Building Loyalty through Social Media

Building loyalty through social media

Guest post by Eileen Bernardo from Viralheat.

Loyalty evokes a strong sense of emotion in human beings and is one of the pillars that support successful relationships.  Business relationships between brand and customer are no different.  When a consumer feels loyalty to a particular brand or product, they tend to stay lifelong supporters and champions of the brand.  They promote the product to their peers and continue to look forward to and purchase newer models, editions, etc.

Since its evolution and subsequent adoption, social media has changed the way businesses interact with their customer’s and audience.  This new dynamic has created a unique opportunity for businesses to connect and build brand loyalty with their customers.  Because of its simplicity combined with immediacy, social media is an ideal way to reach out to or talk about a particular brand, product, or service. It has also paved the way for businesses to create a two-way dialogue as they can now directly connect with their audience and customers in a very personal and timely way.

Successful businesses have recognized the direct link between social media and building brand loyalty.  The two-way communication allows for the two seemingly separate entities to connect and build relationships that scratch deeper than the surface.  And because of the volume of people that social media can reach, it increases the chances of developing and cultivating new loyalties.

So how can a business build brand loyalty using social media?

Build the relationship

There are two parts to this piece – the audience and the business.  These are the two entities that engage in a relationship.  And like every relationship, the strongest ones survive when the sense of loyalty is not only present, but also a major part of the foundation.  Not only should the customer feel loyal to the brand, the brand should also feel loyal to its customer.

This means that the brand stays true to who it says it is and continues to develop in a way that is in line with their branding, messaging, and mission statement.  In turn, there are many customers who only purchase products made by their favorite brands because they believe and trust in the brand.  These lifetime users are more likely to recommend the brand to friends and speak highly about the brand on their social channels. Some brands with exemplary loyalty are: Apple, Amazon, and Honda.

Take advantage of online channels

Word of mouth is now the most popular form of advertisement and it’s no doubt that social media helps contribute to its popularity. People are constantly talking about what they have, want, or need on their social networks. Before consumers make the decision to purchase they often check online to read reviews from peers or see how people are reacting to the product or service.

Smart, social media savvy brands take advantage of the honest, unfiltered feedback from online users and use these platforms to their benefit. Brands can reach out to those who are positively advocating their products and thank them for their support or offer a discount. These small gestures will go a long way in building customer loyalty. And because sometimes a customer may have a negative experience with your product or service, when a customer does reach out to voice their displeasure, it’s important to react quickly.  Customers know that sometimes things can go wrong, and they’re usually willing to forgive it if you can rectify the situation in a timely way. What they won’t forget is when a company does not bother respond to their complaint or responds too late. Your timely response can often times be the deciding factor in turning a detractor into an advocate.  Social media is an easy channel for customers to reach out and, in turn, your company to respond.

Engage now

What are you waiting for?  There’s no better time than now to start building and cultivating a relationship with your customers.  1-800 numbers and email correspondence are no longer the only way for brands and consumers to connect.  Social media allows for brands to quickly and easily directly engage with their audiences proactively.  Whether you’re reaching out to a brand new customer or a lifelong advocate, the key to maintaining a successful relationship is staying engaged.  Just like any other relationship, there needs to be communication between the two parties.

While it may seem like a no-brainer that companies would want to build brand loyalty, not all brands are taking advantage of the ways social media can help them achieve this.  Social media provides businesses with all the tools they need in building loyalty online – the players, the outlets, and the means.  Take the time to follow these simple steps and start building and cultivating online brand loyalty today.

Image credit: Thomas Hawk

  • This is a really nice article. Thanks for sharing it with us, Eileen. Social media today is all about building a nice reputation and develop a healthy and a positive relationship with your customers and audience. Thanks again.

  • eileenrenebernardo

    Thanks Michal! You’re completely right. It’s all about cultivating that relationship, especially in the world that we live in today. 🙂

  • “Just like any other relationship, there needs to be communication between the two parties.”

    Absolutely true. Many businesses approach social media as a one way street. They consider it another sales tool and become disappointed when their social profiles don’t even generate leads. You can’t use social media as simply another channel to promote your products or services. But rather you need to engage with your followers and answer them back to keep the communication going.

  • Talk About Creative

    Great article, thanks for sharing. Reputations can be built and lost through social media so honest engaging communication is key.

  • Ann Smarty

    I couldn’t agree more on the relationship.

  • eileenrenebernardo

    I completely agree, Nick! When businesses use social just to blast their products and services, customers are not engaged and don’t find a desire to create a strong relationship with the brand. Engagement is key.

  • eileenrenebernardo

    Thanks, Talk About Creative! Social plays a major role in relationships today so it is definitely important to keep communication open.

  • eileenrenebernardo

    Agreed, Ann. Relationships are extremely important in the business world today.

  • The quality and content is great, and it is very quick and easy to
    follow along. I really look forward to seeing more. Thank you so much!

  • Nitter Natter

    I love your reference to the two-way element of communication in social media. Not only is social media a great way to talk about your products or services with such a huge potential reach, it is the best way to actually engage with consumers.

    Like you say, whether the interactions result in positive or negative feedback, brands that take this on board will build the best relationships with their consumers compared to those who don’t.

    There is so much power in conversation on social media!

    Grace, Nitter Natter.

  • eileenrenebernardo

    Thanks for the kind words! 🙂

  • writing services

    Very few of the businesses that are using social media have the right idea about how it can be made to work for them. Too often they are stuck in the mindset that their Facebook brand page is just another place to sell their products. This means that most businesses are missing the best opportunity to make a new, loyal customer by not following up on the engagement, good or bad, that their customers initiate. Social media isn’t so much about selling to customers as it is about engaging with them.

  • eileenrenebernardo

    Thanks for your feedback, Nitter Natter! Social media is definitely the route businesses need to take if they want to build a positive relationship in today’s society.

  • eileenrenebernardo

    I agree, writing services! Many businesses use social media as a megaphone to tout their own products. They need to understand that social media is a powerful tool to make and maintain relationships.

  • Narein

    As social media became the platform for gathering people, its necessary for every business to play a role in that medium to establish their brand stronger. Many does’nt use this social media platform in full swing. And many of them even making mistakes in handling social media which should be avoided. Every individual has to gain knowledge about handling their customers and followers to establish or retain their brand image.

    Read an article about the common mistakes while handling social media

    Loved the highlighting tips regarding the relationship building in your article.

    Overall a great article which everyone should get know about it.

    Thanks

  • Good article!! love it so much, keep it up! Building and maintaining relation is the main factor which can be scaled in Social Media