Retaining Your Social Media Fan Base

Jeremy Lichtenberger, Senior Brand Planner, Palio

When Sally Field took the stage to accept her second Oscar award she exclaimed, “You like me. You really like me.”

The desire to be liked hasn’t changed over time, but how we express our approval has evolved. Liking is now an active expression of sharing, and we’re doing it through social media, whether that’s actually hitting the “like” icon on Facebook or retweeting a message on Twitter.

There has been a lot of focus on accumulating or generating likes, but social media is growing up. It’s time to move onto the next phase: deepening relationships and increasing engagement.

According to eMarketer:

Research has shown that people who voluntarily click the “like” button are apt to recommend the brand to friends and may also be more willing to purchase the brand. But at the same time, the simplicity of the “like” button means that there may be no actual engagement beyond the fleeting moment of the click.

Getting beyond likes is less about making impressions and more about generating expressions. As author and researcher Brian Solis says, it’s about loyalty, advocacy, and engagement. His advice:  Spend less time on superficial interactions and more time cultivating value.

To do that:

Understand what your customers want. Know their preferences, challenges and what they’re expecting. Then, deliver on it.

Go where they go. Remember that your Website or fan page is just a starting point. You need to interact with consumers outside your own house. That means participating in other communities to extend your reach.

Be responsive. Acknowledge positive feedback but also be proactive when negativity surfaces. Demonstrate that you value customer input in both words and actions.

Be authentic. People expect personality, whether that’s through brand messages or the ambassadors that carry the message. Stay away from scripted copy and humanize interactions as much as possible.

Foster ongoing interactions. Give people a reason to come back to your site, page or tweet stream. Whether that’s sharing content, asking for feedback, providing a coupon or creating an application or game, they need to know there’s something in it for them to continue the relationship.

If you want to keep people engaged, the focus should be on staying connected while serving as a resource to your target audience. Businesses want customer loyalty and customers want brands that deliver on (or exceed) their expectations.

If you want to retain your social media fan base and get customers to stick around longer, stop talking, start listening and focus on building great relationships.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

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