Social media sites are handy tools for driving free traffic by trying to connect with prospective customers interested in your niche. Unfortunately, a lot of online marketers only try to promote their products on the networks, rather than engage with their customers on a personal level.

But customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention are three of the pillars of a successful business. Creating personalized social media content that speaks to the needs of your target audience can keep them coming back for more.

Making Connections

The first thing to remember about social networking is the social part. People are online to socialize, not be sold to. The second important part is the networking. People want to feel connected with each other, and with the brands, products and services they are interested in.

Social Search

Your potential and existing customers also use social search, looking right inside Facebook and other top networks for more information about products, services and companies. They pay attention to recommendations from people in their network as part of their fact-finding missions when thinking of any major purchase. They trust these connections more than the marketing materials many businesses churn out on social media, because they see those communications as hype or spam.

Making Real Connections

The only way to avoid being labeled a spammer is to try to build relationships with your prospective customers, and serve your existing ones. Think of the kinds of questions they have about your products and services. Respond to their comments and thank them for their shares. Use Messenger on Facebook and Twitter to make it easy for you to connect with them and show that you care about their communications. Let them feel like there are real people in your company, not just automated bots serving up your marketing content.

Communication should be a two-way street on social media. Otherwise, they will disappear, off to do business with a company they feel offers more of a personal touch.

Make the Most of Each Network

Each network has its own particular types of content that can help you connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Facebook has been pushing hard to get users to create memes and to upload videos. They have also recently added live videos. In addition, they are heavily promoting Facebook Messenger. Producing content for each of these can help you connect with your customers like never before.

Facebook also now owns Instagram and is promoting it heavily. Create square images 512 x 512 pixels. Pinterest will accept images almost any size. You can create long, narrow infographics and it will be able to handle them. Infographic about your niche are highly shareable, so you can be certain they will interest your customers – especially if you try to help beginners get the most out of your niche.

Twitter now allows images and messaging. It’s also extended its character length so you can pack more in. Tweet what’s new on a regular basis to keep customers up to date about what they really care about.

Use LinkedIn for more business-related connections. Upload informative slideshows to their sister site and link to them on your profile.

Google+ and Tumblr accept similar content to Facebook. Google+ trends towards artists and people interested in cooking. Tumblr trends towards non-American, with around one-third of their active users from overseas.

Polls and Surveys

Get personal by asking their opinions. Getting feedback and using it as part of your decision making and your marketing can help you sell better than ever before.

Social Media: Engaging Customers at a Personal Level
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I've been designing and marketing websites and businesses for over 24 years and prior to this I worked in sales, marketing and big business for almost 18 years... which makes me not only old, but also highly experienced at this marketing and Internet stuff.  I've won lots of awards and helped thousands of people, and this website is a testament to the information I share freely to help others succeed online.

When I'm not designing websites, doing this online marketing stuff or writing. I love nothing more than getting out on a weekend and scuba diving. I'm a qualified rescue diver and love getting wet in the waters around Perth and Rottenest Island. I also cycle, which must be a sight as I'm not the thinnest of people (lol)... and a paddle on a kayak or a swim helps makes most weeks, perfect. At home I have a marine reef tank, which I just love and on top of that I've an awesome dog, called Ziggy.

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