new features, and learning resources that you know your audience will want to see.

Screenshot of Sprout's Listening Dashboard showing the competitor's vote share

3. Listen to customer feedback

It is one thing to have a point of sale for customers to provide feedback. Actually doing something with that feedback is an entirely different matter. Show your customers that you care about their posts by putting their suggestions and wishes into practice.

Whether it’s a new product you’re launching or a new feature in your software, listening to and implementing customer feedback is an essential step in gaining their trust and loyalty. It shows that you hear their concerns and needs and are ready to respond to them for their benefit.

4. Personalize the customer experience

Another great way to build customer relationships is through personalization. Add a live chat widget to your website for support and customer questions. Your audience can talk to a real person who will call them by their name and provide a real experience.

You can also personalize your experience by making sure that social media interactions and email newsletters contain your recipient’s first name. Here is an example of how Visme personalized a response on Twitter.

Vismes personalized response to a user on Twitter

Whether you’re dealing with customer service issues or simply interacting with your followers’ tweets, making that personal connection is key.

5. Create an assignable brand voice

One of the best ways to build strong connections with your audience: be reliable! Social media should be fun, and while you don’t have to be too casual, there are still ways that your audience can enjoy your presence through your branding voice.

Take a page from MoonPie’s Twitter account. They share humorous content, jump on memes that they can associate with their brand, and take every opportunity to badmouth the sun.

Screenshot of a MoonPie tweet with his playful brand voice.

Try to share memes that are timely and relevant to your brand, use the cutting edge jargon, and look around other brands to see if you have ideas on how to get your brand voice better understood online.

6. Offer rewards and incentives

We all love free content, which is why putting together contests and giveaways is a great way to offer rewards and incentives to your audience.

Check out this giveaway from Aerie on Instagram. They ask Instagram users to leave a comment with a branded hashtag and tag a friend to participate. It’s effortless and thrills your followers.

Screenshot of an Aerie giveaway on Instagram.

Consider sharing Flash sales on social media, including freebies and discount codes.

Here’s a great example from Fast engaging the audience and introducing the business to potential customers.

@Fast Twitter exchange of messages about a flash sale and release of discount codes based on responses.

Think about how you can implement this tactic into your own social media strategy.

7. Share user-generated content

Customers love to share and tag branded products in their photos when they post on social media. This is known as User Generated Content, or UGC, and is a helpful tactic for both community building and populating your social calendar with hyper-relevant content.

For example, online swimsuit retailer Cupshe uses UGC in its social strategy to showcase its customers in their various styles and sizes. In return, they tagged the original account that shared the photo of themselves in one of their swimsuits. It’s important to note that you should ask for permission before reposting any user’s photo on your branded account.

To build a community and encourage your customers to share their photos of your product, create a branded hashtag. Do share this in your bio as we see on A Color Story’s Instagram bio below.

Screenshot of A Color Story's Instagram bio with a branded hashtag for community engagement and UGC.

8. Offer value on social media

There are so many different types of content that you can create on social media. Some will – of course – be more of a promotional nature because your business consists of making a profit that will both solve the problems and needs of customers and make a profit.

However, you need to make sure that there is a balance between your promotional content and the educational and free value you offer your audience, whether it be freebies, discount codes, or knowledge.

Visually share your company’s value on a Facebook or Instagram carousel, or create a Twitter thread to share information as described below.

Screenshot of a Twitter thread from Grammarly that is informative and shows empathy.

Share blog content and create educational videos to educate your audience even more. By providing free value, you can show how beneficial your product needs to be, attract new customers, and build a relationship that will help those customers stay close.

9. Build an online community

Our final tip for building customer relationships is to focus on building a community. Invite your audience to participate, whether through a Facebook group, another online community, or branded hashtags.

A good example of a highly active Facebook community is The Daily Carnage, a marketing-focused Facebook group run by the Carney agency. The agency publishes posts to the group, but the conversations are usually member-led and are always about marketing.

Screenshot from the Daily Carnage Facebook Group asking designers to apply for a job posting.

You can create your own Facebook group, start a Slack community, or check out other platforms that are perfect for community building. This is a great way to get people noticed and talk about your brand, even if you’re not selling to them directly.

Build customer relationships today

Do you feel ready to go into business for yourself and build valuable relationships with your followers and customers? Use these nine tips to help you find your way around your relationships, and don’t forget to check out our free social media templates for even more content ideas.