All too often, marketing companies take for granted the followers they have on social platforms and will normally place numerical values on them in terms of how much money they bring into the company. Not only is this harmful to the relationships a brand has with its followers because they are only seen as numbers, but it is also a waste of relationships that could possibly turn out to be more beneficial to the company.
Nowadays, social media is more than a way to advertise your brand and get your message out to the public. It has now become an arena for companies to foster personal and real time relationships with its followers and loyal customers. Similar to how friends interact within Facebook or Twitter, internet marketers have the opportunity to show a different side of a company and tailor the experience towards individual users. A company will gain way more than dollars when satisfying customers and interacting with them online. It will create brand advocates that can get a company’s name out there even more efficiently than social or any kind of advertising can. People are more likely to buy products recommended by friends, brands they like, or brands they have heard good things about. And, the best part is it’s free.
This relationship building goes deeper than a pretty page or profile though, it requires dedicated and genuine interaction with anybody that visits your page, whether it be positive or negative. Responding to posts or messages that people put on your page and acting like a real human is the first big step. It would almost be appropriate to say that a company should act on its page as a regular user would when on their own profile at home. Customers can sense the difference in responses and whether they are genuine or not. Who doesn’t like to be acknowledged when they post something or share a picture? To create real brand advocates, a company must create an experience for the user that will not be forgotten. Much like how Apple creates that unforgettable feeling when making a purchase in its stores, brands must give customers the feeling that they are important and make a difference.
Brands and their advocates can benefit from each other by sharing or re-tweeting one another’s posts or engaging in discussion with each other. Companies must view advocates as part of their brand team without letting the customer know that. More brand awareness will follow with the building of relationships among customers that will further result in the end goal of higher sales.