4 Ways to Build a Stronger Brand-Consumer Relationship Using Social Media The way brands and customers communicate and interact with each other has been changed significantly by social media. It's become the preferred way to ask questions, relay information and receive feedback.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
There are several different ways to build a strong relationship with your consumers, whether it's through your email marketing, content, brand messaging on your website or old-school offline marketing, but I want to dive into how to do it through social media. Currently, there isn't a more effective way to create an authentic relationship.
Most brands spend an incredible amount of time, money and resources to build a large social-media following, but their intentions are based solely on one thing, and that is sales.
Related: 10 Laws of Social-Media Marketing
You have that audience, so why not leverage it to build a stronger relationship with your customers? In the end, it will create customers with a higher lifetime value. Here are four tips to help you accomplish this.
1. Host giveaways on social media
Consumers love free things, regardless of the monetary value. You could be giving away a new car or a t-shirt — the excitement and enthusiasm will be similar on social media. Hosting regular giveaways is a great way to create engagement on social media and keep your consumers glued to your brand, as they won't want to miss the next giveaway announcement.
Pick a somewhat desirable prize or your own offering (free products) and require followers to leave a comment, like the post and tag some friends that they believe will also be interested in the giveaway.
This creates excitement, participation, anticipation, and it also introduces your brand to a new audience. Honestly, this is one of the most effective marketing strategies right now and a great way to maintain and strengthen the relationship with your customers.
Related: 7 Creative Ways to Boost Your Social-Media Strategy
2. Repost UGC (user-generated content)
If you make an effort to repost your customers on social media and tag them, you will have a nonstop flow of user-generated content to pick from, share, promote and get even more customers wanting a piece of the action.
Ask your customers to post with your product on social media, tagging your brand and using a hashtag that you create specifically for this. The tag and dedicated hashtag make finding UGC very easy.
It takes very little effort to do this, and it will spread like wildfire because of FOMO (fear of missing out). Everyone will want to be seen on your social-media account. This creates more engagement and even drives more sales. It also gives you a never-ending supply of great content. UGC performs better than staged, professional photographs because they are real and authentic. Consumers connect with it because of its authenticity.
3. Make social media a main customer-service channel
Your customers are going to feel more connected to your brand if you are available to them on the communication channels they are active on, which is social media. The average consumer doesn't want to pick up the phone, send an email or submit a support ticket.
They want to talk on Facebook Messenger or Instagram DM — and they want answers to their questions quickly. If you make social media one of your main customer-support channels, you will create a much stronger relationship because you instantly make communicating with your brand simple for them.
Train your social-media team to handle common customer-service issues and have them route more complex issues to your customer-service team. You can also implement a Facebook chatbot that can answer common questions 24/7.
Related: 8 Social-Media Hacks for Small Businesses
4. Prioritize value over promotions
The biggest mistake most brands make on social media is using it exclusively as a promotional channel, posting nothing but advertisements and special offers. This creates a major disconnect between the brand and consumers.
For one, many will simply unfollow the brand, and if they don't, they ignore its posts on social media because they already know it's going to be an advertisement. Take the complete opposite approach.
Focus on posting value — whether it's information or simply a funny meme or GIF. Consumers will connect with that more and want to consume more of the brand's content, creating a stronger connection and leading to more purchases down the road.
Think of social media as a way to communicate with friends — make your audience view you as one of their friends they like to interact with, not just a company there to clog their timeline up with promotional offers.