This is a guest post by Mary Green of Social Media Fuze. Mary is a talented and respected blogger in the social media world and was kind enough to offer a guest post this week. If you are not yet following Mary or have not read her blog, I highly recommend you do! She has a ton of great information that will help you out.
Do you have a favorite brand? A company that you might spend a little more money on than necessary?
It might be a cell phone company that has the best service in your area. Or perhaps a small local restaurant that has the best food for miles around. Maybe you love the clothes a specific brand offers?
You are loyal to these companies, they offer something you can’t get anywhere else. It could be a great service, a product you can’t get in any other store, or it’s something else that makes them special.
No matter how you look at it, it’s great to get this for your own brand. To be the best at something, to get your followers’ support and to depend on their loyalty.
All business owners want this, and why wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t you?
To give you a head start, here are 5 things brands with loyal followers are doing to keep their fans happy and excited about their brand.
Be Yourself- Jenn does a great job of this, and I believe that is why she gets so many followers and is a celebrated social blogger by social media examiner. Time and again, companies need to be reminded that social media is about being social, not simply broadcasting their message.
Unsure how to do this? Think about how you would hold a conversation at a cocktail party. When you write an update for your social media followers, does this match how you might talk to people outside of work?
Reward Loyalty- We’ve all seen those clubs and reward cards that offer a free drink, sandwich or meal once you’ve reached 20 stamps. But that isn’t what I mean by rewards. In social media, you have to be much more personal than a simple reward program.
For example, you have clients that have been with you for several months or years - out of the blue you offer them a free service or product - just for being loyal.
When a fan publicly endorses you on Twitter, thank them and get their email to send them a coupon code on their next order, or a sample of your newest product.
Obviously you can’t do this with every fan, but you can do it often enough that word gets around, and your followers can see that you care about them.
Always Answer Them- Followers appreciate being heard. Other followers see this and know you care about your fans. One surefire way to show your followers how important they are, is to always answer them.
Whether it be on social media, email or the phone. A policy like this is a clear message that you care about the people who support your business, and that matters to them.
Stand By Your Promises- Followers expect your promises to be delivered. If you tell them they’ll receive special discounts via email, just for signing up, be prepared to deliver those discounts.
On the same token, if you tell them to follow you on Facebook to get notifications on new product releases, your page should have previous releases listed. As with any relationship, it is important to hold up your end of the deal, so when you make a promise, be sure your actions stand behind it.
Feature Your Fans- On a regular basis, give your fans the opportunity to be part of your brand. They can send in pictures of themselves using your products, videos of how they would market new products, or testimonials on how your product has made a difference in their lives.
As you encourage them to participate, you can choose several of their messages to share in social media. This works well for your company because you are showing the world how important your followers are, and you are showing new potential buyers how loyal your fans are - the social proof social media delivers.
Encourage fans to participate by offering small rewards. For instance, Kiwi Crate sends their fans a plushie of their mascot. You could send a t-shirt, mug or other token of appreciation. Since the fans are providing you with testimonials and content you can use, it would be tacky to simply offer a discount. Special prizes or even limited editions are exciting to get, and create more buzz.
Knowing Your Fans
Anyone can offer you suggestions about what your fans want, and how you can get it to them. But with most companies, no one knows your fans as well as you do. Think about these questions when you are trying to build loyalty among your followers. In the answers you should be able to come up with just the thing to keep everyone happy.
What do my fans love about my company?
What do my fans always want more of?
How are my competitors keeping their fans loyal?
What other value can I offer my fans?
What are my fans saying about my brand?
Are your fans already loyal? What do you think your company does that keeps them coming back for more, share in the comments to help other small businesses learn how to get more out of social media by increasing the loyalty among their fans.