10 ways to increase brand advocacy via social media

The bottom line for every company is to get more business and all efforts are geared towards activities that can fulfil this ultimate goal. The customer experience teams along with other departments within the organisations implement creative tactics and advocacy programs to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty to create stickiness towards the brand. One of the ways for doing this is by leveraging social media to maintain a touchpoint across a number of devices and channels to create an end-to-end customer journey. Read the blog post to know how brands can increase their advocacy through social media.

1.Show an authentic brand image

Highlighting the brand’s values, personality and culture in communication with the audience can develop trust. For e.g. sharing employee team pictures and behind the scenes, happenings can induce emotions in customers in terms of belonging improving the overall trust and customer experience.

2.Talk to your fans and customers- Ask them what they value!

Before launching a campaign or promotion on social media, understand the pulse of your fans. Create short posts asking for their opinion and ideas and implement those in bigger campaigns, products or services, which can make them feel special and heard. Such tactics not only generate repeat customers but also establish a relationship and increases their CLV.

3.Make each one feel special

Every customer is an asset to the business, in the socially connected world, the loss of one leads to the loss of many. Be sure to connect with customers on an individual level and social media can be a great way. A simple reply to every tweet/message, which is not only a complaint but also a compliment, can go a long way in creating a trusting bond of friendship between the brand and the customer.

4.Adopt a multiple channel approach

Most businesses segment using demographics as one of the main characteristic and with the growing number of platforms within the social media space brands must analyse the platforms they should penetrate that best suits their audience. Brands must be equipped to engage and respond with resources skilled at answering queries and complaints at any time and at any channel. Various engagement tools are now available that integrate all handles within one platform with task allocation feature for easy management.

5.Don’t sell but educate

The advent of digital has changed the mindset of the connected consumer. The push marketing strategy from yesteryears has been taken over by the pull strategy changing the dynamics of promotional content. Brand delivering a constant stream of adverts can impact the customer experience and disenchant the customer. A mix of content from other sources, user generated content, sharing company news and culture, asking for feedback and questions are all ways to invite customers towards the brand.

6.Showing gratitude via social

To gain a true edge over the competition and to keep customers happy brands must show signs of appreciation towards their customers. Proactively reaching out, commenting, acknowledging their messages, sending small gesture tokens like personalised vouchers and discount codes on their favourite items can all boost happiness level and proportionately the traffic on the sources.

7.Promptness in communication

The On-demand generation expects ‘instant’ communication and ‘instant’ results. Social media is a way to cater to this changing customer attitude. Setting up a step-by-step company program on how to handle complaints on various social channels and the approach to be taken to solve their problems has become key. By incorporating engagement and listening tools, some of our Meltwater’s clients have been able to reduce response times, keep a track of conversations and the frequency at which customers reach out to the business.

8.Employee advocacy to enhance social presence

Employees are the company’s best advocates and involving them in communication can showcase the brand’s values and imply a ‘We care’ attitude. Brands like Cisco have an employee advocacy program having over 1300 members that are given guidelines and support to amplify company’s messages through social networks and get the word out about products, services, culture etc.

9.Using social media as a research tool

Social media until a few years ago was a communication medium but with the increased maturity level of the customers and the advancement within these platforms, businesses can benefit from social media in other ways. It can be used to understand problems in the customer journey and a channel for improving customer experience. The volume of content and organic conversations on social media allows data to be converted into a research opportunity highlighting problems and allowing ways to improve the satisfaction levels. This is not only limited to company’s social media handles but also external sources such as discussion and complaint forums. From content sharing to reputation management, social media covers multiple businesses uses if leveraged properly.

10.Monitoring the social media ecosystem

Stats depict that 96% of online brand conversations happen outside of their official social channels. For brands to offer great customer experience and loyal customers, they must monitor the social ecosystem from outside other than their internal sources- we call this the ‘Outside Insight’. With the help of sophisticated listening solutions, brands can monitor this dark space that houses most of the customer reviews, complaints and feedback. It’s not always essential for a customer to tag a brand in their conversations, therefore, monitoring keywords in this vast space is a must to see the actual brand mentions allowing the right brand analysis and customer experience reports.

A McKinsey report suggests that the move to social can instigate a paradigm shift in the customer satisfaction, lower cost and increase the net promoter score if leveraged correctly. Use the above tips to incorporate social media to make an impact. Let your customers do the talking, while you reap the benefits!

Creating customer experiences through personalized communication

We all have heard of the phrase ‘first impression is the last impression’. It is this impression that often sets the tone for all the future conversations. This impression also further determines whether or not a prospect will become a customer. The question being, in the digital ecosystem how do we ensure the best first impression?

There are many channels and numerous styles of communication that have come into existence because of digital and social. For example, let’s look at the world of blogging. Bloggers have given rise to the informal style of communication relying on a strong personal aspect. They have gained reliability and popularity because people consider them real and identify with their personalities. Their claim to fame is the ability to connect with the audience and give them access to real and personal experiences/ advice. Their power to use technology coupled with the right skills to reach the audience at an emotional level has made them experts within a domain. With this large fan following and subscribers, how does one ensure the personalised style of communication with each member?

Addressing with the first name is no more the only way to effective personalization. As technology has evolved, so has the ability to personalise especially with techniques like data mining and segmentation. Therefore implementing technology can take personalised communication to an unprecedented level to make it one-to-one dynamic. Let’s explore some ways to personalise your communication in the digital age.

  1. Making Two-way conversations

Making interpersonal conversation is a must. Ask and reply to questions, come across as a real person instead of a brand name, share and ask for feedback. This way both parties can feel valued and the likelihood of lasting relationship increases.

  1. Using real life personal experiences

Sharing real-life experiences can add a personal touch and develop a friend like rapport. By Sharing incidences and helping the audience learn from such experiences initiates a two-way conversation, which is the first step to developing personalised relationships.

  1. Adding value to people’s life

To win people’s trust and to establish long-term personal relationships, brands must contribute in terms of value. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship. Training videos, how to blogs, eBooks are all ways of adding values and addressing to customer’s pain points to create a personal connect and ‘we care’ image.

  1. Involving your customers/prospects in brand decisions

Certain brand decisions impact customers, therefore, conducting surveys and involving them in the brand evolution can help in making customers feel special. This also helps in understanding customer expectations and opinions about your brand that can further help in customization.

  1. Automating a part of the communication

Automating social media posts, emailers and syndicating all social media and listening within one platform can help communicate in a timely and flexible manner to maintain consistency, personalization and better customer experiences. Automating a part of the activities also means more time to spend on building personal relationships by actively participating and communicating with the audience through forums, comments, virtual/live events etc.

  1. Developing buyer personas and segmenting audiences

Brands must create fictitious character profiles for the kind of customers they are targeting. Demographics, income, location, profession etc. are all characteristics that help create a buyer persona. These profiles and insights help generate a holistic picture of the target market with which one can customise ‘mass communication’ to make it ‘one-on-one’ communication.

  1. Choosing the right channels for communication

The personas and segmentation techniques can help choose the right channels for communicating with the various audiences- whether to focus on physical retail, emailers, social media, mobile marketing and so on. Search behaviours and clicks on websites and mobiles give an indication to the best medium for personalising communication. Lastly, regardless of the channel, the communication should be consistent and personal in nature.

  1. Leveraging the available customer data and measuring results

Analysing and mining the data collected about the customer can give insights about their personality, likes, dislikes and so on that can deepen the level of personalization. This information can be used to further optimise campaigns and improve response rates to encourage better customer relationship through two-way communication. Dashboards, analytics tools and listening solutions can all be used to collect customer data.

  1. Having CRM in place

To maintain healthy relationships it is critical to know about the conversations with each customer, therefore, maintaining a central repository with all past and present communication is key. Rewarding customers, sending thoughtful messages to promote personalization can only be executed when there is a record of customer information. Using such tools can track the changing customer expectations and behaviour to help tailor communication to suit the constantly evolving mindset.

  1. Nurturing existing relationships

Knowing your customer once is not enough. As demands and expectations grow, brands must continue to listen, learn and adjust to a customer’s changing needs and respond accordingly. Like any other personal relationship, even this relationship must be nurtured to avoid customers from shifting to alternates. The goal should be to communicate on an emotional level so that there is a personal and genuine connection just like a valuable friendship.

To conclude, companies and brands should recognise the impact that the digital age can have on customer service and how the new age consumer increasingly expects personalization. The trend of monologue and mass marketing is now moving to dialogue and personalization.