The biggest brands dominate the industry by imprinting their business on people's minds for years and years. If you think that brand loyalty is easy to achieve, you couldn't be more wrong. Ask brand managers behind Nike, Apple and Air Jordan and they'll all tell you that it took ages for them to reach where they are today. However, the upside is that it's easier to brand today than it was 15 years ago.

While most early Millennials were delivered branding material through newspapers and television, the younger generation is exposed to branding in a very early age and the credit for this goes to the Internet and the rise of social media. On the flipside, the wide spectrum of social media has also set the bar higher and is making it harder for smaller brands to get recognized.

What can you do to get noticed? How can you engage your customers so they become loyal to you throughout the journey? The answer to both of these questions lies in this piece. So if you want to make the most of social media strategy, read on and find out how you can become a forward-thinking business that understands the value of brand loyalty.

#1: Open Doors to Customer Engagement

A study done by Zuberance tells us that people who are loyal to a brand drive 33% more sales and 18% more traffic as compared to a regular customer. What do these stats tell you? They show that if you manage to get customers on your side, they won't just stay with you for the long run but will also bring in others. But how do you get started? You can't just buy them; so how exactly do you get customers to side with you? The answer to this is simple, you build your customer engagement. Social media is all about engagement, and unless you are really investing everything you have for your clients, they won't take the bait.

This can be done by making relevant posts that evoke emotions. You can ask questions and ask others to participate by answering.

#2: Share Their Stories

Every successful social media strategist will tell you to share your personal story when you want to increase engagement with your customers. And even though it is true, you should also start focusing on the stories of your consumers. This is one of the most creative ways to humanize your brand and show the audience that you care.

You can have campaigns where you feature people who are using your product the most or you can simply reward your most loyal customers. This way, not only will your existing advocates fall further in love with you, but others will also recognize your efforts and start engaging.

#3: Be Quick in Your Responses

A golden rule to increase brand loyalty is to always respond to your customers on social media. It doesn't matter if it's a question, a thank you note or a snarky comment, make sure that you respond and even those that don't like your brand very much will appreciate your determination. Stats don't lie, and according to a study done by NM Incite, 71% customers who are responded to quickly will tell other of your brand. Moreover, Social Habit reports that while 42% of respondents expect a response with an hour, 32% expect it within 30 minutes or less. So always make sure that your customer services are backed up with bright people who can reply positively to any comment and increase brand loyalty.

#4: Bring in the Expert

While your social media marketing team may be made up of brilliant and brainy people, it is important that you recognize the need for experts. One of the reasons why people come to your social media page is to find out quality information, and the best way to make sure that they know that it is coming from a place of authority is if an expert is stating the facts.

A study done by BrandFog showed that when brand executives have something to say, people on social media listen. Furthermore, 81% respondents say that they have more confidence in the company when an executive is using the media channel. A good example of this is Elon Musk of Tesla. So if you want your brand to reach new heights, be sure to involve the executives in your social media marketing. A makeup artist promoting a beauty brand will help; a financial expert promoting payday loans will definitely be considered more effective.

#5: Don't let Competitors Define You

One of the saddest things which you can do to your brand is to let others define it. If you are not proactive with your brand identity, your competitors will have an easy target. A classic example of this is what Apple did to Microsoft with its "Get a Mac" campaign. Various other examples teach us that whenever possible, you should try to define your brand yourself. To keep things going smoothly, make sure that you track everything that is being said about you and define your brand identity consistently so your competitors don't have the chance to bring you down.

Increasing brand loyalty through social media may seem challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will be able to take your business to new heights. Remember these tips when you plan out your social media marketing strategy and you will without a shadow of a doubt be successful.

Published on: May 26, 2016