Using Social Media to Build Your Business

This past weekend I was looking online at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa and clicked on the Google reviews. I was not surprised to discover that the resort is highly rated and the reviews are mostly stellar, but what did surprise me was that Jean-Charles (JC) Robert, the resident manager, responded to many of the reviews himself.

JC’s responses are not just one liners saying thanks to customers for kind reviews. The responses are heartfelt messages that also discuss actions that will be taken on issues that need to be addressed.

Think about it: This is a very busy senior executive taking the time to communicate with his clientele online. You don’t see this too often.

If you ask any employee or customer whether they value being listened to, they will say, “Of course.”  As a Sales and Leadership expert, I have learned that being listened to and heard is at the top of everyone’s list. For that reason, taking the time to respond to someone who took the time to communicate with you will help build and solidify the relationship.

This is where most companies and sales execs fall short, especially in their social media strategies. Everyone is so concerned about posting on social media sites, but most of us overlook the fact that the real results do not come from the original posts. Real results come from interaction with your community, and a mere thank you is not enough to be considered interaction. I am talking about relating to what someone says, adding your point of view, and making them feel good that they took the time to interact with you. This builds relationships, and relationships generate loyalty—the repeat business we are all looking for.

Even complaints can be an opportunity to build relationships. When you receive any communication that contains a complaint (whether that comes via social media, a phone call, or a written note), remember that the most important thing you can do is acknowledge the issue FIRST.  If you go straight to the solution without acknowledging the issue, then your solution will not be heard—because your customer will feel they have not been heard. That is the quick way to undermine relationships.

To see how a pro acknowledges both good comments and complaints, click on Harbor Beach Resort Google Reviews. Look at the right hand box for Google reviews and read JC’s responses.  We can all learn from him.

What can you do to adjust your social media strategy to build stronger relationships? What time can you carve out of your schedule to devote to building customer loyalty online?

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