Wondering how to gain brand loyalty, boost engagement and stay connected to your customers? Read more for tips you can put into practice today to foster community on your business’ social media page.

Why You Should Invest In Your Online Community

Customer loyalty is a reflection of how a business interacts with its customers rather than the desired effect of the product or service itself. Many successful businesses can attribute customer loyalty to the work they’ve invested in fostering a sense of community within their brand. A community can be broadly defined as something your customers feel part of; the difference between one-time customers and followers who are engaged is shared interests and meaningful connections.

The vastness of social media can be intimidating but 42Growth sees an incredible opportunity in the breadth of online platforms. With an effective online presence your company has the ability to instill a much deeper sense of loyalty from your audience. There is no more perfect place than the internet to display the value of your product or service and what sets you apart from your competitors: your identity.

Investing in online platforms for your business allows your loyal customers to proudly show how your business aligns and enhances their lifestyle and ideals. Quite frankly, these followers are your most essential marketing tool. For example, if your product is a new supplement recently introduced to the market you might be having trouble securing a loyal customer base because you haven’t gained the trust of consumers yet. By posting on platforms such as Instagram you enable customers to interact with your posts by commenting, liking, and sharing your content with their friends. Now you have not only encouraged customers to leave positive feedback for whoever happens to navigate your page but for the followers of the customer who commented, liked, or shared your content. These are the potential customers you might not have reached with previous traditional advertising techniques but with an effective platform, you can reach them.

1. Make It Personal

Your first task in creating a strong online community is making it personal. With platforms such as Instagram you have the ability to weave narratives that are customized to your target consumers. In order to do so, we encourage you to reveal the faces and tell stories about the people behind your brand-- this humanistic approach enables you to create a more profound, emotional response from your customers and build those ties that are essential for community.

At 42Growth we tell our businesses to think about how they might interact with their customers in a real life situation. The recommendations, advice and conversation you would initiate in person should be included in your online strategy, too. By posting conversational captions, Instagram stories that feature two people chatting or even an IGTV series, you let the personality of your brand shine through.

Another way to make your page more personal is to provide valuable, targeted content. The circumstances of the current pandemic have demonstrated that post content doesn’t have to be restricted to direct sales incentives. Your posts should support and entertain your online community. Engagement-boosting tools can be found on Instagram stories where you can feature poll and question stickers to encourage interaction from your community members. While managing a social media page might sound time-consuming, we can help you plan, schedule and auto-publish your content so that it is optimized to reach your desired audience at the most appropriate times.

2. Be Bold & Transparent

42Growth encourages all of our partners to reflect on what their brand stands for and to be transparent about what that is with their customers. You can strengthen your community by advocating for important social causes or embracing the lifestyle habits your brand supports simply with effective content strategy. You might ask, what does that strategy look like? There’s no template or format as long as you’re totally authentic to your brand. Having clear brand values attracts like-minded people who will feel a connection to your brand and subjects that are relatable. If your customers’ values align with your brand then they are more likely to invest in your brand mission.

One of the benefits of an effective social media page is the opportunity to build a sense of community around your brand. While this drives customer loyalty and sales, 42Growth sees a bigger opportunity for you to accurately measure that your target audience wants, who they are and most importantly, how your business adds needed value to their lives. Being facilitating a conversation between business and consumer in which the consumers’ needs are acknowledged and met, you establish your brand as a transparent collaboration between both parties.

3. Facilitate Dialogue and Actively Listen

Relaying your story to your community is important, but it’s crucial to actively listen to what your followers are thinking and expecting of your brand. By creating a safe space on your platforms for people to converse, you strengthen the bond within your brand community but you can also gain insight into what your followers care most about.

Engagement is a two-way street. The simplest way to engage is to reply to comments and DM’s in a meaningful and thoughtful way. This shows that you are listening to the voices of your community and appreciate their valued input. There is also the opportunity to get creative; for instance, many businesses have taken to regularly asking their followers what products or services they would like to see in the future. It sounds simple enough, but by using real-time customer demand your business can better shape your marketing strategies to the current needs of your audience.

4. Share User-Generated Content (UGC)

To further develop and strengthen your online community, businesses should share user-generated content. UGC benefits your business by allowing the wider community to view positive reviews and stories from real people who enjoy using your product or service. It also lets your customers know that you care about representing them in the most inclusive way possible. By using hosting regular competitions and creating dedicated hashtags, you can encourage more UGC among your community members.

5. Go Live

This strategy is the most direct and unfiltered way to connect with your community, which is a great way to showcase your authenticity. During the pandemic, Instagram Live has been a huge hit on the platform, creating opportunities for brands to get creative in the ways that they support and entertain their customers.

6. Give Back

Giving back is a form of engagement that a lot of businesses fail to emphasize, but 42Growth sees it as a great way to show your gratitude for the support you receive from your community. Giving back can take the form of loyalty programs, discounts, giveaways or even donations to social causes. By making your online platform more exclusive you can also create a unique offering to your online following. For instance, brands can use Instagram Checkout to reward their Insta community with Insta exclusive products. There are many ways to give back but the best way is to maintain your community and its needs as the driving force behind your strategy. A combination of the aforementioned strategies will aid you in building and nurturing meaningful customer relationships and 42Growth believes that this last one is an investment that will prove the most valuable down the road.