4 Social Media Tips to Build Customer Loyalty and Acquire Brand Advocates
Social media has immense power to interest and engage, and is without a doubt among the most powerful communication tools available today. The ability to reach out and directly engage with the target market gives brands the unique opportunity to establish personal connections and build relationships. It is this massive opportunity that has made social media so invaluable to companies.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn have given good returns to marketers who persevere and invest time and money in quality content marketing. Today brands have realized that social media interactions allow them to focus on individuals, nurture brand loyalty, and increase customer retention.
Here are a few things that you can do to win your customers’ trust and build your brand’s value.
1) Decide on the right platform
Spreading your efforts across a wide selection of social media can dilute your impact. Instead, choose only those platforms that best allow you to reach out to your target audience. The type of user base a platform has and the type of content it publishes decides its suitability for your business.
For example, Tumblr has a very young user base with about 70% of the 550 million monthly users being Millennials. Tumblr is also a very tightly knit community where useful, humorous and innovative content is valued. Not only do you need to produce this type of content yourself to find success on Tumblr, but you also need to reblog it from others. Reblogging is the name of the game if you want to make your presence felt on this popular platform. You need to be engaged with your community, commenting and sharing content to ensure that you do not come across as self-promoting and selfish.
Pinterest and Instagram are highly visual social media platforms where you need to share high-quality photographs and visually pleasing content. The majority of Pinterest users are women, and the recipe, fashion, art, and interior decor niches have the highest number of pins.
Social media channels can be customized to suit your needs, provided you know just what notes to strike as far as user engagement is concerned. An in-depth understanding of unique channel requirements, natural empathy for the community, genuine and unselfish interactions, and customer-centric approach are necessary to succeed in social media marketing. If you feel that it is too much of work, then consider hiring the services of a professional or outsourcing your requirements to a good agency.
2) Identify, reward, and nurture influencers
Millions of fresh and informative pieces of content get published on the Web every day. In this chaotic milieu it is hard to attract attention. Even the best of content may take at least a couple of years to drive loyal and consistent traffic, and brands and companies do not have the luxury of time to wait for so long. They need to justify the marketing budget and show returns. It is here that influencers get in to the picture. Influencers are individuals who already have large social media followings. The power of influencers can be leveraged to improve your performance on social media channels.
Influencers themselves are mini brands in their own right. They have individuality, unique ways of expressing themselves and a loyal fan base. Their opinions and views are valued by their followers, and it is on this huge audience that brands starved of popularity look to cash in. If you get a Tumblr sensation or a Twitter celebrity to reblog or retweet your content then it will be seen, shared, liked and commented on by perhaps millions of their fans, which helps amplify your content marketing efforts enormously. If a popular influencer puts in a word for you, it will help your brand acquire the trust and loyalty of their followers.
3) Choose the Right Influencers to Work With
All social media celebrities aren’t good choices for all brands. You must do thorough research on your target customer base and zero in on influencers who are popular among your demographic.
If you run an online business that sells clothes for teens, then young pop stars or teen fashion bloggers can do the trick for you. If you are a marketing agency you need to know who the influencers in your niche are. Research and monitor social media activities and trending hashtags in your industry like conferences, #influencemktg etc. Make a list of active participants in discussions and reach out to a few you think will have a contextual fit with your business. You can also use tools like Cision to find influencers in your industry.
Choose influencers who will have the maximum impact on your target market. If you are a recognized name in your niche and your website/social media platform has a steady stream of traffic, influencers will be ready to contribute blog posts, or publish videos or podcasts for free.
Recognizing influencers in your demographic alone will not suffice. You need to follow them on their specific social media channels and build a relationship with the influencer. Establish periodic touchpoints where you engage with each other. You will get to know about their views and fan base, and can use this knowledge when you reach out to them.
Ensure that influencers find it easy, convenient and rewarding to work with you. If you have something valuable to offer to influencers, like greater exposure or an opportunity to learn something new, in return for their favor, it can drastically improve their response. In this manner you will be able to establish long-lasting relationships and turn them into your brand’s loyal fans.
4) Reward and Delight Your Fans
One of the most important things a brand needs to do is encourage customer loyalty and engagement. If you find that a brand advocate is active on all forums and communities and is quite vocal about his or her love for your product, then ensure that you reach out to show your appreciation. You can either give a shout out to the person, send a credit to purchase something from your brand, or mail a product to use and post review. These activities will help nourish and nurture brand advocates, and will encourage newer ones to emerge.
The potential of social media is a game changer in winning over customers and building brand value and trust. Ensure you engage right, stay unselfish and give away more than you take. If you have the customer and their interests foremost in your mind, then social media marketing can be a step to a higher level instead of a hurdle in your way.