Fans, followers, readers, subscribers… These terms have all become relatively interchangeable in today’s marketplace as social media takes the strategies used in traditional marketing to a whole new, worldwide, and potentially limitless level of exposure. But these terms also have one other very important – no…crucial – meaning in common. They all translate into your customer base.
And while building that customer base is one thing, keeping and expanding it is quite another. In fact, the latter activity requires a completely different approach to online marketing. It’s called social media and brand image synergy.
The beauty about the synergistic relationship between social media and brand building is, beyond the boundless potential to reach millions of current and potential customers, that your fans, followers, readers, subscribers, etc., are actually the key players doing most of the work for you in every ad or promotion you run.
Your job then becomes to keep your fan base happy, to keep them engaged, and to give them something that they are excited to share with their friends.
So, what do your fans have to say about you?
Never before in history has the answer to this question been so critical. It’s a well-known fact that an unhappy customer will spread word of his or her displeasure to a circle of people three times (at least) larger than a happy customer. They’ll also do it faster.
Unfortunately (in the example of an unhappy customer), the power of social media makes it possible for this person to reach an unprecedented number of people with his or her complaint, in a matter of just a few minutes. In fact, they’ll often air their grievances with friends before they bring it to your attention to give you a chance to resolve the matter.
However, there is equal power for positive feedback spreading through social media, which becomes more likely when you take the time to develop relationships with your fan base.
To put it simply, treat them like people – like friends – rather than simply customers, and these people will not only return, but also spread the word about this awesome place that they do business with. This is the power of social media and brand image can really be put to work in your favor.
Happy fans and followers will “like” your posts, spreading them onto the pages of the people they know. Happy customers will share their experiences via social media and recommend your link to others. And when you keep them engaged, with useful and entertaining information and media, they will keep coming back.
The particular combinations of social media and brand image also gives the small business owner a unique opportunity to address the complaints of the occasional (and, unfortunately, inevitable) unhappy customer. When you see a complaint aired via social media, do not ignore it. As you know, this person’s influence can be very powerful. Instead, reach out to him or her and do what you can to make it right.
Question: Do you monitor what other say about your business/brand? How do you react to negative comments or mentions? Let me know in the comment section below.
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