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Social Media: the Open Door to Brand Loyalty
Posted on October 26th 2012
When it comes to business success, customer loyalty is everything. Every company out there dreams of having dedicated clients who also share positive reviews with other potential consumers. Luckily, social media provides the perfect platform to create these lasting relationships between customers and brands. Here are some key tips to remember about brand loyalty and how your social media presence can transform online fans and followers into brand enthusiasts.
While on social media, your business is not just an online brand; it is also a continuous listener. People are on social media because they want their opinions and thoughts to be heard. As an online brand, this translates to you in two ways. With the open door of social media comes 24/7 access to your brand. If a fan or follower tweets to you or posts a question on your Facebook wall, they are looking for a response – and a fast one at that. This is where quality interaction comes into play.
Social media is considered an open door between online 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 media universe. Therefore, what is the best way to foster relationships between consumer and brand? Have a clear understanding of your online voice. Anyone can log-in to Facebook or Twitter and post a status or comment. What some brands fail to see is when it comes to building a strong following on social media is it’s the quality of your posts and not the quantity that is beneficial. Consumers want to be involved, interacting with someone who not only understands them, but also someone they can relate to. Before you begin posting, take the time to listen to your target audience, research their behavior and understand what exactly it is that they are looking for. By conducting this initial research, your business is on its way to turning social media engagement into brand loyalty.
Provide a Helping Hand
More often than not, instead of calling a customer service line, people will jump over to a company’s social media account and say what is on their mind. Your job as a brand is to keep an open ear and be ready to respond. Fans and followers won’t hesitate to ask questions directly on your social media profiles. Be ready to provide helpful content, everything from how-to guides to simple customer service answers about your products and services. Going out of your way to respond directly to someone’s question instantly creates a closer connection, making your customer feel appreciated and important.
Demonstrate Excellent Customer Service Skills
If someone posts a negative comment, put your customer service skills to work to provide a speedy solution. While working towards a fix, respond to that disgruntled customer’s post, assuring them that you appreciate their business, as well as their patience while the problem is corrected. Brand loyalty comes with respect. 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. Those interactive skills are what turn fans and followers into loyal brand users.
Remember, just as you would respond to a negative online comment, feel free to respond to fans and followers who thank you for your excellent service or give a rave review. Remeber, that interaction shows your customers you appreciate them and only adds to the possibility of brand loyalty.
Give Your Customers the Spotlight
Once again, social media engagement is a key component to achieving high levels of brand loyalty. An easy, fun way to create lasting relationships between customers and your brand is allowing your fans and followers to take center stage. Contests, for example, help build strong relationships with your target audience. As much as people want to be heard on social media, they want to enjoy themselves just as much. Celebrating what fans and followers share online is a great way to show they are important to you and your online presence.
As mentioned above, people are on social media because they want to be heard. If you take the time to interact with your audience, giving them a positive impression and allowing them to trust you, you can expect an increase is brand loyalty. Through genuine interaction and catering to the needs of your customers and prospects, those social media users will most often return the favor by spreading positive reviews online and through word of mouth. Honest and consistent social engagement are the key building blocks to gaining the trust needed to continue the brand loyalty cycle.