Illustration by Gerardo Obieta

  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.

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1. Follow 50 new people a week in your expertise and start building relationships with them. If you want people to be aware of you, you need to get in front of them. (Click to Tweet!) Reach out. Connect with them and follow them. Bonus points for following people in your field who are not just the key social media influencers with 100K fans, but the up-and-comers, who are making a mark and will remember you when they are on top.

2. Ask questions and thank people for promoting you. Believe it or not kindness goes along way especially in the social media realm. Always thank people for connecting with you and sharing your content, RTing or favoriting you. It’s a huge compliment and if you don’t take the time to do that, you risk potentially losing that relationship and fan.

3. Return the favor and promote other people. Be known as a content curator or as someone who shares excellent content all the time by the best and most credible bloggers and influencers. If you have a reputation for sharing the best, you will be associated with the best and you will soon be skyrocketing on Twitter.

4. Research those hashtags. If you think just putting a # in front of a word will really make a difference, it won’t—unless you look up the key hashtags for your industry, topic or post. For example, if you’re in the travel industry and not using#TravelTuesday, #SeetheWorld or #TheWorldAwaits, you are missing out on a huge audience. Use hashtagify.me to find relevant hashtags and the top influencers using them.

So take your Twitter game to the next level by following these four steps and don’t forget to be genuine, authentic and build trust with your fans.

Facebook likes

 

The power of Facebook is undeniable. It reaches a huge audience and you can directly target your niche market. Almost every business is on it (if you’re not I recommend it!) but they are not all capitalizing on its true potential. So, what do the best brands with millions of fans do that not every other brand does? I’ll share them with you.

1. Create Awesome Content

In order to have a strong fan base you have to give them something to like and that’s awesome content. This is one of the most crucial factors in getting fans. They have to like what you represent and what your content does for them.

2. Give People an Incentive to Like Your Page

If you’ve posted an article, photo or video that someone wants to see you can adapt the idea of exclusivity by only allowing people who like the page to view it. This will give people more of a reason to like your page. They’ll want to know what’s behind the curtain.

3. Run a Competition

A great way to get fans to like your page and involved with your brand is by offering them a chance to win a prize. Create a contest that represents the values of your brand while increasing engagement. It’s a win, win.

4. Share Your Competition’s Content

What brands and companies are similar to what you do? Attract their audience over to your site by sharing the competition’s Facebook page content on your fan page. It’s an easy way to go after your target market.

5. Advertise on Facebook

This is one of the quickest ways for people to hear about your brand and easily connect with it. You can set the limit for how much you want to spend, when you want the ad to appear and the audience you want it to target. Try it out and see if it makes a difference.

6. Install a Facebook Badge on Your Website

If you have a blog or website be sure to include the Facebook widget that links back to your fan page. It’s important for fans to know that you have a presence on Facebook so they can connect with you there.

How have you increased your Facebook likes? Share your answers here!

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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.