Invest in Your Fans to Build Brand Loyalty

What is brand loyalty and can you count on customers to respond when you have an important call to action? Through thoughtful content curation and relationship-building, brands can foster engagement and build brand loyalty on their social channels so when the time comes to ask them to do something, that call will be answered.

Cultivating a passionate and engaged fan base doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, planning and regular community management with fans to build strong social relationships.

Customer Service
Questions, complaints and kudos require quick and professional responses. The fans who take time to ask questions on social channels, complain about the brand or rave about a product are the most inherently engaged and can each be recruited to be brand advocates. Being available to address questions quickly fosters a back and forth between the consumers and the brand, making these fans and others who witness the interaction more willing to advocate on the brand’s behalf.

Be Genuine with Content
Consumers are savvier than ever before and don’t respond to the hard sell in social. Content goes much further when brands ditch the ad speak and develop a genuine voice on social channels offering content that resonates with the audience. Brands can still showcase their products and services, but creating compelling content programs highlighting key attributes or curating relevant content will keep the audience more engaged.

Provide Value
Content needs to answer the question: “What’s in it for me.” Higher engagement comes through paid and earned means. Giveaways are a great way to get more fans onto brand pages, but thoughtful, attractive content that elicits an emotional response and is easy to share will keep them there. Social media teams need to ask the question “Why will my audience care about this piece of content?” before creating campaigns and posting.

BEAT THE INDUSTRY GIANTS

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery Magazine chose 10 products for Best New Snack Food of 2012. Among the finalists was Nonni’s Biscotti’s Salted Caramel Biscotti. Snack & Bakery’s winner would be decided by popular vote on their website, making it a perfect opportunity for brands to recruit their fans and issue calls to action to vote. The size of a brand’s social media audience is important, but the degree of engagement from its fanbase is essential in votes like this.

Through a strategic content program of giveaways and regularly engaging content, Nonni’s was able to build a Facebook and Twitter audience just shy of 60,000 fans and followers to go head to head against industry giants like Kraft and Quaker Foods. With promotion on Nonni’s social channels and an email marketing campaign, Nonni’s was able to secure 52% of the total vote to win Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery’s Best New Snack Food of 2012, beating the next closest competitor by 24%. Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery featured Nonni’s on the cover of their magazine along with a 14-page spread featuring the company and its executives, along with a behind the scenes article inside one of Nonni’s bakeries, detailing the process by which Nonni’s Biscotti is made.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE IN AMERICA

In 2011, Good Morning America set out to settle the debate “What’s the most beautiful place in America?” Pure Michigan, which had built a highly-engaged audience on social media through great content and an outstanding blog, put out a call to its fans to nominate Sleeping Bear Dunes for the honor. Good Morning America selected 10 finalists, which included Sleeping Bear Dunes, then featured each location on the show. A final vote was held to determine the ultimate winner and Pure Michigan fans responded, voting Sleeping Bear Dunes the most beautiful place in America.

Cultivating a passionate and engaged fan base doesn’t happen overnight. But investing in content and investing in your communities builds the loyalty you need to tackle any obstacle or claim any award.