Connecting with customers on a personal level is a vital element of any online marketing strategy. From curating segmented email lists tailored to customers’ interests, to engaging fans directly on social media, connections and relationships are the names of the game.
In order to help those connections along, it’s a great idea to let customers see the human side of your business – the real people behind those products or services. Humans connect with other humans much more quickly than they can with inanimate objects or faceless companies – and they’re much more likely to feel a sense of loyalty to a human, as well.
Just compare the following two scenarios. In one, you pay for a service that is delivered 100% online, without any kind of contact or communication with a person. The service is great, but impersonal, and no relationship is formed. In the other scenario, you pay for a service and are in contact with a live human being throughout the entire process.
You get to know that person by name and appreciate their hard work on your behalf, so a real connection is made.
Now, which of those two companies would you feel more of a sense of loyalty to? Which one would you actually feel an emotional connection with – a connection that would prompt you to stick with them the next time around, as well, even if you found a cheaper option somewhere else? The one where you developed a real relationship, of course.
Finding new ways to form personal relationships with your online connections is an integral part of increasing customer loyalty. One method practiced by countless successful business owners is to connect with fans via their personal Facebook page. It’s one thing to like a company’s Facebook page, and quite another to connect with the CEO on their own personal page – there’s a sense of being an insider when you have direct access to the real person behind the company.
And now Facebook has provided business owners who use their personal pages in this way with yet another tool to reach out and connect with their audience: Facebook voice messages.
A Facebook voice message allows you to send a 60-second long audio message to friends and followers whom you’ve followed back. You record it from your smartphone using your Facebook app, by opening a new message and then pressing either the microphone (on an iOS device) or the paper clip (on an Android). To start recording, press and hold the red button, and then click Done to send. Your voice message will show up in a playback box in your connection’s chat or message window.
Just imagine the possibilities for making connections with this tool! Here are some ideas for using Facebook voice messages to build relationships and increase customer loyalty.
1. Welcome new followers with a Facebook voice message. Each week, choose a few of your newest followers, follow them back, and then send them each a personalized voice message thanking them for connecting. Use their name, and check their profile to see if there’s anything there you can comment on, such as an interest you both share in common. You can also invite them to visit your website or your other social media channels. What an impact a customized welcome like this will have on your new followers! They’ll feel an instant, personal connection with you, which will carry over to your business, as well.
2. Answer questions via voice message. As an expert in your field, you’re sure to get plenty of questions from your Facebook community. Typing out an in-depth answer can take time, so why not try answering via Facebook voice message? As a bonus, if you’ve gotten the same question from more than one person, you can send your voice message to everyone who’s asked, all at once. Not only will you save time, but you’ll also be forging a deeper, more personal connection with those people, which will translate into increased loyalty.
3. Surprise connections with a gift and a Facebook voice message. Everyone loves a gift – and even more so if it comes as a surprise, out of nowhere! Every so often, choose a few followers at random and send them personalized voice messages along with a link to a free gift, such as an eBook or white paper. People who have been surprised in this way might just become your most enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
4. Give exclusive discounts via voice message. If you notice certain customers commenting on your company’s Facebook page on a regular basis, or sharing your posts often with their own networks, send them a voice message conveying your thanks and offering them a special discount in return. Not only will this encourage them to continue, but they’re also sure to spread the word to their own networks about the rewards of engaging with your company, which will lead to even more connections.
Before you begin recording and sending Facebook voice messages, however, be sure to keep the reason you’re using them front of mind: to build relationships and increase loyalty. If you begin sending so many messages that they’re at risk of seeming spammy, or if you don’t take the time to really personalize each one, they can do more harm than good. But if you use them judiciously, Facebook voice messages can provide a real boost in customer loyalty to your company.