Social media is an exciting new field that gives brands the opportunity to interact with their target audience in an unprecedented way. But many are daunted by social channels and quite rightly too.
Approaching social media like traditional marketing can prompt a lukewarm response at best and can be a recipe for disaster at worst. So what are the best ways for brands to navigate the pitfalls of these platforms and build a loyal fan base of advocates?
At Your Service
The immediate nature of communication via social channels means that brands are now able to use these to quickly address the comments, questions and concerns of their target audience and develop a dialogue.
While it’s possible to simply post about products and services, this isn’t taking full advantage of the format. You should be aiming to respond to both positive and negative communication and avoid falling into the trap of ignoring – or worse deleting - unfavorable comments.
Build Me Up Buttercup
When starting your sally into social, you should aim to build up a relationship with your followers. People trust the views of independent third parties more than promotional materials so creating brand advocates should be your ultimate goal.
An Offer You Can’t Refuse
To drive dialogue, you want to make the follower the star of the show. Some good ways to accomplish this include profiling a follower of the week or featuring submitted stories and photos on your pages.
One excellent way of rewarding your social media followers is through exclusive offers or insider information. Obviously, this suits some products and services better than others, but providing perks can be a great way of adding value and keeping your fan base coming back for more.
You shouldn’t rely on this as the main driver of your social strategy though. While attracting followers with social media-based deals might get you an initial surge in numbers, it’s not as helpful when trying to build engagement and long-lasting relationships.
The immediacy of social media has switched the world of marketing on its head – putting customers firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing how and when they will engage with brands. While keeping abreast of changing practices can be daunting, you shouldn’t despair at the prospect of taming the social beast.
By having a degree of transparency, addressing feedback – both good and bad – and above all, devoting time and effort to your social media presence, you’ll be well on your way to building a loyal and active fan base.
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