#1: Go where your customer areIt's best to hunt out where your customers are, rather than expect them to find you. For example, a travel agent should start seeking out social spaces in which traveller congregate to talk and share information.
#2: Stop broadcasting and start listening
A big mistake is to think that broadcasting information gets results. The best way to gather usable data is to listen to your customer. A business can learn a lot from listening to what online social communities have to say. Start building relationships and listening to the customer! A fabulous tool to help you listen to tons of different social networks and profiles at once is HootSuite. Once you started using it you will never go back!
#3: Increase you response time
A successful community depends on interaction. Your customers need to know that you are listening, and your response time shows them how well you are doing so. This means you must respond to direct questions, and ask questions that add value to the community. Finding a good social media dashboard like HootSuite will help you out substantially.
|US Army monitoring with HootSuite. Photo courtesy of USAG.|
#4: Show the human face behind the businessTry to create a human online voice rather than a business presence. People create relationships with people, not businesses. Use a picture, not always a brand logo to remind people about the human part of the business.
Every social community needs social glue. People need to see value in the social community, and the interaction with you. Use your social space to add value and to converse about things your customers will appreciate. Aim to educate or solve a problem rather than pitch your products.