The Importance of Growing, Maintaining, and Utilising Your Brand's Social Media Community
Brand communities are a uniquely modern phenomenon, and they can make or break your brand. The brand community member, observed in their natural habitat (social media platforms), seeks to feel listened to and involved in your brand – both in their interactions with the brand’s account, with influencers, and with other community members.
How can you use this?
Cultivating, maintaining, and growing your brand’s social media community is different from social media marketing alone and deserves to be looked at individually, both with day to day social media management and as a part of your brand’s social media strategy.
To understand your customer needs, you need to actively monitor social media platforms and listen and participate in discussions between members. Members of your brand community need to be looked after, as they can become valuable and loyal customers.
By cultivating and maintaining your brand community, you can grow your follower base, inspire followers to post links to your parent website and provide positive customer service experiences that endear you to your customers. Most importantly, you can help your community feel a close connection to your brand identity.
Utilize your brand community to build a reputation for customer service:
Before anything else, your presence on social media is a way for customers to contact you with questions, complaints, and comments. Because social media is a public platform, it creates an opportunity that other forms of customer service doesn’t.
Don’t forget this:
Your community can witness every interaction you have with other community members. While a negative comment left without a reply can make a brand seem flawed and aloof, a friendly, thoughtful reply can have a powerful effect on even the most prejudiced customer.
Replying to as many comments as possible allows you to strengthen the bond with your community and create a reputation for great customer service. Any way in which you can cultivate your community will translate to anybody watching your social media as making customers your brand’s priority.
Maintain brand loyalty by creating a brand identity that customers can be a part of:
People like to feel involved like they belong to something – and that’s something your brand can learn from and utilize. A customer that associates a brand with their sense of identity is unlikely to ever be swayed by competitors. This kind of brand loyalty is invaluable. A brand community that has a sense of exclusivity and has frequent, authentic interactions with a brand is a community of loyal customers that will become ambassadors for your brand.
Tips to grow, cultivate, and maintain your brand’s social media community:
Show followers your brand cares by replying thoughtfully to make sure the customer feels heard. If the comment is negative, funnel the discussion away from the public page into a private discussion by directing them to a customer service page, email, or message inbox. McDonald’s social media accounts are an excellent example of this.
Make a real effort towards customer requests. Rather than just agreeing to consider something, think about how you could integrate their request. Starbucks has turned its understanding of this into another way of cultivating its community, with a site dedicated to requests and a multitude of drinks inspired by customer suggestions.
Remember that your community is more than just your brand account. Your and your staff’s personal profiles on social media can have a powerful role to play in managing and growing your community. Use your own social media identity to support (and put a human face on) your brand.
Reinforce brand loyalty by rewarding loyal customers with follower-exclusive promotions and first access to new products – whether this is with a loyalty card, follower-exclusive competitions, or coupons. This is also a great technique for growing your community.
Encourage your followers to actively take part in producing content for your brand with user-generated content campaigns, such as Marc Jacob’s ‘#castmemarc” hashtag competition. Find a voice that is friendly and professional yet also imparts a unique, approachable sense of your company’s culture. This voice should be consistent with all parts of a brand’s marketing – online, offline, and in person. Is your brand’s voice distant and mysterious, like Apple, or humorous and chatty, like the US restaurant chain Denny’s?
Pay attention to your community members – although they might not all be influencers, they all have influence.
The ultimate social media community management hack:
Call in the pros (AKA our social media marketing team). Growing, cultivating, and maintaining your brand’s social media community is an important part of your social media marketing. A bad social media interaction can quickly lead to the public shaming of a brand that undoes all the work its marketing campaign might have done. Choosing a professional to manage your brand’s community is vital to both expressing the right voice for your brand and for avoiding critical mistakes. We can help you get it done right.
Feel free to book in a 45-minute strategy session with one of our team members who can provide valuable information in getting the most out of your online growth and social media efforts.
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