Social media can be more than just a venue to publish photos of babies and cats. Brands seeking a stronger online presence can leverage social media to increase affinity and, eventually, loyalty. This effect can be possible because loyalty has as much to do with engagement as it does having high opinions of a brand. When brands give consumers more opportunities to engage with them, they can create lasting bonds that promote consistent purchasing and brand evangelism.
Not every approach works, though. You have to have a carefully-refined digital content strategy and social media marketing strategy working in unison. Here are some ways that brands are capturing an online social media audience and converting their engagement into loyalty:
Offer Excellent Content
The first goal of any social media brand profile is to generate the type of content social media users want to see. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr function only as long as users are publishing content. This content gets engaged with or shared by other users, creating an online community and a steady “feed” of new content.
Without content, your brand has next to no purpose for being on social media. Develop a content strategy that produces the types of posts that users like seeing. Mix up lighthearted “fluffy” content like your take on viral cat videos along with deep, informative content that tells consumers something about your industry.
For example, a cookware company can post an article about how to make cleaning out pots easier based on the food that was cooked. Information like this gets shares, and more importantly it gets users to come to see you as an authority in your field.
Content is an excellent way to start a conversation through sharing and commenting, but there is still a lack of urgency considering the article was produced in an isolated environment. Add to content posts with conversational posts that are sure to engage your audience. For instance, a realtor could ask about people’s favorite restaurants in the area. They could also ask people to send in photos of their lovely spring gardens.
Posts like these tempt people hungry to have their say online, and they create intimate “touch points” for contact between brand and customer sales. A brand can even go one step further to congratulate a customer on an accomplishment like having a child graduate high school. The more your audience sees your brand as “human,” the easier it is for them to form an emotional connection.
Use Analytics to Inform Decisions
In addition to content and conversations, social media platforms are amazing at generating data. Facebook and Twitter have analytics that tell you metrics like views, engagement rate, organic reach, clicks and other trends over a period of time. You can learn a tremendous amount about your audience and what types of things they like seeing through this platform.
Backend programs can sometimes be added to track traffic based on mobile vs desktop, device used, peak interaction times and other such metrics. Together with other data, you can make more informed decisions about things like “right time, right place” offers, customer service adjustments and other improvements that help shape customer loyalty.
The key with all of these ideas is to be consistent, back your decisions with data and manage your reputation when negative or unfavorable conversations occur. In the end, seeing your brand on social media could be a turning point in the way a customer views you.
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