What do many of the top companies in the world have in common? Brand loyalty. Many startups focus their efforts solely on selling a product or service and fail to account for the lifetime value of their customers. The most successful brands are leveraging social media and online communities to influence their customers. A smart social strategy can build a following that can turn even the most casual customers into ardent supporters of your brand. Here are some ways that social influence impacts brand loyalty.
Trust & Identity
Consumers want information from people they trust and identify with. Companies spend countless dollars trying to build trust around their products; yet social influence is a way to build trust organically, through the reviews and feedback of your customers. Of course, the product itself must have quality and merit on its own! But, assuming that you have that part covered, connecting with your customer base and getting their valued feedback and referrals can build a solid foundation of trust that will expand sales over time.
An Emotional Connection
Humans are emotional beings. By creating a compelling story around your brand, you are forging a powerful connection with your customers. Research indicates that emotionally connected customers can offer significantly more value on average that those who feel no connection with a brand.
Reach & Influence
Social channels and online communities are effective marketing channels to expand your reach and influence. Have a solid strategy in place, and track what is working and what is not.
The Lifetime Value of a Customer
Understand the lifetime value of a customer. There are a variety of equations that brands use to calculate customer lifetime value (CLV). Companies use this to help them determine how much to spend to keep their customers loyal.
Tell Your Story
From videos and infographics to timelines and photos, there are a variety of interactive techniques you can use in an effort to take your customers along on your brand’s journey. Find your particular voice and be sure to deliver your messaging using that authentic voice – people will feel the difference.
Use Brand Ambassadors
Reach out to your loyal base to spread the word. They will continue to purchase your products and services while spreading the word about your brand among their followers and friends. Garner the support of these unofficial brand ambassadors by rewarding them for their loyal support. Build a community around your products or services. Successful brands are great at building devoted customers advocating on your behalf that aren’t on your payroll.
Be Generous with Information
Great brands share an abundance of information about their products and services. Use product features, comments, reviews, & FAQs to inform your customers about the different aspects or your product. Customers are also attracted to those brands that facilitate communication and respond promptly to inquiries on the website and social media. Even the most successful brands receive negative comments on social media; the important thing is to deal with them graciously. You’ll need to engage those customers as well to foster trust and loyalty.
The power of social influence on brand loyalty continues to grow as companies adopt strategies and best practices to connect with their customers. By rewarding your customers, building a community, and promoting your brand’s value through a compelling story, you are setting yourself up for success.
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