In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re taking a look at two brands that have used social media to build and, more importantly, sustain strong customer relationships. Much like two people in a relationship, these brands began by courting, then dating their customers, eventually engaging them and finally sealing the deal by making them committed brand ambassadors. Having relationship problems with your customers? Take a cue from these two social media Cupids.
Chobani conquered the act of courting, or attracting, its customers by showing it cared. Chobani acknowledges and responds to every brand mention/inquiry online, whether through a retweet, like or comment, and actively seeks feedback. The brand invites customers to share ideas via Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and celebrates Chobaniacs with its “featured blogger” series. Who doesn’t love the attention that comes with the courting period?
The dating phase of social media relationship building is all about creating long-term interest in your brand. Developing dynamic, unique content relevant to your audience and encouraging conversation with your brand and one another are key ways to do this. As Chobani moved into its “dating phase,” it began posting countless recipes and Instagram photos to appeal to the interests of its customers – and keep them interested.
Today, according to market research firm SymphonyIRI Group, Chobani’s customers are completely engaged with the brand. In fact, Chobani is at the top for brand engagement among yogurt companies. “Business is all about relationships and creating strong connections. When you produce a great product and you provide ways for people to interact, it’s possible to achieve results that transcend the bounds of traditional marketing and advertising,” said Nicki Briggs, who manages Chobani’s social media strategy, in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Starbucks is a prime example of a brand that has successfully shifted its customer base from engagement to marriage. Customer engagement via social media platforms is typically measured by likes, comments and shares. But with customers increasingly wanting to immerse themselves in brand cultures (think Apple, Nike and TOMS), engagement is no longer enough.
Companies and organizations are now striving to get their customers married to their brand, both on the Web and in their daily lives. “Married” fans are super influencers. They are your loyal ambassadors and they are completely, head over heels, immersed in you.
Starbucks has achieved this by inviting its customers to become a part of the brand. In 2008, Starbucks launched “My Starbucks Idea,” a microsite where customers can submit suggestions to help improve the company or respond to others’ ideas. A visitor can also see if his or her ideas are under review, have already been reviewed, are in the works or have launched. More than 150,000 ideas have been submitted to date. Adopted ideas include selling reusable coffee cup sleeves, assigning name badges to baristas and donating unsold pastries to local homeless shelters and food kitchens.
More recently, Starbucks Canada invited consumers to rename its blonde roast. Historically, only Starbucks-certified “coffee masters” could name its coffees. Since the blonde roast’s launch on January 28, consumers have submitted more than 50,000 suggestions. With consumers able to express their thoughts and influence products and policies, they feel a sense of ownership and deeper connection with the Starbucks brand.
To further explore Chobani and Starbucks’ social networks, click on any of the below links.
Ready to take your social media relationships to the next level? Break the ice with an email to Pita.