Now that you have effectively distinguished your business as a Purple Cow in your marketplace, you might be wondering what’s next? It’s time to take your brand to the next level: engage in your social media communities. As the backbone of social media, engagement means truly listening, interacting and sharing quality, relevant and timely content with your audience. So, how does this translate into positive brand awareness and increased revenue?
Social media offers unprecedented ways to build emotional connections with customers by uniting them with other people and their stories. According to social media visionary Gary Vaynerchuk (author of The Thank You Economy), “People want to have close relationships with their brands. It still sounds a little weird today, but one day it won’t. The right time start building those relationships is right now.”
Here are five reasons why emotionally engaging your customers is important to your company’s success.
- People respond well to tugs on their heartstrings. Emotional bonds in both personal and professional lives operate much the same way – you get out as much as you put in, and it takes time. It’s not possible to force them, buy them, or turn them into something they are not ready to be. Therefore, by authentically and gently touching on people’s emotions, people will get to know, like and ultimately trust you over time. But your engagement must be heartfelt or it won’t work. As Gary says, “You cannot underestimate the sharpness of people’s BS radar.” It’s about taking every single opportunity to show you truly care about your customers, their opinions and how they experience the relationship with your business.
- It generates consumer gratitude, loyalty and respect. In our world of immediacy, the first company in your competitive set to emotionally engage your customers has the most impact in your marketplace. If you are not the first one it’s not a deal breaker; however, the longer you wait, the higher your cost of entry and workload to catch up with the world around you. So, take the time now to jump into the social media game, talk to people and invite them to talk back, all the while crystallizing relationships within your community. By touching them emotionally, it will breed customer gratitude, loyalty and respect.
- It increases positive word of mouth. Social media represents a huge shift in power back to the consumer. Now, consumers have instant and more consistent contact with one another than we’ve ever seen before with platforms such as twitter, facebook and yelp. More contact means increased information sharing, discussing, gossiping and engaging. In effect, it gives everyone who wants a voice the ability to be heard by hundreds if not thousands of people. By emotionally engaging with your customers, even if it’s to personally and publicly apologize for a mistake, you have a golden opportunity to turn a disgruntled customer into an advocate of your brand. Why? Because you took the time to listen and care about them as an individual. It’s as simple as that.
- It will increase your bottom line. In July 2009, Nielson conducted a survey on what drives consumer trust and the results were clear: 90% percent or consumers surveyed noted that they trust recommendations from people they know, while 70 percent trusted general consumer opinions posted online. When faced with two relatively equal choices, people often choose a business for no more complicated reason than they associate that experience with someone they know. And people like to do business with people they like. Chances are, businesses that aren’t able or willing to join the conversation will likely see their balance sheets suffer.
- Even Google is doing it. Check out this brilliant 90-second video “Dear Sophie” that Google created to increase brand awareness for Chrome, their latest web browser. It’s a great example of emotional engagement.
Make the choice today to show your true colors. Implement a culture of caring and communication into your business, nurture one-to-one relationships and watch your customers reward your efforts by using their new and massively powerful word of mouth to market your brand for you. Over time, identify who these people are and reward them. Imagine for a moment if you did: what do you think they would tweet, facebook or yelp about your company to hundreds or thousands of other emotionally engaged consumers?
About the author: Stacy Bergdahl, President of Berglon Marketing Agency, is passionate about all things mind, body and spirit. After 7 years of sales and marketing experience in the corporate world, now she is focused on providing results-oriented marketing solutions that are on time, on target and on budget for small businesses around the globe.
Bio: Stacy has ten years of experience in sales, marketing, public relations and advertising across the hospitality and special event industries in California and around the world. She fulfilled a personal dream in 2008 and traveled the world for 18 months. With a deep understanding and passion for marketing, she is now focusing her efforts on small business branding. For more information about Stacy, her resume, recommendations and interests, please visit her on LinkedIn.