Posted by Drew Estelle on Mar 25, 2019 2:10:20 PM
4 Steps to Building an Engaged Social Following
Direct-to-consumer eCommerce is quickly gaining traction, and for a good reason- customer expectations are changing just as quickly as technology does. That’s why there’s never been a better time than now to build a community around your customers.
Building a tribe of super-engaged fans leads to excellent customer retention rates, a good source of lead generation, an easy in for market research, and improved customer service.
So how do you build and maintain the momentum of engagement? It all comes down to 5 important factors.
1. Provide value
While your main intent as a business owner may seemingly be to close sales, it’s actually about providing your customers value. What is it that your customers seek when they come to you? At first glance, it may seem as if they just want a stylish outfit from your boutique. However, the answer lies deeper than that. Customers buy things in the pursuit of a feeling.
What is the feeling your brand provides? Is it the feeling of getting a great deal? Is it the feeling of being sexy and stylish? What about your brand’s mission statement? Is it making women feel beautiful? When you understand the feeling you provide, it’s much easier to serve it up.
And you don’t have to lean on just your product to serve up these feelings. It can also be the valuable content you provide. A word of caution, however- Don’t lose touch with who you are trying to connect with. Providing value starts with understanding what your target audience considers valuable.
If you’re just beginning to cultivate your social following, it’s not going to be obvious what they want other than fashionable clothing. But if you gave them a voice, what would they say?
Look at engagement within exclusive Facebook Groups. Facebook Groups have given businesses a way to facilitate two-way conversations between brands and customers. When done correctly, you build not only trust but also community.
For instance, if you are a boutique sharing style advice for fellow fashionistas, it’s probably going to resonate with your audience. Audience members will contribute to your conversations, and will even hold conversations with each other.
Holding space for these conversations is valuable. People want to be involved, they want to be heard, and they want to belong. When everyone gets a chance to participate, you build community.
2. Build relationships between your brand & your customers
Technology shouldn’t take the human factor out of doing business. In fact, technology is making it easier for us to connect with customers. It gives us a unique advantage over faceless digital storefronts and big box stores.
As discussed earlier, purchasing decisions are mostly made from emotion, not feeling. When people see you and hear from you on the regular, you’re building trust. There are plenty of places customers can get their fashion fix. However, not that many brands have personal relationships with their customers.
Ask them questions, give them shout outs, chime in on posts, and ALWAYS answer your customers when they address you! Strengthen your relationships, and they’ll continue to buy with you.
3. Nurture & engage in creative ways
Give your community exclusive perks
There’s a serious appeal in exclusivity. It’s the carrot that dangles for the select few that makes the experience more scarce and valuable. Giving your community exclusive coupons, sneak peeks, and first dibs on new inventory is an excellent way to reward them for being a part of your tribe. It’s also an excellent way to get new customers.
Opinion post or poll
Everyone’s got an opinion, so ask them about it. Do they prefer this item or that item? “This or That” posts can entertain your customers and also serve as market research.
Post a live or pre-recorded video of some new arrivals and ask them what their favorite piece is. Are they team stripes or team polka dots? What shoes or accessories would they pair with a dress you offer? You can open up many conversations around your products if you just ask.
Glamour Farms Boutique includes their customers with a poll.
Run Contests & Giveaways
Running contests and giveaways is an easy way to have fun with your customers while incentivizing certain behaviors.
For example, if you want to spread your content, you can ask them to share your posts. If you want to raise engagement, you can initiate a guessing game, asking fans to comment-to-win, or ask them to share a gif that describes their day. These posts can steadily push your engagement rates up.
Want to share social proof that customers love your brand? Ask your customers to share photos of themselves wearing your clothing for a chance to win a store credit. Not only will you inspire engagement, but this content will also serve as a personal recommendation for your brand. That’s a win-win!
5. Show up consistently
Showing up consistently is crucial to continue growing and engaging your fans. It’s possible to follow all the tips mentioned above and totally lose the momentum of your engagement. Without consistency, nothing will stick.
Show up regularly, start conversations, build trust, educate, learn, play! Growing a community around your boutique is creating a business with heart. Show up and serve and your community will give back!