Building a Following By Bringing Your Offline Customers Online
Loyalty counts. With huge corporations like Walmart, Amazon and Costco providing easy-to-use online marketplaces, it means a lot when clients or customers choose your services over theirs.
But how do you get a leg up? Here is a guide to growing a dedicated customer base, both online and off.
Local is as Local Does
Your first order of business is to look local and find a way for your business to serve its immediate community, while also turning a profit. One thing you have in your local community that large corporations don’t? The fact that people know and trust you. Use this.
As a respected business owner, be the person others look up to. Support charity drives by sponsoring good causes, donate a percentage of proceeds to the local Boys and Girls club or college scholarship fund.
These actions will establish you as an ethical business owner, as well as an outstanding citizen in your community. If locals know you they’ll be more likely to pick your products and services over others.
Expanding your business's horizons isn’t always easy. With so many social media platforms to choose from, it’s difficult to know which will be the most helpful in propagating a following outside your immediate vicinity. However, if your services and products are on par with your competitors, you already have something everyone wants to be a part of—the drive to help people.
When you participate in community events, make sure to tweet, take pictures and write captions to post on your business's social media sites. It isn’t only locals who patronize your business because they know you to be an ethical shop owner and caring person, people online will be pleased to support you because of this, too.
While your philanthropic work won’t go unnoticed, it’s also important to slip information about your services and products into your social media posts. Nobody online wants to hear you go on self-promotion rants, so break up your promotional material with humanitarian efforts. For more information about this subject, the Flint blog has a variety of reading material to further your education.
Loyalty Is Its Own Reward
Make sure to reward loyal and valued customers. You can do this by providing promotional discounts for regular clients. Or use a point system which allows customers to earn points they can then spend on more of your product. You can even hold a loyalty raffle, where all long-time customers are entered to win something extravagant.
Whether the token of appreciation is an item from your business or somewhere unrelated, it's important to show your gratitude and make your best customers feel important.
You can also stage social media giveaways in order to garner interest. Ask trivia questions on Twitter, where the first person to answer correctly wins a prize.
You can also hold a photo competition on Facebook or Instagram. Use hashtags to track the answers and pick the winners. This can garner more interest for your business, providing a larger reach than smaller-scale initiatives can. Those who follow you for your stellar giveaways will come to realize your products are worth supporting.
Create a Brand Ambassador Initiative
Social media has the power to help you acquire what are known as "brand ambassadors," those fervent supporters of your company who are outspoken about your brand's virtues in social media circles.
Brand ambassadors have the power to sway people, who might be on the fence about your brand, into becoming followers or customers. They also have the power to encourage your brand's lifestyle and emotional value for your followers. As such, establishing a brand ambassador initiative can help your brand grow tremendously on social media.
To find your brand ambassadors, you'll need to pay close attention to the online followers who actively support and engage with your brand on social media. These followers are usually passionate about some aspect of your company, whether it's your products or services, charitable contributions, ethical production standards or your company's culture.
Your ambassador initiative should cover a few bases:
What will your brand ambassadors be called? Will they have a special name?
How will you reward them?
How will you continue to acquire brand ambassadors as your brand grows?
How will you measure the success that your ambassadors have for your brand on social media?