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Posted: February 28, 2014

Top five Facebook relationship rules for business

Social media is all about relationships

Michelle Ellis

Social media is all about relationships, particularly on Facebook. This is critical to remember as a small business using Facebook as a marketing platform. It doesn’t matter what your message is, people won’t listen if you aren’t trying to engage and relate to them authentically. There are many ways to do this, but here are five key ways to foster successful relationships on Facebook.

  1. Know Your Audience – Standing in a football field shouting out your message to the masses is not an effective means of marketing. Neither is building a Facebook fan base of whoever you can get to “like” your page. It is imperative to know who your audience is and then find a way to reach and interact with them.
  2. Be Transparent and Authentic – You don’t develop relationships with people who act as if they care about you, when all they really care about is selling to you. You develop relationships with people who are authentic and don’t hide what their intentions are. The same is true for businesses online. The businesses that find the most success on Facebook are transparent and authentic with their fans. They are truthful in their marketing and open in their sharing. The only way to do this is to know your audience through and through.
  1. Serve Don’t Sell – If you have a friend that constantly tries to “sell” you or one-up you and doesn’t show any interest in you as a person, you likely won’t stay friends for long. When your Facebook page posts only talk about your business and products, they become nothing more than advertisements or spam – which no-one wants to see in their Facebook feed. It is fine to occasionally share this information on your business page, but you should strive to be helpful and find ways to serve your fan base. You can easily do this by offering solutions to the problems your customers may be having and sharing information with them that would be of interest them.
  2. Listen – No-one likes sitting at a table with the person who won’t stop talking about themselves. The same is true on Facebook. Your social media interactions need to be two-way, this isn’t all about you. Pay attention to what your fans are saying. Follow their pages, see what they are sharing and engage – comment and share. Listening is an art that is underrated, but critical in building good relationships.
  3. Connect – At the end of the day it’s all about connecting. Relationships don’t happen when they are one-sided. It takes two people to connect. You don’t connect with people who are solely focused on themselves. Any relationship that has trust, a genuine appreciation and caring about one another in one that creates a true connection that goes both ways. To have an authentic relationship with your fans, you must connect with them by engaging and building your community through conversation and becoming a trusted resource that solves your fans’ problems (with no hidden agenda). Just like you would with your friends and family.

Social media has certainly changed the way we do business and connect with our customers, but relationships are still key. Remember, just like off the web in the real world, relationships are not built overnight. You need to be consistent and genuine to build a strong fan base over time.

Learn more about how to use these tips to develop genuine relationships on Facebook and become a trusted resource for your fans at our Social Media for Small Business Workshop: Boost Your Business on Facebook on Wednesday, March 12. Click here to learn more about the workshop and register today; ColoradoBiz readers will receive a 10 percent discount off of individual registration using the promo code ColoradoBiz at checkout.

Michelle Ellis is the vice president of Orapin Marketing + Public Relations (OMPR) and a veteran communications professional with more than 15 years of experience in local, regional and national public relations programs, social media camp aigns, marketing communications, community relations and event promotion, as well as broadcast journalism. Contact her at hello@orapinmarketing.com or at 720.515.8219.
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