WHAT BRANDS CAN DO TO GROW LOYALTY
No organization will approach developing brand loyalty with the same strategy. Nor will every organization use content marketing as their strategy to build brand loyalty. Some industries/organizations will utilize rewards programs, with branded loyalty cards and branded digital communications to draw their audiences into their stores, or onto their websites, on a routine basis (think grocery stores, or Amazon). However, for many organizations content marketing is essential to building brand loyalty.
This is especially true for small businesses and those that operate hyper-locally, whose direct line to their audience is the content they create for the web, social media, local and industry media. Building brand loyalty through content requires creativity, planning and to be frank, work, on the part of the brand, but it can be done. No matter which means of delivering your content you rely on, there are core tenants to developing brand loyalty through content marketing.
Construct A Compelling Narrative
These is where both your creativity and strategy come into play. Your content has to be entertaining and informative, consistent in style, and logical in its progression. When you're planning a day, a week, or a month's worth of content, imagine you're unfurling a long story. It's all about giving your audience a reason to come back for more information.
Speak Directly To Your Audience
This is meant almost exclusively for social media. The beauty of social media is that communication is usually open, and when it is, you should take advantage of it. Take advantage of your ability to comment on an audience member's post about your brand, or on a businesses openly expressed need for services that you could provide. Or, simply network and build brand awareness.
Brands have to have 100% response rates, and they have to respond to messages from consumers within 24 hours (preferably less). Brands that interact with their audience are far more likely to establish brand loyalty with their audience than brands that don't respond to messages, tweets, posts, etc. At Markon, we try to respond to messages within 2 hours, except during the weekends when we make it apparent that no one is tuned into communications.
There are some brands that are incredibly responsive on social. Earlier this year I discovered the wildly delicious wonder that is noosa yoghurt. I could not get enough of it and for days (maybe it was weeks) I tweeted photos of my daily noosa intake (I should be eating some right now, really). Every time I created a social media post celebrating noosa, the brand responded within hours. Finally, after a week or so of daily love, they rewarded me.
Did the strength of noosa's product win me over? Yes, absolutely. Did tweets from noosa enhance the experience of enjoying their product? Yes. More importantly, it made the noosa brand all the more endearing and real to me. I'm definitely a loyal noosa consumer.
Loyalty is what you're striving for. Consumers who are loyal to brands are more likely to share positive stories about those brands, and stay with brands as they evolve over time. Investing in a proactive content marketing campaign is the heart of the advice that's written here.
For small businesses and organizations that hope to build brand awareness and loyalty through content marketing, it comes down to being strategic about your messaging and responsive in your communication. Those two behaviors alone will carry your brand far and build a lot of good will in your audience.