If you’ve been trying to improve your relationships with customers, the missing ingredient might be you.
While you’ve been busily trying to get to know them, they may be wondering about the face behind the curtain. So, try these strategies to reveal the personal side of your brand and you’ll be amazed at how it contributes to your business growth.
Say It With Pictures
One of the best ways to create a personal relationship with your customers is to share behind-the-scenes photographs from your business. Instagram has made this easy, but you can share photos in other ways as well.
Try adding them to promotional postcards or just posting them on your Facebook brand page. When customers can see what’s happening behind the scenes, they’re more likely to feel a connection to you and your business.
Celebrate Your Team
Did one of your employees accomplish something great today? Is someone having a birthday? These are all things you should share. After all, your customers know how great it feels when they are praised or even just remembered.
When your business demonstrates this kind of recognition as part of the company culture and ethos, customers will feel great about doing business with you. Everyone wants to take part in a culture of recognition.
Have you noticed that lately your Facebook brand page is a little dead? It’s hard to get people liking, sharing and talking. The problem may be that you’re asking questions, but you’re not answering them. Now is the time to answer your own questions.
This is the best way to initiate conversations. The questions alone are not enough. When you answer questions, you make yourself vulnerable, plant ideas, and give customers a little bit more information about who you are as a person and a business owner. You can also source answers from employees to include in these conversations or encourage them to jump in.
Whether you own a brick and mortar store or a small Internet startup, one way to reach customers more effectively and build personal relationships is to engage with your local community. One way to do this is to hold an event based around supporting a local sports team. This gives customers the chance to interface with you and your employees in person around a shared interest. When your company is seen as supporting the community, the community is also more likely to rally around you.
What if you run a Internet business? No problem. This strategy can still work for you with a little creativity. Encourage employees to each attend a local sporting event while wearing company gear and feature them in your online marketing campaigns. You can even create a thread where you, your employees, and your customers all attend an event on the same day and post pictures. Running an online business doesn’t mean you can’t connect in the real world.
This tip is popular with bookstores, but it works well for a range of businesses. Have your employees write short tip-based recommendations for some of the products that you sell.
They can say a little bit about what they like about that product and how they use it. Post this with a picture of the team member in a visible location, either on your website of in your store. This can encourage conversations between customers and employees. Most importantly you’ll connect your products with real people who use them.
It’s Time To Get Personal
The Internet age has made all of our interactions, but especially business interactions, increasingly impersonal. Now is the time to reverse this trend. By helping your customers get to know your team members, you’ll build relationships and loyalty, and set your business apart from your competitors. Get personal and reap the rewards.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Anna Johansson is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, iMediaConnection.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Connect with @Number1AnnaJo on Twitter and LinkedIn.