Image via Hootsuite on Flickr

Three Tips to Build Community and Grow #BrandLove

It costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, according to Bain and Co. Pause and let that sink in for a moment. Your customer relationships are crucial, not only to driving consistent revenue for your business and saving you money, but also in creating a lovable brand. The trick is creating a unique experience for your customers, so they become truly invested in your business and will advocate on your behalf.

Here are 3 steps you can use to build #brandlove around your business:

1. Get to know your customers

Learn your customer care-abouts and pain points. The first step is to take a step back and listen. Luckily, social media allows us to listen in on relevant conversations in a scalable manner. This allows you to narrow in on the key interests, communication styles, and issues of your customers.Here at Hootsuite, we use geo-targeted searches to learn more about our customers in different regions. From here we’ll add our key customers to Twitter Lists so that we can seamlessly engage, share, and retweet their content.

Now you’re better equipped to serve your customer community. Your customers are talking about you on social media, whether you choose to take advantage of this or not is up to you.

2. Flex your personality

Once you’ve learned more about your customers, you need to equip yourself with an ongoing engagement model with your audience. This is different for every business. At Hootsuite, we maintain a 24/7 engagement model where we’re interacting with our community all day every day. After all, social never sleeps.

Take your business’s personality into account with every customer interaction. Are you a fun-loving and casual business or more professional? Whichever you are, consistency is crucial.

Context is also important. Are you talking to a long term, loyal client, or a new somewhat sceptic customer. Consider using slight shifts in the tone of your messaging and always tailor it to your audience.

3. Create culture around engagement or ‘Create an Engaging Environment’ 

There’s a time and a place for different mediums for engagement. However, when it comes to building a loyal community around your business, it’s important to provide a mixture of online and offline experiences.

At Hootsuite, we use a combination of channels and resources to interact with our audience. This includes private communities for different customer groups (for example, our 850+ Hootsuite Ambassadors). You may not require a private community, but find other ways to surprise and delight them.

Offer specialized programs for your regular participants. Exclusivity is key here! You want to create scarcity and demand for these programs, or else they don’t work. Consider building in ways to uplevel their reputations. Finally, you need to reward these community members both online and offline. At Hootsuite we do everything from offering LinkedIn recommendations to our Ambassadors, to meeting our customers in real life at Hootups or other events. When you take a digital relationship offline, you completely shift the connection and garner immediate brand equity.

#Brandlove Masterclass

image00

Learn more at Hootsuite’s #Brandlove Masterclass during Social Media Week in New York City, hosted by Hootsuite’s Jeanette Gibson, VP, Community and Customer Experience and Dr. William Ward Director, Education Strategy. Join the conversation with #HootSMW.

Date: Tues Feb 24
Time: 1:00 – 2:00pm EST
Location: Highline Stages – Innovate Stage