One of the best things you can do as a small business owner is create a brand people love and care about. If consumers care about a brand, they’re more likely to be loyal to it, which means they’re more likely to shop at your business and recommend it to their family and friends. If you want to create a good customer following, check out these five tips to creating a brand people will care about.
1. Be open and honest.
There’s nothing worse than a company that deceives its customers. If something goes wrong, own up to it, apologize for it and try to fix it as quickly as you can. Of course, you shouldn’t only be open and honest when something goes awry. Honesty can include something as simple as whimsical or relatable posts. For example, when Monday rolls around, share a funny photo with a caption inviting your followers to respond. Captions can read: “Tag a friend who can relate!” or “Anyone else ever feel this way on Monday?” or “What’s your best tip for getting through a sluggish Monday?”
2. Engage with your customers.
Good social media practices gain engagement from customers. The more your customers engage with you, the more likely non-followers will see your social pages. However, it’s more than just having them speak to you. You should initiate the conversation as well as answer any questions you can that they might comment on your social posts. Another way to engage with them is to feature customers on your pages. Let’s say you own a retail store and a customer shares a photo of them wearing an outfit from your store, tagging you in the post. You could share that photo to your follower. Not only will the customer be excited, they’ll be more likely to share the news with friends that they were shared on your page. What’s more is that other customers will see you’ve shared posts you’ve been tagged in and will likely want to be featured as well. They’ll start posting products from your store and tagging you in them, allowing their followers to see your brand.
3. Be reliable.
It can be hard to believe, but people often shop with their heart, not their head. As such, your product or services should be reliable and impressive so customers can justify their purchases to themselves. One good way to ensure reliability is continually testing your products or services to make sure they’re up-to-date and of top quality. However, don’t spend too much time on testing new products or services. If you spend too long, potential customers might give their loyalty to competitors who released the product or service before you.
4. Show your appreciation.
Customers love to be appreciated, especially if they continually buy from specific brands. One way to show your appreciation is through sharing their posts, as we mentioned earlier. Another way is to create a loyalty program. Repeat customers are worth 10 times more than their first purchase over their entire lifetime, and in fact, 87 percent of consumers want loyalty programs. Not only will you be thanking them for their loyalty to you, you’ll also be increasing your revenue and earning deeper loyalty from them as you reward them. Name your loyalty program to what they care about. For example, if you run a pet store, maybe call it, “Pet Perks” or “Puppy Points”. If you own a restaurant, give them punch cards or name it a play on your restaurant’s name.
5. Have fun.
In the end, you should have fun with your customers. Of course, there should be boundaries on how much fun you should have. If your company deals with serious matters, keep it very light. However, if you’re able to relax and share a meme from time to time, do so! Ask customers for funny stories or limericks and offer a gift card to the one who wins. Share some day-to-day mishaps that you can make light of (like dropping your coffee or if the printer is jammed). If you have fun, your customers will too and will want to stick around your fun nature.
With the right brand, consumers will give you their loyalty. They’ll shop more at your business, use more of your services and recommend your small business to friends and family. Creating a good brand doesn’t have to be too difficult. Using the five tips above, you’ll be on your way to creating a brand people care about in no time.
Constantina Kokenes is a Content Specialist at Kabbage, a small business loans provider. She holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. When not immersed in the small business world, Constantina loves cooking, baking, going on hikes, and playing with her cat and chinchilla.