Most of us are celebrating our loved ones in February, but how about our other loved ones? Talking about your customers here, people.
Having an emotional connection between brand and customer is important. It’s no longer enough to simply meet your customers' needs to keep them as a customer. Realistically, they can find that anywhere. What will keep your customers around is an emotional connection.
Luckily, there are more ways than ever for brands to interact and build personal connections with their customers, and one that’s accessible to pretty much every business is social media.
In this blog post, we’ll explore ways your business can build a strong love connection between brand and customer using social media.
Brand & Customer: A Friendship With Benefits
Engaging with your customers regularly and showing them love when you can not only make them feel good, but can have business benefits as well. This can be summed up by reviewing the rule of reciprocity.
The rule of reciprocity, per VeryWell Mind, is a social norm where if someone does something for you, you then feel obligated to return the favor. In short, do something nice for somebody, and they’ll feel obligated to return the favor –– not out of a feeling of guilt, but rather of connection.
The reverse is even true. When you do something nice for a customer or go above and beyond to show you care, having them repay it in some way also increases their buy-in to you as a brand, only solidifying their fan status even more.
This isn’t just a person-to-person thing either. Using the rule of reciprocity in your marketing tactics will shape the way you interact with your existing and prospective customers, and if you’re engaging with them in a delightful way, it can pay off big time resulting in:
- Customer loyalty
- Social sharing
- Positive online reviews
- User-generated content (UGC)
The benefits of engaging and delighting your customers are massive. And luckily, social media has made it easier than ever for brands to have these kinds of pleasant interactions with brands, regardless of location.
That being said, we’re going to look at five different ways for your brand to share some love with your customers on social media.
1. Be Responsive
Social media is like any other form of customer communication in that people expect to be replied to, and the sooner you can reply, the better. If someone asks you a question on social, don’t keep them waiting.
This first rule is more of a pay-to-play rule than anything else, meaning that if you’re not responsive on social media, it will drive frustration with your customers.
Social Sprout shared some pretty jarring stats about customer care on social media, stating that brands took an average of 10 hours to respond on social, even though most people likely gave up on a response after 4 hours.
And if you don’t think this has ramifications for your business, know that in the same study, Sprout Social found that 1 in 3 of these people left without a reply to will switch to a competitor.
Even if you’re not crazy active on social, at the very least make sure someone has an eye on it. Even a polite, friendly, and timely response will harbor warm feelings between brand and customer, like Taco Bell did here:
The response wasn’t incredibly clever, but a simple reply from a brand you love can go a long way.
2. Highlight customers through your social channels
Social media is an awesome tool to organically share your customers’ stories. This tactic is particularly effective in the business-to-business (B2B) space, as your customers will be really grateful for the exposure.
Documenting a positive experience a customer has had with your brand and sharing it to your audience is powerful because it allows the rest of your audience to see how real people are using your product or service. It’s also powerful because it further invests that customer with your brand.
3. Ask your customers to share about you on social
People love to share their experiences on social media. Your customers included.
There’s a great post on Brandingmag about people’s desire to express themselves, and one way they do this is through brands they identify with.
If someone connects with and identifies with your brand and what it represents, they will absolutely want to tell people about you as a means of expressing themselves. Sometimes, it just takes asking.
Practically speaking, this can be through a link on the checkout page of your website, as a part of the branded collateral when a package is received, or a personal email. Whichever medium you deem appropriate for the situation.
StickerMule sends a friendly reminder on a coaster that they include with every shipment of stickers they send out. It’s nothing revolutionary, but a simple reminder for someone to share their experience and tag the brand can go a long way.
4. Repost the content they share about you
User-generated content, per Tint, is any type of content that has been created and put out there by unpaid contributors or, using a better term, fans. It can refer to pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, and everything in between and is the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand itself.
Social media is the perfect medium for user-generated content because that’s where most of it takes place. When your customer posts about your product or brand, share it!
Airbnb does this regularly, relying on users for a lot of their Instagram content. Instagram stories, as well as retweeting, have made sharing user-generated content really easy. Notice: they also make sure to ask for permission ahead of time.
This type of organic content is refreshing to audiences. It shows that people are actually using your product, and like it enough to share their experience. Plus, there's a good chance it will help you win more customers.
5. Offer rewards or loyalty points for people who post about your brand
Offering some kind of incentive — whether it be store credit, a gift card, or even a t-shirt (😉) — is an effective way to get people to share about your brand.
This can be used to direct people to share on social, leave a review, or recommend your product or service directly to a friend or colleague.
Engaging with customers on social media and encouraging them to interact with your brand can have massive benefits for your business. And, it’s extremely accessible!
You can get really sophisticated with your social strategy, but the best thing to do is just get started. Post regularly, encourage sharing, and you’re bound to start feeling the love.