How to create strong bonds with your customers

The ways customers relate to brands is much the same as how people relate to each other. With social media, we are able to create stronger connections than ever before, with people crying out for a sense of community post-pandemic.

We are inherently social beings, says Francesca Gargaglia, COO & CBO at Amity, and brands have a great opportunity to find new ways to build connections with their consumers…

The relationship between consumers and brands is not dissimilar to the relationships between people: the more valued and connected you feel with them, the more symbiotic and mutually beneficial the relationship. We are inherently social beings. It is a critical part of our nature, to connect and form positive, long-lasting relationships and be a part of communities. More than ever before, these communities exist online and across social media applications. 

One thing not everyone might realise is that these days a typical user has an account on almost nine social media platforms. This means that marketers who are not leveraging social media platforms to enhance relationships and connections with consumers are falling behind their competitors. Having an online presence on various social platforms has become a staple marketing strategy of today’s brands and products to further establish a human connection with brands.

And brands can not only communicate with their customers through social media, they can develop better communities between customers via shared interests, to widen their network and connect with new acquaintances. Marketers that optimise their brands' social media platforms to connect with consumers on a human level will be in a better position to retain customers, improve perception, and create brand advocates. 

Optimising social media efforts to drive better connection 

Most brands rely heavily on social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and recently, TikTok to reach out to their customers, yet they haven’t streamlined operations and are often working with each of the platforms separately. They are also not leveraging data efficiently. What if, instead of having all your user’s data scattered across multiple platforms, you could have them all in one place?

By integrating social features on your website or app, you centralise your user’s data all in one place, giving you clear visibility on what users like and dislike, and letting you quickly gather their feedback to improve your product.

Also, adding features such as in-app messaging is the ideal way to improve your customer communication experience. Hitting two birds with one stone, in-app live chat allows brands to connect to their users and enable cross-user interactions, and at the same time address their issue right away. Studies found that 69 percent of participants associated good customer service experience with their issue’s quick resolution.

Further, having a built-in live chat experience also boosts brand loyalty. Allowing users to reach out to you in a fast and easy way helps build trust. When you respond to them immediately, it helps alleviate the feeling of hesitation and worries, as you contribute positively to their decision-making process. Indeed, 82 percent of customers are more likely to convert if you chat with them first. And trust is essential to a brand's emotional bond with users, and one of the critical factors to brand loyalty.

Creating communities for consumers drives brand loyalty 

Throughout the disruption over the past 18 months, including many months of isolation, people have been starved of a sense of belonging, and now crave to be included in communities more than ever. Brands and product developers need to start establishing ways to harness insights and knowledge about their prospective customers, to drive better engagement, retention and ultimately increase revenue. 

Social features can help users replicate offline social interactions online, making this an essential component of community building. Features such as group chats facilitate the connection and communication between users, while newsfeeds spark curiosity and drive interactions around user-generated content (UGC). The profile feature contributes to making your platform more personal, allowing users to express their thoughts, ideas, preferences and enabling them to meet and follow like-minded peers. 

Influencer marketing platform Aspire IQ found that 92.3 percent of brands said that creating communities has positively impacted their brand. Many brands have created and implemented online communities to test their products, which not only gives them a new way to collaborate with their customers but also makes their customers feel special, as a result driving greater customer experience and brand loyalty. Companies are also using their in-app communities to collect feedback and customer data, giving these users the power to help shape their future products and personalise experiences.

Enhancing customer experience with personalisation 

Many brands have made the move to accelerate digital efforts to prioritise personalisation, yet many find it challenging to understand customers, gather intelligent data, and deliver valuable experiences. 

With recent research showing that 83 percent of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalised experience, integrating social features could be a game-changer to drive repeat customers if implemented correctly. 

For example, by harnessing data, brands can establish a preference-based newsfeed on their digital platform and push relevant content based on the user’s interest. Using algorithms, this feature lets users discover content related to what they like, making them spend more time on your platform, boosting in-app engagement. 

Simultaneously, integrating chatbots enables you to collect these pieces of personal information from the platforms, store customer’s purchase history, and gain valuable insights to improve the overall performance of the app. All the data gathered can also enhance personalised services, which maximises user satisfaction, and increases brand loyalty.

Heightened brand loyalty and emotionally connected customers bring move revenue to a business. In some cases, 80 percent of companies saw an uplift after increasing personalisation, and 95 percent of companies that saw triple ROI from personalisation efforts also increased profitability significantly over the next year.  

Investing in social innovation to deepen customer relationships 

By investing in social features and the social experiences overall, brands can build trust with their audience. This, combined with user data, can revolutionise the social experiences customers receive and create an environment that customers feel a connection with and want to engage with. 

Brands must act now and focus on engaging their customers to improve the customer experience, boost engagement and stand out from the competition by focusing on creating connection and communities. Integrating social features into any brand's app can add a new dimension to how customers connect and give brands a unique perspective into their audience. 

By integrating social features within a brand’s platforms, marketers can build communities, create long-lasting connections with customers, boost brand loyalty and business revenue. Social media has evolved to simply be another medium to foster human connection, and brands that leverage it well can keep customers for life.