Most brands want the same thing – loyal customers, a steadily increasing customer base and a healthy bottom-line, but not all achieve it. We think it’s pretty clear that people want to buy from brands that show their human side, that speak in ‘their language’ especially online.
Social media hasn’t transformed our culture (despite what the drama llamas say) but it does mirror it to us in a way never seen before. So, what five steps can help you create a strong durable customer brand identity on social media that will help ensure customer loyalty and fend off the competition?
No. 1: Capture connection
Ensure that all content and messaging showcases your brand values in a clear, understandable and engaging way. This includes sharing information that enriches, not sells, being a ‘real’ person and creating (and then maintaining!) your online communities. People use association with brands to send social signals to each other and as a form of self expression, so consider what signals your brand is sending.
No. 2: Listen to your customers
Track what your customers are saying. Analytics and well-structured listening channels can really help with understanding your customers’ satisfaction in real time. This is vital to developing content ongoing that is in line with what your customers are saying and feeling. Use that data!
No. 3: Find your own voice
What is your tone of voice (TOV) and brand identity? Have you spent the time to do the research into your customers, work out why they like you/the product and how they want to speak? Use your personality, without jargon. Wit, humour and emotion give your brand character. Find your voice, and stay true to it. Authenticity and consistency connect to customers and draw them in. It’s important to craft your messaging to suit your particular cultural context and setting if you want to forge an emotional connection with your customers.
No. 4: Connect through experiences
Build experiences that are meaningful and true to your brand identity. Storytelling is a major part of how humans communicate so USE that. Be transparent - show the PEOPLE within the brand/organisation - with photos, stories and real faces. Utilise user generated content when it aligns with your brand values and showcases your customers as actual people. This also can help your brand in the future should a crisis occur, you will have built a following of advocates who can see the ‘face behind the company’.
No. 5: Create conversation
Don’t only engage with your customers when you have a campaign running. Speak with them regularly, throughout the year. Creating a big splash, with a fun campaign and then dropping everyone afterwards is a common issue that is usually related to internal budgets. However, the effect it has on your customers’ can be damaging...
... “(brand name) really doesn’t give a s**t about me unless it’s pushing me to buy something...”
Build a consistency into your customers’ expectations and meet it. Send regular satisfaction surveys and share the results with your team, with an emphasis on actionable feedback they can use to make future interactions more personal. Train your team for empathetic listening, teach them to read between the lines and match emotional tone. Customise greetings, talk the way real people talk. Make conversation warm, friendly, personable and constructive.