Your social media followers like your posts, comment on your content, and even click on your links from time to time.
What they don’t do, however, is tell their friends about your brand.
You have a problem faced by so many businesses across the world: you have followers, not fans.
Fans will voraciously devour your social media content. They’ll rave to their friends about your new updates. And they’ll cheer your every move, in business and outside it.
So how do you turn your social media followers into fans?
I’m going to share a few tactics with you in this post.
1. Align Your Brand With A Mission
There’s a very good chance millennials make up your biggest (and growing) customer base. After all, there are more than 75.4M millennials in America alone today. According to Pew Research, they are also the largest generation in the workforce.
Millennials are also overrepresented on social media - 93% of them are on social networks and 90% own smartphones.
If you want to attract this massive consumer base, you have to associate your brand with more than just a product; you have to associate it with a mission.
A study of millennials by Gallup found that millennials are mission driven, not money driven. They want to care about things and even change the world.
Brands that are able to align themselves with a narrative larger than themselves (or their products) frequently win big on social media.
Take a look at Dove. Instead of just selling soap, Dove is on a mission to redefine beauty. From its Facebook updates to even its Twitter bio, virtually everything about the brand signals to millennials that it is here to change things - for the better.
Even B2B brands can benefit from this mission-focused work. HubSpot, for example, frequently talks about how it’s on a mission to change marketing and “spark a movement”:
This mission-focused work spills into its social media marketing as well where HubSpot frequently hosts events that resonate with younger audiences. For example, it recently held a LGBTQ intern social at its Boston offices and shared the news on social media:
This is a powerful branding tactic that goes beyond capturing customers. It helps you create a compelling brand that turns followers into ardent fans.
Plus, it’s also great for attracting top-tier talent.
2. Give Your Followers A Sense Of Ownership In Your Brand
How do you inspire followers to become more than just followers?
Giving them a sense of ownership in your brand is one tactic that works spectacularly.
Case in point: GoPro.
GoPro’s social feeds are essentially curated from its customers’ content. GoPro highlights, shares and spreads this user-generated content widely, essentially positioning its social accounts as being operated by its users.
If you hop by GoPro’s Instagram page, for instance, you’ll see a bio description asking users to share their updates with the #GoPro hashtag:
This is a great way to use UGC to give your customers a sense of ownership in your social activity and by extension, your brand.
3. Leverage Influencers
Top influencers often have social media following numbering in the millions. And because their content is individual-focused, instead of brand-focused, their followers are usually highly engaged and loyal.
By associating your brand with an influencer, you essentially help turn over some of these followers over to your side. If your content resonates with them, it’s very easy to convert these followers into fans. After all, you already come with a recommendation from someone they trust - the influencer.
There are several tactics you can use to do this.
The simplest tactic is a tacit endorsement from the influencer on his/her social feed. You’ll likely see this on Instagram where influencers ask their followers to “follow their friend(s)”:
Another tactic is to collaborate with an influencer for a “social media takeover”. With this tactic, the influencer usually takes over a brand’s social media account and shares content he/she likes.
It works very well as a cross-promotion. The influencer gets access to your followers, you get access to theirs.
For example, Birchbox collaborated with Christina Zilber, founder of JOUER cosmetics. Christina took over the Birchbox Instagram page, which helped promote both the brands.
Instead of a simple takeover, you can also create co-branded products. Birchbox did this with beauty and fashion blogger Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere. They created a co-branded product which was then cross-promoted on both Birchbox and Emily Schuman’s social channels:
4. Focus On Solving Customer Problems
If you drop by the Royal Dutch Airlines’ Twitter page, you’ll see this as the cover image:
KLM uses its social platforms largely to support its customers. And it’s so good at this that it even boasts average support time at the top of its Twitter page.
Supporting customers on a public platform such as Twitter goes a long way towards establishing loyalty. Remember that a customer complaint on social media isn’t just visible to you; it’s also visible to the public.
This is double-edged sword. On one hand, any mistakes you might make are visible to everyone. At the same time, any steps you take to remedy the mistake are also visible to everyone else.
If you establish yourself as a brand that regularly takes extraordinary steps to solve customer problems, you’ll win yourself a lot of followers and fans.
For example, Microsoft maintains a separate Twitter account just to answer customer queries for XBox. Since 2009, this account has sent out 2.62M tweets.
This account solves customer problems in minutes on a medium they prefer. Quick resolution frequently earns praise from the customer, as well as the customer’s followers:
If you’re running a consumer facing brand, focusing on customer support can go a long way towards turning more of your followers into fans.
Over To You
Your customers demand more from your social media than just tired memes and recycled content. They want to feel that you’re truly there to solve their problems, to engage them with exciting content, and to show that you are there for a mission, not just the money.
The four methods outlined above are great for showing your followers that you care about them, their problems and their ambitions.
Here’s what you should take away from this post:
- Showcase your brand’s mission very clearly and support it with your social media content.
- Focus on solving customer problems as quickly and effectively as possible through public social channels.
- Use UGC to give customers a sense of ownership in your brand.
- Work with influencers to give your brand a wider reach and access to a more loyal following.