My father often said, “Show me your friends and I will show you, you.” He was talking about reputation and influence. One of my clients, a professional service provider, said: “We only do business with people we like.”
While the words “friends” and “like” now have new connotations online, I wanted to explore how content can foster friendly, profitable, influential relationships. Your level of engagement with customers should be intentional. Once those decisions are made, these content ideas can support your intention.
Help People Make Beneficial Decisions
Those who already own and use your product are decision makers. They can be good sources for relaying how they benefitted and why they decided on you. Let them speak through testimonials, in comments and profiles.
Customers are investors in your company. How did they first connect with you? How do they consume? Learn their language and patterns of behavior. Recognize their skills. Benefit filled content reinforces their decisions.
Empower your employees. Train them to use social media and give them a guideline that reflects the human side of your business.
Give advice and recommendations on what is most useful under what conditions. Highlight “most popular” items.
Assess the tone of your content. If it doesn’t sound like you, change it.
Offer Something New
People get bored. Use whatever methods and co-creators you can find to offer something new. Create a difference and build strong content around it. You will gain members and affiliates who share your interests and insights.
Innovation gives others a reason to write about you and widens your audience of like-minded people. The more stakeholders, the better. I have seen some great things come from strategic partnerships between businesses.
When it comes to their needs everybody wants to be consulted and engaged. Don’t sell. Lead your visitors on a path of discovery. Nurture leads with infographics, ebooks, white papers and videos that convey your reliability as a source.
Stay trustworthy. Tell an authentic story. Ask if their questions were answered (this can be an automated email response to those who download your material). Listen and respond.
Be consistent in your purpose and commitment to improve. Become transparent. Your friends, followers and fans and their friends, followers and fans will be more likely to heed your call to action.
The president of a well respected non-profit told me her secret to building lasting relationships with generous donors: “Always, always say thank you. Then say it again.”
Thank you for reading this post. What are some of the ways you build satisfying business relationships online?