top of page

7 Steps For Forming Customer Relationships Online


Social Media Contacts: What To Do?  


During the most recent holiday week-end, I ended up in my favorite grocery store 3 times in the same day.     Yes, I know – I made a list and was very organized in order to save time.  


Even so, I left something off the list, and had to go back. And then after that, I had a “brilliant” idea on an addition to the meal, and went back for that. 


The Store Manager 

Each time, I saw the very friendly store manager. The first time, she actually came over and helped bag my humongous order, seeing as the store was very busy. We talked briefly about how busy it was due to the holiday.The second time I went back, as I walked by her, I just said, “I’m back!” and she smiled. The third time, I was obviously looking a little worse for wear. When I saw her I said “I am not coming back any more – this is the very last time!” She said “Oh, I hope not. We would miss you.”  


The following Monday, I ended up in the store again, this time actually to do some banking. The store manager came over and said to the teller, as she rubbed my shoulders “She had an exhausting week-end.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 Did she make me feel special and did she engage and form a relationship with me? You bet! Does it make me feel like I am special, and will I chat with her any time I see her in the store. Absolutely! And will I look forward to seeing her? Yep!


A Business Lesson                                                                                                                     

Thinking about this experience, I make the connection between what happened to me in this set of encounters above, and what I am constantly “preaching” in my webinars and seminars on using social media in business.  Engagement is the difference and what sets you apart online from everyone else out there.  Using social media online to gain new customers is no different than face-to-face encounters. Engagement and making a potential customer feel cared about is key.  


7 Steps To Forming Great Online Relationships                                                                    

So here is my list of 7 steps to forming a relationship online:


1.Post interesting content. This means content that is about the things your customers think about. What keeps your customers awake at night, what do they worry about. This content can not only be in the form of a blog article, infographic, image, quote, etc., but also be in the brief comments you make about someone else’s post.


2.Provide value. This is key. Provide information that is instantly usable to your potential client. Give your best information away for free in a consolidated form. Pay attention to what your clients want and need.


3.Make a connection. When first engaging with someone, take the time to find something in common, whether it is identifying with a similar problem, or having something in common with a piece of information you found in their online profile.


4.Be responsive.  This is huge. If someone posts a comment or a like, respond back quickly, same day if possible, no longer than 24 hours at maximum. Most online users expect a response within a few hours! Waiting a week or several days to respond is the same as not responding at all. Your potential customer has already forgotten and moved on.


5.  Be consistent. Set aside a specific time every day to check social media and like, comment, and respond. My suggestion is a half-hour in the morning and half hour again at the end of the day.


6.Move the relationship offline. This does not mean you stop communicating with the person online through social media. It just means you also add them to your email list, and/or email them as well. Why? You have no control over any of the social media sites. Their revenue models change and consequently they change the rules often, change what you can post or cannot post. You need to have control over your content and your relationships. 


7.And finally, have fun. Be friendly, and be human. We all want to feel special, and cared about. That very same feeling that store manager gave me of understanding and caring is what makes the difference, person-to-person. People buy from people and always will. Be that person!


For related articles on providing value to your customers, take a look at Double-Dipping and Hidden Charges.

bottom of page