Today’s consumers have options, and they know it. They are connected, empowered to share their experiences (good and bad), and conscious of brands that share their values. They scour reviews before purchasing a product, and they are leery of marketing schemes that feel like pandering.

While all of this can sound like a daunting set of demands, viewed another way, it is an opportunity to build meaningful relationships with customers that lead to long-lasting brand loyalty. The same things that make marketing in the 21st century a challenge also make it more rewarding than ever. With a little effort in the right areas, your marketing strategy can act as a way to build ongoing, loyal support for years to come.

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Here are 5 tried-and-true ways to use digital platforms to build a brand that will help leverage connections and create a loyal customer base.

1. Tell Your Story

Digital platforms are not just for sharing your product and trying to find leads for a sale. They’re an ideal place to share a story about who you are and why you do what you do. The main goal of marketing in today’s competitive field is to be remembered. After all, consumers see thousands of ads and are well-versed in skimming for important, meaningful content. Setting yourself apart is a way to ensure that your name comes to mind when the consumer finds a need for your product—two hours, two weeks, or two years later.

Telling your story doesn’t have to be complicated.

  • Put a face on it: Showing your customers who you (and your employees) are helps personalize your business and puts a face to the name.
  • Share the origins: Tell how you got your start. What motivated you to start a business in the first place? What experiences did you have or what gap did you see that needed to be filled?
  • Share the struggles: If you had a rocky start or it took your business a while to get going, sharing that can help humanize you and make your customers root for your success.

2. Provide a Community

Customers who can connect with one another and see products in use are more likely to feel loyalty for your brand. By providing a space for people to share stories and pictures or ask each other questions about the product, you’re ensuring that they see you as more than a one-time purchase. They see your brand as something that adds value to their lives and to the lives of others. You can do this by creating a hashtag for customers to use on Twitter or Instagram or even hosting a group on Facebook based on your brand’s products or services.

3. Serve the Customer’s Needs

Many people turn to social media as their first attempt to make contact with a brand. By having an active and responsive Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest account, you give the impression that you are listening and caring. Respond quickly to inquiries and make sure to address complaints or concerns with professionalism.

4. Educate and Inform

If you want customers to see your value, they need to see you as more than a place to spend money. They need to come to your site for information and education even when they aren’t necessarily ready to make a purchase. By providing valuable material in the form of blog entries, ebooks, podcasts, and videos, you give customers a reason to value you and share your posts every day, and that makes them much more likely to become customers when they do need your product.

5. Show Some Personality

Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and show your customers who you are. If you’re funny, let that shine through in your posts. If you are sentimental, share some posts that are sure to pull at the heartstrings. Think about how you can display your authentic personality across social media in your interactions with others and the posts that you share and create. While you may worry that showing personality will turn some potential customers away, the loyalty and sense of connection you get from those who appreciate your candor far outweighs that potential downside.

At the end of the day, think of your brand not just as a business but as a center for connections with other people. This, after all, is why people use social media and digital platforms in the first place: to feel connected. If you can demonstrate your value in an authentic, meaningful way, your customers will reward you with fierce loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations that can’t be purchased.

Want to start building a valuable reputation and grow your customer loyalty? We can help – reach out to Mindshape today and get started.