Maintaining a healthy (and loving) relationship with your audience all year long

Singles look away now as Valentine’s month is once again upon us. It is during this month that we have the urge to express our love and appreciation for our loved ones. While people may express their undying love to others, organisations and brands also look to ‘capitalise on Cupid’ by producing countless Valentine’s campaigns aimed at their myriad target audiences.

Public Relations and communications agency

Everyone likes to feel loved – especially on Valentine’s Day. Who doesn’t enjoy feeling special and getting spoiled with presents, freebies, vouchers or great discounts from your favourite brands? However, from a PR & Communications perspective, is showing love to your clients (and their brand campaign) once a year enough to keep them happy all year around? The answer, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, is a resounding NO.

The key is to create a long lasting and valuable relationship with a target audience all year around, instead of just on special occasions.

Here are some key ideas to consider for brands that are looking to create long-term relationships with their customers and target markets:

1 – Communication is key

No relationship will survive if there is no communication between the two parties. A bilateral listening ability will bring a brand closer to its audience. It is therefore important to routinely seek and create win-win solutions for both parties. This, in turn, will sustain your relationship with ongoing goodwill.

Social media, when used correctly, is the best channel to communicate and engage with your target audience(s). I say ‘correctly’ because many brands are still using their social media platforms only as awareness tools, completely forgetting about the power of engagement and two-way conversations.

2 – Don’t be selfish - it’s not all about you

As consumers we tend to value a brand more or less based on its customer service levels. Research has shown that 76% of consumers view customer service as the true test of how much a company values and appreciates them.

From a client-centric perspective, ask yourself: Is my customer service good enough to keep my clientele happy? And how can I improve it?

Social media is a relevant and engaging channel to make use of in order to show appreciation.

3 – Accept criticism as a way of improvement

Research has shown that poor customer service will lose existing customers, as well as prospective clients. Most consumers that have received bad customer service make use of social media as an immediate mechanism to complain and share the experience with others.

When consumers contact brands on social media they expect a response - and they expect a response quickly. According to the 2016 TD marketing trends, 53% of the users interviewed expect a response in less than an hour. If a brand answers the query clients will LIKE you. If a brand resolves their problem, they will LOVE you.

4 – Make them feel special

The battle for customer loyalty is more aggressive than ever and it is up to brands to stay ahead of competitors by giving the audience the attention that they want and deserve. Make use of social media to deliver a personal touch by reinforcing the in-store experience online and on social media channels.

Social networks have, over the last few years, made a point of prioritising social media customer service with new tools and functionalities. All of these tools are now at our disposal and brands can now show their customers appreciation and love by investing in a social media-centric customer service approach. By answering customers’ feedback, both positive and negative in a realistic time period, showing customers that you are paying attention to them and addressing their needs will ultimately result in you ‘wooing’ them over and over again, ultimately getting them to love your brand (and not just on Valentine’s Day!).