Social Leverage to Connect with Clients

By Joryn

Social Leverage to Connect with Clients

Social media has altered the way that we make big purchases, that we announce our engagements to speak and our engagements to be married, that we proclaim our expanding families, oh, and even that we get married. And the content that we follow online becomes an extension of our social lives. While you and I may never meet in person, users get to know one another through this medium in the same way that readers used to become friends with their authors and journalists whose content they read.

But even more profoundly.

I remember my shocked dismay, 27 years ago, before MySpace, even before Six Degrees, when one of my law students announced his upcoming nuptials to a woman he had met and courted online. He was a tall, Lincolnesque figure, full of angles and sharp edges, and quite the intellect. When I met her (at the wedding), she was short and round and older than he, a serial author, as it turned out, of romance novels that he enjoyed reading. An unlikely couple, you would think, yet they are still married as I write this.

How much more advanced are our social media interactions today?

Social media now provides businesses with the opportunity to interact directly with users. Not only do users share how they live and what they think, but they search for products and for services that complement their lives and improve them. Thus, to successfully leverage social media, a business must become personally involved in the journey of its creation. Sharing how your services have enriched the experiences of your customers and clients not only attracts new purchasers but it also deepens your relationships with existing consumers.

Encourage User Feedback

Social media now provides businesses with the opportunity to interact directly with users. Not only do users share how they live and what they think, but they search for products and for services that complement their lives and improve them. Thus, to successfully leverage social media, a business must become personally involved in the journey of its creation. Sharing how your services have enriched the experiences of your customers and clients not only attracts new purchasers but it also deepens your relationships with existing consumers.

If you market successfully, you persuade people that your services or your products will improve their lives. Will you save them money? Will you take away their pain? Will you keep their children safe? Will you save them time? Will you help them lose weight? Consider the old ad campaigns that were so renowned for their success. The billboards. The infomercials. The TV commercials. What was it about each one that brought it such success and therefore such enduring fame?

Those same virtues are still what draw people to the products they buy and the services they retain. But today you don’t have to spend thousands (and thousands) of dollars on advertising to get the job done. Social media can do that for you.

And, with social media, you can know if your efforts were effective without paying thousands of dollars for a survey that the user will only begrudgingly answer. You can ask users directly and even feature their positive responses! It’s hard to fake passion. Seeing others ardently advocate for your services will inspire other consumers to give them a try, especially if they perceive that the testimonial was spontaneous, motivated by the awesome results of your services alone!

The experience must be authentic. The person who knows your product is the person who uses it. Did that cough syrup stop your baby from screaming in the middle of the night so that you can finally get some sleep? Did those special meal kits help you lose that extra 100 pounds that you’ve been carrying around since high school? Did that raw dog food save your best friend’s life? Authentic responses create a community of people with similar interests or values. People will associate the positive feeling of being seen as a user of your services and the community will sustain those relationships without you needing to drive them forward.

Don’t shy away from negative feedback! If a customer tweets an airline that his baggage was lost and the airline responds in a positive and sympathetic manner, then the airline looks good, despite the missing suitcase. The currency of social media is fast response time. Show your clients that you listen to their concerns and are available to help resolve their problems.

Share Your Values

The scariest aspect of social media is that a seemingly trivial moment can go viral in seconds. This phenomenon is strikingly illustrated by the story of Walter Carr, a college student in Alabama who walked 20 miles to his first day of work. When the company’s CEO heard Walter’s story, he gave Walter his personal car and set up a GoFundMe in his name!

This CEO wanted the world to know that his moving company values and rewards hard work. This is a value that his customers share. The Washington Post now runs a blog, anchored by the reporter who used to cover crime, policing, and police policy, called Inspired Life. Now she writes the stories people would rather read, about surprising or unusual tales of humanity, stories about the Walter Carrs of this world, and the moving company CEOs who both personify values that we all admire.

Social media can shine a spotlight on both those who contribute at your company as well as those who use your services! Do you donate to animal shelters because you adopted a black lab and she became your best friend? Post about it! Do you volunteer at the Lighthouse for the Blind because your dad went blind when he was just 61 years old? Post about it! Did you come down with juvenile diabetes at 32 years old because of the stress caused by your divorce? Post about it!

Highlighting what makes people special makes your brand special and gives your customers a cause to rally behind.

Stay Relevant

Have you ever started a conversation with someone and eventually realized that you had nothing in common? Did you leave the conversation feeling awkward or misunderstood? I’ve no doubt you felt that you had wasted your time even spending the ten minutes to reach that conclusion, right? Social media is powerful because it validates that other people think the same way that you do! Keep up with trending hashtags, TV shows, and viral moments. Engaging in common interests allows your clients to leave an interaction with you or your company feeling that you understand them.

You may not have an opinion on Carole Baskin, but your target audience is asking Siri if she killed her husband. Posting about Tiger King while it’s top of mind and the topic of choice for your audience will rank your posts higher in their news feeds. Now they can start a conversation with you. Eliminating their social anxiety will encourage your followers to reach out to you!

Show and Tell

Show-and-Tell is still “a thing”; we just define it differently these days. Before users buy your services, they now research how you impacted someone else. Posting video testimonials offers real feedback in a personal way. Seeing someone else’s journey helps potential clients decide if this is the right service for them. For example, if a mom going back to school posted a video testimonial about her experience with an online school, it would present her obstacles and her accomplishments. Can your audience see her four-year-old sitting in her lap as she works? Does she have her diploma displayed on the wall behind her desk? If other moms see her success, they’ll believe they can do it, too!

Watch out for distractions! If you post testimonials, then you must ensure that they are focused and send the image of your company that you want to leave with the audience. Background noise or poor video quality will lead your audience to conclude that you do not pay attention to details and will distract them from what matters!

Become Part of Your Followers’ Everyday Lives

Remember that your followers are not only following your company, they are following you! Invite your followers to join your daily life by posting Instagram stories. Are you treating your employees to lunch for finishing a big project? Are you exploring a new office space? Did you make them all personalized Easter Egg Baskets with hand-decorated blown eggs? Did you rescue a lizard who had accidentally shadowed you in the back door (and scared your assistant to death!) and release him back into “the wild”? Keep your followers engaged; show them what you’re working on and what they can look forward to!

Participate in your follower’s everyday life. Is she looking for a Mother’s Day gift? Did he just graduate from college? Do what you can to help them out! Post your favorite sites to find gifts or share resources that helped you to adjust to life post-graduation. If you can, run promotions that make your followers feel seen and appreciated!

All that said, get to know the woman behind the Open for Business Institute! Visit Joryn Jenkins to learn more about her and the passion that drives her work!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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