When a company is growing, it’s easy to lose that personal connection to your customers that helped start your brand. In this digital age, we now have the ability to connect with people in more ways than ever before, but how can corporations remain welcoming on a larger scale? This blog post will aim to discuss how social media’s can be used to create a community feeling within your customers, making them feel more like a member of your brand, and why this is an important aspect of customer engagement.
The level at which you utilize your networks can decide how your customers interact with you. Passive use see’s Facebook pages left like brochures for customers to read at leisure or never. Somera (2014) found that 70% of corporate Facebook’s actively
respond to their customer comments, increasing their interactivity, rather than just having regular posts. This social platform makes it easier for customers to communicate with the company, as well as with each other, beyond a transnational level. It’s up to you though, to create an algorithm that suits your brand image in order to reach your audience once you’ve gained them. According to Casas (2014), a whopping 96% of your page ‘likers’ don’t return after the initial engagement. This means that you need to get your posts into their news feeds. The more engagement you can get with your customers, the more your post’s will be prioritized on their feed. Creating the community interface style with your online presence is one way of building an active relationship with your customers and working your way into their daily feed.
Brand communities can create value beyond that which your firm creates or anticipates. It creates an opportunity to create value collaboratively with your consumers. Kim et al (2010), suggests that online communities add value in several ways: building brand awareness and image, providing access to the voice of loyal customers, increasing supplier commitment, and generating revenue from new and existing customers. After examining 1500 members of an existing online community, their study confirms that online community commitment is a key influence on brand commitment. Interestingly, they found that brand commitment is enhanced for active users and non-users of the target brand. It’s important to consider study bias’ here, as participants may have figured the aim of the study and unintentionally given the researchers the answers they felt they wanted to hear. On the other hand, if you are socially connected to one brand versus another, it seems viable that you would be exposed to content that would sway your buying decisions.
For those consumers that are actively connected to your brand online, you need to work out the right repertoire to use effectively. “Conversation drives Gen C, especially when it’s aligned with their interests (Levy, 2013)”. Our audiences have now been raised using internet as a key tool when making everyday decisions. Sliding seamlessly into that norm without being lost under the sea of competition is a challenge. ‘Gen C’ are a type that want the content they share to reflect their personal values, uploading their lives to their own communities on a daily basis. Therefore, if you want a customer to interact with your content it has to reflect how your consumers like to be perceived as well.
Twitter is a great platform to have more informal conversations with customers that are reaching out to you. It doesn’t always have to be a promotional message about your amazing new products, just simple responses to a followers tweet about their experience will make a vast difference. According to SimplyMeasured, 54% of top brands only send less than one @ response per day. Acknowledging your audiences presence gets noticed by more than just the one person you reply to. It makes users feel important and special. Some corporations create separate accounts to deal with complaints and queries, but small to mid-sized businesses should focus on one account to build as much traffic as possible before expanding. After studying brands that effectively engage with their customers, Fernando (2014) suggests the following twitter tips. With smaller companies, it will be easier to keep track of your mentions and respond to as many as possible. Keep you brand voice consistent in the tone of your replies. Quote your tweeters name in your response to increase the personal and special feel. Acknowledging even just feelings and opinions, even if not directly aimed at getting a response, is really appreciated by consumers. Lastly, humour is always a favourite when used appropriately and effectively.
What I can conclude, from my research for this post, is simple and difficult all at the same time. Companies are seen as one brand, not multiple departments. So the online presence needs to convey this. You need to get to know your audience. Focus on key influencers to gain the most useful information and then use that to spread to the rest of your connections. Create content that represents your values as well as those of your customers. They want to interact with posts that give them feelings, posts that create conversations, and further represent them among their own connections. Overall, I would say that customers want to feel like a visible member of your brand.
Creation, Curation, Connection, and Community
Casas (2014) HOW TO MAKE A SUCCESSFUL POST AND IMPROVE THE REACH OF YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE! Available <http://postcron.com/en/blog/make-successful-post-improve-reach-facebook-page/> [Accessed 27/03/2016]
Divi Fernando (2014) The Top 20 Brands that know hoe to Engage with Customers on Twitter Available <blog.woorank.com/2014/07/top-20-brand-on-twitter-ranked-by-influence-with-customers/> [Accessed 28/03/2016]
Jae Wook Kim, Jiho Choi, William Qualls & Kyesook Han (2010, online) It takes a marketplace community to raise brand commitment: the role of online communities Journal of Marketing Management, Volume 24, Issue 3-4, 2008 Available <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1362/026725708X306167> [Accessed 27/03/2016]
Mental Expire (2014) HitRECord Mandala Available <https://www.hitrecord.org/records/1671835> [Accessed 27/03/2016]
P. Somera (2014) Entrepreneurial ExecutiveVolume 19 Using Social Networks to Build Business Connections: Engagement and Interactivity on Guam’s Restaurants’ Facebook Pages Available <https://www.questia.com/library/journal/1G1-397579787/using-social-networks-to-build-business-connections> [Accessed 27/03/2016]
Tara Walpert Levy (2013)The Engagement Project: Connecting With Your Consumer in the Participation Age Available <https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/engagement-project-new-normal.html> [Accessed 27/03/2016]
Vicky Larocque New Generation Image https://www.instagram.com/p/wKzfEpF5To/
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