Break Through the Online Noise With ‘Likes’ via Entrepreneur

Here’s how reciprocal liking can help generate loyalty in seven easy steps.

The concept of mutual “likes” goes back way further than the launch of Facebook.

“Reciprocity of liking is a key principle of attraction,” according to the Encyclopedia of Human Relations. “Interdependence theory,” the entry explains, “predicts that we will like people with whom we have … gratifying interactions.”

What’s new — and to marketers, what’s revolutionary — is that the cultural truism of reciprocal liking extends beyond interpersonal relationships into business relationships as well. In today’s market and media environment, people expect businesses they like to like them back or, even better, reach out and like them first. They expect businesses to not just talk, but listen and converse. They expect caring and connection. They expect relationships first, and purchases second.

The requirements of reciprocal liking

This is the dawning of the era of Customer Care 2.0.

“We’re in the beginning of the humanization of business,” Gary Vaynerchuk told me during a packed gathering at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, where he stopped on a recent tour for his book “The Thank You Economy.” “Brands that understand how to be human will be the ones customers reach out to. Those that care the most and follow up the best will be the ones that break through. Human touch matters.”

Fortunately, social media makes human touch scalable for businesses of any size. Here’s how you can show your customers that you “like” them — and get them to “like” you, too.

1. Care

“Ironically, the winners of tomorrow will be the ones who act like it’s 1920,” Vaynerchuk says, recalling a time when every shopkeeper knew each customer’s personality, wants and needs. The Internet makes that same level of knowledge possible again, even with the most far-flung clientele.

Search to learn about your customers. Search to see what people are saying about your brand, product, business category or competitors. Customize results by searching news or blogs. Search review sites. Go to search.twitter.com to learn what’s being said about you in tweets. Stay on top of information by setting up alerts, directing results to a one-stop aggregator like Google Reader.

Continues at:  Break Through the Online Noise With ‘Likes’.

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