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The strongest brands are polarizing ones. People either love them or love to hate them. Brands that hover in the middle are often trying to appeal to too vast of an audience—making it impossible to develop an authentic connection with their customers.
Knowing this, Vantage takes a social-first approach to marketing. To us, “social-first” doesn’t mean you should be funnelling all your efforts into a social strategy, it means creating authentic points of connection where you can grow a brand that is socially embraced by your customer community.
There are three pillars that support an authentic connection, let’s take a closer look at each of them:
As consumers, and deeply social creatures, we form emotional bonds with the customer communities that we’re a part of. We connect with a brand’s values—as long as they already affirm our own—and become attached to the sense of belonging and status that comes with buying into a brand’s fanbase. This socially-charged attachment is what keeps us fiercely loyal to the brands we love.
In order to build a customer community that socially embraces your brand, you need clear and concrete brand values. These values cannot be vague or malleable. Constantly reinventing your brand, contradicting old beliefs, or adopting trendy new ones will shatter any trust you’ve developed within your customer community.
That said, the consumer landscape is ever-changing. In order to stay competitive as your environment and audience evolves, your brand needs to be open to meaningful change. Keep in mind: insincerity stinks, your audience will know if you’re all talk and no action.
Not only does your brand need to stand for something meaningful, it needs to act against any internal and external factors that contradict its beliefs. This way, not only will you attract the right customers, you’ll repel the wrong customers. Don’t waste your time or energy on the wrong audience, be brave enough to be disliked.
Once you understand who your audience is and what they value, figure out where they are. Establish where your audience hangs out—on- and offline. Be there. Be responsive. Be authentic. Focus on what channels will let you express your brand’s value in the most engaging way.
Look at your customer’s journey from awareness to purchase to advocacy (and every point in between) to discover where you can naturally connect with your audience. Determine how you can add value to your customer’s experience during each of these stages.
Whether it be through social channels, websites, webinars, SMS marketing, in-person experiences, or online reviews, leverage every opportunity to engage with your audience.
Create content that reveals multiple sides of your business to help build customer understanding and trust. Casual behind the scenes snapshots, strategic and enticing product reveals, comprehensive troubleshooting tips, real-time dialogue with like-minded customers or influencers—see how you can develop a multidimensional content plan to educate, entertain, and inspire.
Educational content turns prospects into repeat buyers. By proactively answering customer questions, you can minimize any perceived risk associated with buying your product. What questions might someone have about your product, what is the most effective way to answer these questions, who is most qualified to answer them?
Entertaining content turns followers into advocates. This ultra sharable content lets you show off your brand’s personality. It’s a little artistic, a tad outrageous, and a sure-fire way to get your audience excited about your product.
Inspirational content turns an audience into an empowered society. It reveals your brand’s values, aims right for the heart, and keeps your audience coming back for more. Give your audience goosebumps, offer them hope, make them feel proud to be a part of your customer community.
Remember, what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. Keep evolving, adapting, and experimenting. Never get too comfortable doing any one thing.
Stand for something meaningful. Leverage every opportunity to engage. Focus on what your customer values. This way, you’ll foster a sense of belonging amongst your customers and build a loyal community that socially embraces your brand.
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