Build and Engage Your Social Media Community
If you're reading my posts on Social Media, hopefully, you've come to the conclusion at this point that one of the greatest values of social media marketing is the uncanny ability to create, build and engage a community of people who are interested in you (or at least, your business). Any of you who have personally met me knows that my main statement is that "Social Media is all about being Social" in layman's terms, you have to Engage, Engage, Engage. With Social Media, you have an incredible opportunity to interact with customers from around the world on an enormous scale.
The relationships that you build with your audience is what is going to keep them coming back, therefore increasing loyalty and retention, to things that should be written as the "Holy Grail" of Social Media. These customers who are loyal and keep coming back for more are what is known as advocates. These people increase word-of-mouth, physically and through online interactions with their friends, friends of friends, family etc. Get it. Got it. Good.
If you provide an awesome environment for community engagement, you will build an authentic, valuable resource for your brand and the cherry on top will be that you are also building authority for your brand in your industry. At this level your audience will return time and time again because you are providing them with something of value and ... they trust you, because the more you give the more authority you'll get.
The results that you want to get are simple in hindsight - you want to move from "like" to "love" to "I will destroy anyone who speaks ill of my favourite brand". It seems daunting but it really isn't, all you have to do is get people to Like you, whether on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, word-of-mouth or however else you can manage it. The people who speak well of you are consistently (that's the operative word here - consistently) having their expectations met and sometimes exceeded. Here's the rub: Just like every relationship we form, moving to the next level seriously depends on the needs of your brand and that of the individuals you interact with. By forming positive bonds can benefit both parties. The sauce to all of this is that you can form relationships out of adversity example, helping someone is better than someone saying your food, service, or product is absolute crap and rubbish. The goal is to have the experiences that you encounter should bring delight and assist you in building a uniquely strong brand voice. Example: When I started my coffee shop I sent 100 people in the neighbourhood, a dining card with a warm gooey, molten Nutella brownie, not only were these people surprised, but their reaction on social media spread like wildfire and within a few days I was selling out of brownies, and my "special" secret hot chocolate was the talk of the neighbourhood.
Another level in brand loyalty that you want to achieve is when a customer is willing to throw down and fight for you, I'm not saying throwing fists, but those customers who defend you brand. At this point, you know that you've outdone yourself and you've reached "brand and social nirvana". This is where your audience/customers are frequently engaging, providing solid recommendations and standing toe-to-toe with detractors to advocate for you.
When an advocate stands up for you, it is far more powerful than when you do it for yourself. There is a level of authenticity that rings across the waves of interaction that can't be found in generic brand-to-customer interactions.