Understanding the Role of Fans and Customers in Social Media Marketing

A business’s success is contingent upon its customers, and the engagement, interactions, and customers invest in its brand, product, or services.  However, fans of the brand play an important role as well.  Fans are the voice for the brand because of their communication and connection about the brand with others. 

While businesses need to focus on their customers, they must also consider how fans impact the brand and their engagement with the brand.  A brand’s fans consist of customers who invest in the brand or purchase the brand’s products or service and individuals who do not invest in the brand by making purchases of its products or services.  Maintaining a balance in focusing on fans and customers is critical to a business developing and attaining success.       

Benefits of Brand Fans

Brand Promotion Through Advocates:
A brand’s fans can serve as ambassadors and advocates for the brand who proactively promote the brand through their shares, mentions, and spreading the word about the brand and their love for the brand through word-of-mouth, email, and their social media channels. 

Fans can help brands reach and communicate with peers or companions of current and potential new customers. 

Building Trust and Brand Scorecards:
Fans can also help brands build trust by generating referrals, recommendations, and positive or good reviews.  Fans create brand scorecards from their online reviews and ratings about the brand.  Many customers search online for reviews to learn about brands before making their purchases.  In fact, according to Podium’s 2017 State of Online Reviews report, 93% of the 2,005 U.S. consumers surveyed said online reviews impact their purchase decisions. 

In addition to building trust, positive reviews provide businesses with insights that can help them identify areas of opportunity to improve customer experiences and customer journey with the brand and how well brands perform from the feedback customers provide through their reviews.  Positive reviews can also help brands improve their search engine rankings by assisting brands to appear higher in rank and with a positive ranking factor in Google reviews.  According to Darren Shaw’s 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors survey on Moz, online customer reviews gain more weighting in local organic searches by 6.47%.    

Maintaining Brand Relevance Through Social Proof:
The internet is a primary source for consumers to obtain information about a brand or business and its products or services quickly, easily, and conveniently.  Fans help keep brands relevant in today’s market by talking about and creating substance for the brand or business online. 

Fans aid brands in building and providing social proof to potential customers from their online reviews based on their personal stories and experiences.  Social proof reassures customers about a brand, product, or service because it creates brand credibility, impacting sales and generating more brand followers. 

Converting Customers Into Fans:
Businesses must build connections with customers who share common values to develop long-term and strong brand advocates and brand emotions to attain optimal results.  It enables brands to establish rapport necessary to cultivate strong customer relationships that increase brand loyalty, repeated purchases, and customer lifetime value.

Brands must make their customers feel valued and appreciated by providing support and help when customers have concerns, questions, or issues by optimizing their website for search engines and offering customers excellent customer service.  Brands can also reward their customers through loyalty programs, discounts, promotional offers, free products, and perks. 

Businesses must be active and engaged on multiple social media platforms and channels and leverage social media to create and share content that helps them and their brand engage and interact with fans and customers using content marketing strategies.  For example, brands can share exclusive access to limited-time discounts and sneak-peek previews to upcoming product launches.  Likewise, brands can encourage their fans to share their stories, experiences, and feedback with their personalized videos using a brand or product.   

For instance, McDonald’s, one of the world’s established fast-food restaurant chains worldwide, U.S. Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley, wanted to focus on developing more engaging brand storytelling and cultivating more profound and deeper connections with its customers better creative, culturally relevant, emotionally charged, and inspiring content.  Flatley decided to direct the brand towards increasing their creative content with “fan truths” such as sharing customer conversations about their cravings for McDonald’s fries and Big Mac to connect with the brand’s millions of fans.  Then, Flatley launched “Served Here,” a national ad campaign that traded pop culture in exchange for brand purpose, to develop loyalty and passion for compelling continual long-term growth.  McDonald’s focused on their social involvement and what they’re doing worldwide and in local communities.  For example, the campaign featured McDonald’s “Thank You Meals” program, which provided ten million meals to frontline workers and McDonald’s assistance with sick children and their families with Ronald McDonald House.

Content marketing entails creating, sharing, promoting, and communicating through content to attract their audience.  It helps businesses develop a profitable brand through conversions and reach, for instance, to achieve success.  Content marketing enables businesses to convert customers into fans and build the connections and customer relationships they need that promote social growth, maintain brand relevancy, increase conversions, sales, and brand loyalists that are mutually beneficial for the brand and its customer lifetime value and long-term, optimal results.      

Did you enjoy this post? Learn about content marketing, this post, and more! 


References:
Beer, J. (2020, November 9). Inside McDonald’s bold–but maybe not bold enough-strategy to turn customers into super fans. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/90572888/inside-mcdonalds-bold-but-maybe-not-bold-enough-strategy-to-turn-customers-into-super-fans. 

Local Search Ranking Factors Study 2018 – Local SEO. Moz. (n.d.). https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors#local-pack-finder-ranking-factors. 

Mullin, B. S., Shanelle Mullin Shanelle Mullin previously did content and growth at CXL. She’s a jill-of-all-trades marketer with a 12-year background in growth and content marketing., Syuki, B., Mullin, S., Stephan, Bandel, A., … Azhima. (2020, September 25). Social Proof: What It Is, Why It Works and How to Use It. CXL. https://cxl.com/blog/is-social-proof-really-that-important/. 

Online Review Stats: Podium State of Online Reviews. Podium. (2020, February 25). https://www.podium.com/resources/podium-state-of-online-reviews/. 

By Natalie Simpson | NatYourOrdinary.com
     naturordinary@gmail.com | Instagram: @natURordinary

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