November 28, 2012 - FILED UNDER Agile Business
How Social Media can Foster Brand Loyalty
OK so we can all agree to some extent that “yes, social media is a great way to foster brand loyalty.” I’m not going to pretend that this is anything new. There are tons of articles that have been published on the power of social media and how it can help increase brand loyalty. Every company wants to have dedicated customers who not only love their products, but also share positive comments and reviews with others. Social media platforms are just the key to help companies achieve this goal. But how? Well, here are a few brand loyalty tips you can easily implement courtesy of Caitlin Zucal from her recent Social Media Today post.
“Your business is not just an online brand; it is also a continuous listener,” writes Zucal. People who are on social media are there because they want their opinion and voice to be heard. This translates into two important takeaways for your brand:
- Because of the nature of social media this means that individuals will now be able to access your brand 24/7 – maybe not super shocking, I know.
- However, what this also means is that organizations must now be listening and paying attention to those comments. If a fan or follower tweets to you or posts a question to your Facebook wall, they are looking for a response – and a fast one at that.
Social media opens the door and connects brands and consumers because it provides the ideal platform for interaction. “With this open door comes the importance of brand perception and engagement. It’s not only what your brand says that matters, but also what customers are sharing about you to the social universe,” writes Zucal. This two-way conversation begs the question: what is the best way to foster these relationships between customers and your brand? What some brands fail to realize is that when it comes to building a strong Facebook or Twitter following, it really all boils down to the quality of your posts. “Consumers want to be involved, interacting with someone who not only understands them, but also someone they can relate to,” says Zucal. So, before you start posting status updates and Tweets, take some time and listen to your audience, research their behavior and try to get an understanding of what excites them. By conducting this initial research, your business will be on its way to turning social media engagement into customer and brand loyalty.
More and more often customers are turning to a company’s social media account instead of calling a customer service line to say what’s on their mind. “Your job as a brand is to keep an open ear and be ready to respond,” says Zucal. Today’s followers and fans won’t hesitate to pose a question directly on your company’s social media sites. So, be prepared to provide helpful content, everything from how-to guides to simple customer service answers about your products and services. By going out of you way a little to respond to someone’s question, it instantly creates a closer connection making your customer feel appreciated and important.
Become a Customer Service Master
When you receive a negative comment, try to provide a speedy solution. Let those who are having issues know that you appreciate their business, as well as their patience while the problem is corrected. “Target audiences will respect your brand if you take the time to keep the conversation going, instead of ignoring what they have to say because you have a thousand other satisfied customers,” points out Zucal. But it’s not only about responding to the negative comments, at the same time you want to respond to the praise that you receive. Let those know that you appreciate them – it’s a surefire way help build brand advocacy.
An easy and fun way to create a lasting relationship between your customers and your brand is to allow your fans and followers to share some of the spotlight every once and awhile. “As much as people want to be heard on social media, they want to enjoy themselves just as much,” writes Zucal. Celebrating what fans and followers share online is a great way to show they are important to you and your business. For example, here at Mindjet, we try to showcase some of our awesome users in out “User Spotlights”. No matter how you choose to do this, it’s important to take some time and let your fans take center stage every so often.
While there’s no one magic bullet to turn all your customers into brand advocates, by trying some of these simple brand loyalty tips outlined above you’ll be sure that you are off to a good start.