Customer Experience

Turning online relationships into customers

George Groves
Technology Journalist

George Groves is a writer interested in all forms of technology, creativity and digital trends

George Groves
Technology Journalist

George Groves is a writer interested in all forms of technology, creativity and digital trends

Everyone likes dealing with their friends. But can a social relationship between business and consumer benefit the bottom line?

You know that rush of adrenaline you get when your favourite rugby player scores a try? Or the euphoria you get when you get a retweet from Kanye West or Katy Perry? These interactions have a psychological science to them, and are now becoming a part of modern marketing practices.

A crowd of people throwing coloured dye into the air shot from behind

A new relationship

Businesses have long been using relationship marketing to put a focus on customer retention and satisfaction, which in turn aids sales growth. When building relationships with customers, businesses can tap into the tactics used by pop culture to create an online community of brand advocates.

Social platforms are more openly accessible for businesses than ever before. Facebook lets you reach one of the largest social audiences in Australia. Twitter gives you free reign to communicate directly with your customers. And Instagram allows you to showcase your brand’s identity.

No matter which social platforms you market on, it’s important to give yourself a personality people can connect with. Allowing your business to be human, and able to be interacted and engaged with, could lead to the development of a relationship that results in increased loyalty. It’s unlikely you’re going to be the next Katy Perry, but the principle remains – people want to connect with personality.

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When good things come to an end

A study conducted by the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media suggests that parasocial relationships are much like interpersonal relationships, meaning there’s a potential for the relationship to end in a breakup. This leads to increased negative feelings and can end in lower brand affinity.

For businesses, this often occurs when your brand has a period of time being off the air. Quite simply, the longer you spend not interacting with your customers, the more likely they will be to leave you.

So if you’re going to do it – it’s important to keep the momentum up.

Building relationships on social media

  1. Communicate with your customers. Whether it’s replying to a tweet, wall post or comment when someone makes contact with your brand, try to respond.
  2. Show who you are as a brand. Having a consistent brand is important, and can help build parasocial relationships. For example, a café could use their presence on Instagram to introduce their baristas or coffee art to the world.
  3. Be human. On social media, everyone wants to be entertained or inspired. Drop the corporate language and speak as if you’re conversing with a friend.
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