People today crave connection, especially in our digital world. Brands have long been household names, but with a strong social media presence, they can now occupy an even more personal place in our lives.
With so much noise it can be difficult for brands to build genuine relationships with their target audiences. For the brands that clear this hurdle, the payoff is real. When those connections are established, brands are rewarded with a boost in customer loyalty and spending and word-of-mouth recommendations—all direct contributions to their bottom line.
Sprout Social data shows that 57% of people will increase their spend with a brand when they feel connected to it. To narrow in on that perspective, 62% of the people on Twitter don’t hesitate to spend more money for the products or services of a brand they like (compared to 51% of the general online population).
Putting customers and their wants at the center of your digital strategy is vital if you want to foster long-lasting relationships. We’ve highlighted five things brands must do to better connect with their audiences and turn casual followers into engaged brand advocates.
1. Treat Twitter as the core customer experience element it is.
In an environment with so much potential for meaningful relationships, there are big expectations: 78% of consumers want brands to use social to help people connect with each other.
Businesses can no longer ignore the value of digital. Outdated excuses (i.e. that it is too difficult to quantify success and that it does not affect the bottom line) are no longer valid today. Twitter is transforming how customers and brands talk to one another, making it an integral part of the consumer experience. Companies like Apple, for example, have their own support handles specifically for handling customer service requests and answering product questions.
2. Use a mix of entertaining and educational content to attract followers.
While many want the content they come across to entertain, your content strategy has to strike a balance between showing what your brand offers and what your brand represents. 57% of people on Twitter will favor brands that share their values, compared to just 45% of the general online population.
Well-executed educational content can make people feel good about your product and confident about choosing you over competitors. Half of consumers follow a brand on social to learn about new products and services.
That said, people still want to be engaged and entertained before they buy. 50% of social marketers say entertaining and inspirational posts are the most effective in helping them reach their goals.
3. Utilize formats like live video to engage with your audience.
Video has reigned as the digital content king over the past few years. But despite the push for video, marketers are still behind when it comes to nurturing their video presence, resulting in missed opportunities to connect with consumers. With 45% of consumers wanting to see more live video from brands, marketers should invest in video for sustained future growth.
Cultivating communities also offers brands a unique opportunity to connect directly with their audiences. More than two-thirds of consumers will join a private group because they want to connect with people who are similar to them, while almost half (46%) join to communicate directly with a brand or business. The larger the landscape becomes, the more private communities can help brands stay in close contact with their customers.
4. Create posts offering trials or discounts to convert followers into customers.
A good deal never gets old. Of consumers that follow brands on social but don’t buy from them, 61% said posts offering discounts or free trials encourage them to make their first purchase. Promotional content is one of the few cut-and-dried ways businesses quantify social performance as it relates to sales goals and ensure a boost in customer loyalty. Brands can take advantage of holidays like Black Friday or Cyber Monday to offer exclusive discounts that get buyers excited. Space Camp USA, for example, created Tweets highlighting a limited-time promotion for Black Friday shoppers.
5. Leverage authentic advocacy to grab your audience’s attention.
When marketers take the time to build authentic consumer relationships, they are rewarded with an increase in web traffic, a boost in sales and—one of a brand’s greatest organic marketing tools—word-of-mouth advocacy.
One way to move consumers to action is to leverage employee advocacy, a strategy currently employed by 72% of all social marketers. When brands encourage employees to share content to their own networks, 45% of consumers say they are more likely to research that product or service. Starbucks, for example, has a unique employee advocacy program that encourages staff members to share brand updates and news on Twitter.
These advantages make it easy to see why more brands are embracing the employee advocacy as a business priority.
Moving toward a social-first customer experience
In an era where consumers seek meaningful experiences with brands and are drawn to authentic conversations, a business with no social presence is one with no future. People crave connection with their favorite brands, and Twitter provide consumers with a direct line of communication.
Social is the perfect place to start meaningful relationships with customers. It’s an environment that’s intimate, where we celebrate the ability to share and connect with one another. As a brand, make everything you deliver there count.
To learn more about Sprout Social, check out their profile on partners.twitter.com.