Over the last 15 years, social media has transformed into one of the most powerful and widely used methods for building brand awareness and engaging with your audience through various forms of content.
Despite the name, ‘social’ media, without taking the time to create and build an engaging and audience-focused approach to social media marketing, you could end up alienating and destroying the rapport that you have built with your audience.
So how do you create a strategy that not only helps to build rapport but maintains it as well?
#1 - Establish a Brand Personality
Social media is one of, if not the best environment to build and showcase your brand’s personality.
Without a brand personality, your organisation is simply seen as an entity that is focused on one thing - making money. Although this may be true in a business respect, if your sole aim with your social media activities is to throw as much information about your offerings to an audience you have barely engaged with, you won’t see a great deal of success.
Your business’ values, its mission, and your vision for what you want to achieve with the business all go into building your brand personality and gives your audience something to relate to on an emotional level.
A great example of an organisation that has built a very strong brand personality, is Tesla.
Tesla’s social media presence is one that is followed by not only genuine business prospects but also people that just enjoy the content that they share.
In almost every Tweet that they post, there is a bit of the company’s personality on show to make what most people would view as rather bland promotional posts/content, seem more natural, engaging, and even entertaining.
One example of this is the following post that Tesla shared back in October 2019.
The post helped to add a comical and interesting tone to what would have been just a bland post about one of their latest vehicle model’s crash testing.
Compare this to Ford, who at the end of last year announced the release of a new all-electric Mustang to rival Tesla, and their post didn’t showcase a great deal of brand personality, and the difference in engagements is definitely visible.
When you compare the comedic plain text post shared by Tesla, and the video content showcasing the Mustang Mach-E that Ford posted, Tesla received over 1,213% of the engagements that Ford did.
If that wasn’t enough, as of September 2020, Tesla is sitting on 6.1 million followers on Twitter, with Ford only on 1.2 million.
This just goes to show that even if you are an international, multi-billion pound company, not every social media post or content piece that you share has to be serious or written in a formal business tone. Sometimes, taking a more relaxed approach and adding a bit of personality to your posts, makes them more likely to stand out and resonate more with your audience, building more of a connection and building rapport.
#2 - Personalisation
Just as with Email Marketing, Telemarketing and other forms of segmented marketing, personalisation is a big part of building rapport on social media.
There are numbers of different ways to approach personalisation on social media, but we’re going to focus on the two main areas – audience segmentation and individual interactions.
There may not be a way to personalise your social media posts for each individual that it reaches, however, there is a rather simple way to personalise your posts based on which audience you are targeting.
To segment your audience, you need to take a look at the types of people that follow your social media accounts and the information that can help you to define what audience they belong to.
When developing your social media content with the hopes of building rapport, do so with a specific audience in mind. Don’t just think about what you want to post, think about what your audience wants to see and what would be valuable to them, because the chances are, these could be entirely different things.
Be sure to do your research into the industries and sectors they work/operate in as this will help you to develop content relevant to your audience.
Have there been any recent changes within their industry that you could focus on? Are there any key topics of discussion that would resonate with the audience?
Engaging with your followers and other social media users is essential for building rapport on social media platforms.
These interactions could be as simple as liking and commenting on their posts, getting involved in discussions with individual users or groups, or naturally linking to pieces of your content that answer a question or provides a solution to an issue that a user has posted about.
These interactions show that you are taking the time to provide value to your social media followers and are open to engaging in discussions with them and wider audiences.
This natural engagement on social media helps to build rapport with your followers and members of your target audiences on an individual basis, and will help to grow our online following and increase the amount of reciprocal engagement you will receive on your social media posts.
#3 - Get Discussions Started
One of the best ways to build rapport with your prospects on social media, is to kickstart discussions that are relevant to their business that they are likely to engage with or get involved in discussions that they have started themselves.
When looking to start discussions with your prospects, try to determine which topics of discussion will result in a positive discussion, and which could result in a negative or heated discussion.
Of course, when hoping to build rapport with your prospects, you will want to steer away from topics that could result in a negative interaction and keep to more thought-provoking discussions that will stick with your prospects.
A great example of a business that utilises discussions to engage with their customers and prospects is HubSpot.
Their social media updates on LinkedIn are often focused on the experiences that their followers have had with digital marketing, inbound sales, and business development as a whole.
One example is one of their recent posts, in which they asked their audience what the best decision they had made for their marketing strategy over the past month.
With each interaction they received from their followers, they engaged back and commented on what the person had felt was their best decision, and actively encouraged them or enquired further into how the marketing strategy had panned out.
Quite clearly, this type of social media post isn’t focused on HubSpot forcing marketing collateral about their CRM or Inbound Sales software down their followers’ throats, but rather starting positive discussions about their marketing success and providing support and encouragement to their audience through natural engagement.
#4 - Use the 80:20 Rule
The 80:20 rule in social media refers to the content being 80% posted to inform, educate, and entertain your audience, with the other 20% directly promoting your business. This is the golden rule for social media and can help you build excellent rapport with your prospects.
Following this rule means your content shouldn’t just be all about your business and sales pitch, because who wants to listen to that all the time?
Instead, the majority of content should provide value to your audience and not just advertising. This type of content should be things like blog posts, fun team updates, entertaining videos, etc. It should be the type of content that your audience would enjoy seeing and want to engage with. This is the content that is best for building rapport with your prospects.
When it comes to the other 20% where you are just promoting your business this is the chance where you can use the rapport that you have built with prospects to try to persuade them to invest in your business and create a conversion.
It’s about the balance between business pitches and content valuable to the prospects.
#5 - Build Engagement First, Pitch Later
Many people make the mistake of connecting with someone on social media and going straight into their sales pitch. This is often the case on LinkedIn, and these people will pitch to as many accounts as they can in the hopes that it will generate interest and result in a sale.
However, pitching your offering to someone you have only just connected with can damage your brand image as it just shows that you only care about one thing – getting a sale.
No prospect will ever want to listen to your sales pitch if they have no idea of who you are, and you haven’t previously engaged with them.
If you want your prospect to listen, first get to know them. Start by engaging with their posts by liking, commenting, and sharing their content. This shows you care about the prospects posts and builds a foundation for your relationship with them. Building this level of rapport before making your initial pitch will make the prospect feel like they aren’t talking to a complete stranger, but rather someone who has taken the time to engage with their content and provide value back to them.
The more you engage with your prospects prior to the initial pitch, they will be more open to listening to your pitch and getting into a discussion. However, don’t overdo your engagement; sharing and commenting on every single post they send can look just as bad as not engaging at all. You need a good balance of engagement with the content you think is most relevant, so you don’t come off too strong.
You need to engage naturally and not act too business-like in order to build a good level of rapport with a prospect. By engaging correctly, you can be on the right path to building great business opportunities.
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