The best kind of customer loyalty is when the customer thinks of your company as a friend, not just a service provider. Social media has enabled brands to build that kind of customer loyalty in ways marketing professionals could only dream about a decade ago. You can do the same, if you use social media the right way. Here’s how to use social media to give your brand a more “human” feel.
Establish a Personality and Stick to It
Most people don’t like interacting with a bland, emotionless individual. So they also do not like interacting with a generic, emotionless brand. In order to give your brand a human feel, you need to give it personality. Decide what your brand personality is going to be, based on your target audience. Whether you want to be seen as “fun” and “edgy” or “reliable” and “responsible,” make sure what you post conforms to the personality you want to portray.
We live in an age of on-demand content, where internet shopping(e-commerce) and other web-based services give people what they want when they want it. That means your current and potential customers won’t wait around for you. You need to provide consistent updates at least a few times a week. Don’t, however, go too much per day or your newsfeed will start to feel like that annoying friend who constantly spams the page.
Engage in Community
Social media has changed marketing from “what we can offer you” to “what can we offer each other.” Brands with a human feel need to engage in community; this creates a sense of personal connection. Engaging in community means asking questions, responding to the posts of others, and contributing useful information. Be wary of constantly “pimping” yourself; it doesn’t tend to go over well.
Provide Useful Content for Free
Another way the the internet has changed the marketplace; the age of charging for everything is over. When a Google search provides free information and entertainment in an instant, people don’t like companies they perceive as stingy. Even if you provide an information service, you don’t have to give away your product, but you do have to provide something useful. A blog can be a great way to do this, as well as to subtly direct people to your paid offerings.
If You Make a Mistake, Apologize and Make it Right
Nobody likes a know-it-all, and nobody likes an individual who never admits to being wrong. Social media has made it easy for negative information to spread in a matter of hours, and the internet community as a whole does not react well to blame-shifting. If you’ve made a mistake or there’s a problem with your product, apologize and correct the issue. There’s historical support for this; years ago a major pain medication manufacturer’s products were tampered with. The fact that the company took responsibility and dealt with the issue is the reason that company is still in business today.
The unfamiliar nature of social media can make this realm intimidating for marketing professionals, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make it work for your business. By creating and sticking to a brand personality, posting on a regular basis, engaging in community, providing useful, free content, and by taking personal and corporate responsibility, you can give your brand a more “human” touch and make customers feel like your company is their friend.
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