From Fans to Loyal Customers

|| Business & Social Media |

So you've already got quite a number of followers on your fan page after that grueling campaign that sought to generate your first significant social media ROI. You have expertly hurdled the tricky business of getting people to know your brand, at the same time compelling them to execute the more difficult action of liking it. What to do next is pretty obvious. You're now itching to transform your fans into paying customers who will also ardently tell others about the benefits of your brand, much like an inhouse evangelist.
There's a science to converting social media fans into loyal customers. In today's online marketing world, search and social media are the terrains for conversions and you just need to know the tricks of the trade to effectively turn followers from passive admirers to proactive proponents of your brand. The desired effect is not only to have willing, loyal customers but also to establish a powerful marketing department for your brand that is peculiarly not in your payroll. That is the mantra of social media ROI and it has been demonstrated to work consistently. This is because social media is a network of highly personalized communities who closely collaborate and interact with each other about ideas, people, and brands. It is also a network that is theoretically built on trust because within it, users are allowed to interact only with people they trust-their family, close friends, corporate peers, and acquaintances that they can easily disconnect from at will.

Incidentally, trust is arguably the most powerful value any brand would wish to have as much as possible. The basic cycle of social media ROI is this:
  1. you engage users to develop trust in your brand; 
  2. trusting users purchase your products or subscribe to your service; and, 
  3. trusting users tell others about your brand.
Because they have heard your message coming from a trusted source, non-buying users that you may or may have not engaged directly are induced to try your brand and are then compelled to assess its merits. If your brand delivers what it promises, then trust-perhaps even loyalty-may be established.

It sounds pretty easy doesn't it? It hardly is, unfortunately because as mentioned, it is a science and it takes a lot of work. After engaging your followers in a personally meaningful way, you need to add value to the engagement by being creative in trying to reach them on a personal level. You also need to encourage active fan participation on your page by balancing various types of content and campaigns such as rewarding games, surveys, and discounts where the rewards are tangible and immediately relevant to participants. Avoid spamming at all costs because it is a sure way of eroding trust. Genuinely probe for your fans' needs and deftly address those when possible. Finally, innovate on how to reach your fans by regularly iterating your site and updating your messages based on the issues that are currently relevant to them.