Aug 08 4 Tactics to Influence Brand Loyalty through Social Media
A dog is known, not only as man’s best friend, but for its enduring loyalty. But why? It might be because most good dog owners give their pups everything that they could need, and want, leaving them feeling completely cared for and understood. When we, as consumers, feel understood and cared for, a similar reaction occurs, resulting in our own loyalty to the brands that we feel really speak to us, and our wants and needs. It’s a lot easier, however, to understand why we’re loyal to the brands we choose, than it is to understand, as a brand, how to evoke that loyalty from your audience. Fortunately for you, we’re here to share with you four essential tactics to influence brand loyalty through social media.
Get to Know and Understand Your Audience
As we’ve mentioned before in our discussion of the optimal content strategy for social media marketing, the first step toward success comes from understanding precisely who your audience is and what they’re all about. Beyond just the boring, census bureau type demographics (which are no less important), we urge you to dive deeper. It’s vital to your brand to understand on which social platforms your audience is most active, what they seek out on these channels, and ultimately, how you can give them what it is they’re after. By knowing that Brand X’s audience is between Y-Z years old, skews male, has an average household income of n thousand dollars, and enjoys recreational badminton, you’re off to a good start, but it’s just the start. Brand X’s marketers must also discover that their audience is most active on Twitter and Instagram, appreciates dry, satirical humor, and wants to feel a sense of belonging coupled with a slight air of exclusivity. This magnification of the nuances of Brand X’s audience’s social behaviors and desires will better enable Brand X’s marketing team to deliver messaging that most directly suits the audience they are attempting to target.
Kill ‘em with Content
Once you’ve learned precisely who your audience is, where they are, and what they want, your mission to develop brand loyalty has begun. The next step is to give them what they want. But it’s a lot easier said than done, right? Only at the beginning, really. Developing the optimal tack, or social strategy, can be a cumbersome endeavor, but once this milestone is met, you’re in a prime position to give your audience what they so desperately want.
There are actually two equally important pillars to consider when thinking of how you’re going to speak to your audience. On the one hand, we have to consider the proactive content, which will go out to all of your audience in one fell swoop. And on the other, we must look at the reactive content, which will address individual mentions on a case by case basis.
In order to create successful and lasting brand loyalty through proactive content, it’s vitally important to look at the broader picture. You’re not just creating a stream of single isolated posts, but instead, you want to create a community, a culture, and a cohesive environment in which your audience can become immersed. By giving them something inclusive, it will make them feel connected, and you’ll be effectively encouraging them to participate in the discussion around you brand. And that leads us into our next step…
Now that you’ve established the environment in which your audience can proudly feel loyal to your brand, the work has only just begun. What you’re ideally hoping to achieve by putting out relevant, intriguing content for your larger audience is to begin a discussion around, but not exclusively linked to, your brand. But how do you do this? First, treat every instance of participation – positive and especially negative – with the same level of exuberance and enthusiasm. You want to do more than coldly and robotically communicate with your audience. You want to warmly and genuinely converse with them. By treating each individual audience member as the human being that he or she is, you’re infinitely more likely to open up a conversation, rather than stopping one in its tracks.
Lead by Example
The way that you speak to, and with, your audience is crucial when building brand loyalty, but it’s also just one of many viable strategies that ought to be employed in the search for real, authentic advocacy. Another tried and true method for encouraging your audience to adopt your brand’s philosophy as their own is to employ a bit of assistance. Utilizing reputable and relevant influencers is a terrific way to influence your audience to dive even deeper into your brand.
It’s essential, in order to convey honesty and plausibility to your audience, to find influencers who are already known within the niche your brand occupies. Finding fashion influencers to speak about an electronics brand is going to likely alienate, rather than attract, your audience. Once you’ve found the right influencers for the job, you’ll also want to make sure to give them sufficient direction, not to stifle their creativity, but to ensure that they’re emphasizing the components of your brand that are most likely to lead to advocacy. Whoa, but what are those? Fret not, because all we’re talking about here are those same elements that you worked so hard to learn about your audience (i.e., optimal tone of voice; ideal creative; subtle, yet convincing, brand benefits; etc.) You want your influencers to be offering your audience everything that you already are directly, but only from a different vantage point. In doing so, you’re providing your audience a fresh, exciting take, while still adhering to the brand identity they’ve come to love.
Care to Share?
Another exceptional method for increasing loyalty to your brand is something of a continuation, or extrapolation, of a previous tack we’ve discussed. Of course, you want to create a welcoming, inclusive community for your audience through your own content, but what if you were to be so welcoming and inclusive, you urged your audience to embrace your brand through content of their very own? My goodness, the sheer possibilities! There are a number of varying approaches to encouraging your audience to share their own ‘user-generated content,’ so choosing the best one for your brand will likely take some serious contemplation. No matter which way you choose to urge your audience to share – be it through a simple plea, a contest invitation, or some yet unthought-of social vehicle – the value to your brand will be consistent throughout.
Okay, so, you’ve compiled a library of UGC. Now what? Well, share it back! Take your favorites, those pieces that you feel best represent your brand, and give them a feature. By showing your entire audience that they, too, can achieve the modest fame that is a featured post – with photo attribution, of course – you’ll throw fuel on the fire that is love and appreciation of your brand community. There are few better ways of keeping audience members coming back than by appealing to their egos, and a little recognition can go a long way in that respect. Just remember, incoming UGC is the beginning, not the end, of a fruitful conversation that is bound to lead to a loyal and enthusiastic brand advocate.
So, with a plethora of methods for fostering brand loyalty, your brand’s strategy is only fettered by your marketing team’s imagination. Having said that, these four tactics to influence brand loyalty through social media will surely serve as a sound starting point in turning your audience from passive consumers to active enthusiasts, advocating for your brand on and off of social media. It’s just a simple matter of connecting with them on a deeply human level.