Want to make the most of your social media? You need to learn how to cultivate genuine relationships with your brand fans. How? Here are 4 ways to do just that.

1. Know what they love. Not just about your brand, but about life. Do some research on what they talk about, where they spend time online and most importantly what they value. The quickest way to connect with people is to discover their passions, their causes and what’s important to them and then show how your brand shares that value.

2. Showcase your mission. Why should your fans care about your company or brand? What value can you add to their life? How can you help them? What do you represent? Tom Shoes is an excellent example, with their motto “One for One.” It’s clear that they are on a mission to give a pair of shoes away every time someone buys a pair. How can you take your mission and make it the face of your company? When people know what you stand for, they are much more willing to stand next to you. (Click to Tweet!)

3. Ask open-ended questions that start a conversation. If you aren’t connecting with your fans and followers this could be because you don’t engage with them. Ask questions that will get them talking and it doesn’t have to be about your product! Circle back to what they care about and ask questions about their passions. Find a way to strike a bond with them. Just as if you were meeting them in real life. For example, if you and a coworker went to the same college you share that experience, how can you share experiences from a brand perspective that creates a connection?

4. Know the best medium to connect with your fans on. Knowing if your fans are more responsive to blog posts, videos or photos will increase your chance of building a true relationship with them. If you are an interior design firm you know your audience is extremely visual that will be a critical component to connecting with them.  Perhaps, you focus on Pinterest or other platforms that have are more visually engaging for two reasons: 1) chances your fans are already spending time on that platform and 2) they recognize that you know where they spend time and that gives you credibility.

So, if you want to make the most of your social media strategy, start implementing these action items today!

This post originally appeared on Social Media Today.

So you’ve got some facebook and Twitter fans, people are liking and commenting on your pages—but what does that lead to? How can you capitalize on this? By turning your fans into your biggest brand advocates. Here’s how to do it.

  • First identify who are your brand advocates. These are the people commenting, sharing, and regularly engaging with your brand at a higher caliber than most fans.
  • Make them feel special. Send a message or email to those individuals thanking them for participating in your online community and encourage them to continue to interact.
  • Reward them. If they’ve done a truly great job spreading the word about your company offer them a gift card, free lunch or guest blog post.
  • Build a relationship. Chances are that if a brand advocate likes your company their friends and family will too. Value their connections. Encourage them to share and continue to share content with others by forming a relationship with them. They’ll feel honored and you’ll have a strong brand supporter on your side.

Want to find out how to turn you biggest complainers into satisfied customers? Check out this article from FastCompany.