Customers want to do business with companies they know, like, and trust. You’ve likely seen extremely dedicated fans of the Fortune 100 brands. They wait in ridiculously long lines for product roll-outs; they refuse to buy from a competitor; and they think every other brand in that category is inferior.
But how can you create an army of customers like that for your brand? Especially, if it’s not really the type of product or service people get excited about?
Thankfully, social media has helped customers get past the superficial stuff and start liking brands for the persona they’re sharing with the world. You can be part of those brands, even with very little financial investment. You need only time and these tactics.
1. Do Something Unexpected
Neurological studies have shown that the brain lights up when it experiences something new. This newness establishes a pattern, “if this happens, then this happens.” With every new experience, our brain is mapping it. The more often we experience similar things, the less our brains pay attention to them. That’s how some of us can drive back from work each day and have little recollection of the ride, even if it was across town! Our brains slip into autopilot because they’ve “been there, done that.”
When you create a new experience or provide something unexpected, people remember it. Think about a movie with an unexpected ending. The Sixth Sense, for instance, had people talking for months. Find a way to surprise customers or potential customers, and you’ll become part of their new “mapped” brain.
2. Share Your Special Causes
People want to be a part of something bigger. They want to feel good about the purchases they make beyond the product or service they’re buying. Look at TOMS and their program of sending a pair of shoes to someone in a disadvantaged country for every pair purchased. This idea launched this otherwise average footwear company into mega-stardom.
If you have a special charity or cause that means a lot to you, share it. Share the why behind it too. Better yet, find a way to incorporate it into your business. For instance, one of our local breweries is having an adopt a stray night where they invite in a local pet organization to bring their adoptable pets. They also take donations. And everyone feels good about helping the animals.
3. Share Your Why
There are many businesses out there that simply aren’t sexy. You’re lucky if you have a product or service that people naturally get excited about. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build an army of loyal enthusiasts. You just need to get deeper than what you sell. You need to go into the why.
Telling people your “why” can help them connect with you in a deeper way. Think about a romantic movie. Sure, the movie casting team is going to cast a good-looking person as the romantic lead, but there’s also going to have to be something endearing about them. When you share your why, you’re by-passing the flashy exterior and getting right into the heart of what your customers and prospective customers are going to find endearing about you. Tell your story. Share your background. Express the meaning behind your business.
4. Please Your Employees
Good customer service keeps people coming back. You will never satisfy a customer or potential customer without happy employees. Focus on your business culture. Make your employees happy. Tell your customers about it. Better yet, empower your employees to do it.
I dined at a restaurant several years ago where the waitress had her company logo tattooed on her wrist. She loved working there that much! I still remember her smile when she talked about it. That’s the type of business people want to be involved with.
5. Help Them Share
If you’ve spent all this time building relationships with your customers and potential customers, you need to then put that power to work. Pay attention to what many of those large brands do. They ask their audience to share their experiences. “Tell your Coke story” or “Upload your <brand> image to Instagram.” Sure, some super fans share on their own, but it never hurts to ask them to.
Finally, there is very little distinction between personal and private lives these days. You needn’t share everything about your personal life but there’s nothing wrong with sharing key moments of it. Share the type of things that people can easily identify with. Have a child in the military who came home this weekend? On social media, share your delight at being able to spend time together. Your audience will enjoy getting these sneak peaks into your life and it gives them an additional way to connect with you.
And when they do comment and share, thank them. Have conversations with them. Wherever possible don’t just give their comment a thumb’s up. Engage them and connect. Ask them questions about their lives. After all, you want them to like you and one way to do that is by liking them too.
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.
She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.