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6 ecommerce lessons to learn from Amazon’s success

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Follow the leader

Amazon has come a long way from its humble beginnings as an online bookseller. Since its launch in 1994, Amazon has grown to become an ecommerce behemoth. These days, it’s one of the first places shoppers turn to buy anything from cleaning products to the latest tech gadgets.

And with $470 billion in sales globally, Amazon is the uncontested ecommerce leader and continues to grow and innovate.

This success took years to achieve and is due in part to Amazon’s strategic approach to growth. Although Amazon has now expanded into other avenues like streaming and food delivery services, any ecommerce business, regardless of where they start, can learn from Amazon’s example to grow their business and attract and retain more customers.

Here are six lessons that are at the center of why Amazon is so successful. Use them to make your ecommerce business more popular and profitable.

1. Highlight what other customers love

Long-term growth requires a customer-focused approach. When every aspect of the business prioritizes and anticipates the customer’s needs, your company is set to increase customer satisfaction and retention.

One way Amazon meets the needs of its customers is by tapping into the power of social proof through reviews and recommended products. On each product page, Amazon includes a section of recommended products based on what other customers who viewed that product have also viewed.

[Source]

Amazon gives its consumers the evidence and options they need in order to make a purchasing decision. Providing users with a “customers also bought/viewed” section taps into the consumer’s fear of missing out on the best or trendiest options. These sections also work to keep Amazon users engaged and continuously browsing.

Providing social proof pays off for brands. According to a Brightlocal consumer survey, 79% of people trust online reviews as much as word of mouth. Moreover, 94% said they are more likely to purchase from a business with positive reviews, and 92% said they are less likely to purchase from those with negative reviews.

What you can do

We live in an age where people share their experiences online, and reviews hold more weight than brand marketing.

Use this audience preference to your advantage by focusing on ways to make your customers happy. If you do a good job, your customers are more likely to share their experiences, which will help grow your customer base and increase your revenue — by lowering customer acquisition cost (CAC) and potentially boosting lifetime value (LTV).

2. Incorporate data analysis into your decision making

Amazon prides itself on its commitment to innovation and testing. They test every aspect of their business — from pricing to product selection — so decisions are based on customer needs and not what Amazon thinks customers might want.

As Bezos puts it, “Our customers are loyal to us right up until the second somebody offers them a better service. And I love that. It’s super-motivating for us.”

In part, it’s this constant threat of customers switching to the competition that drives Amazon’s innovation. Even though it’s the largest ecommerce retailer, with a worldwide revenue of $469.82 billion, Amazon is constantly in competition with other businesses.

Improving the products they already sell also helps Amazon achieve success. For example, as more customers choose to equip their homes with devices that make modern-day living more interactive and seamless, smart home devices increase in popularity. To compete with a smart speaker like Google Home, Amazon continues to upgrade its Echo to include more distinctive features. As a result, the Amazon Echo dominates the global smart speaker market.

Amazon success

[Source]

When it comes to features, Alexa on Amazon Echo was one of the first versions of voice-controlled tech. Amazon has gone further with its smart speaker tech to release the Amazon Echo Dot, a smaller, more affordable version, as well as the Echo Show to further cater to customers’ need to be connected.

What you can do

Be strategic about testing your products regularly and coming up with new ideas to meet evolving customer needs. For example, run A/B tests by selling limited edition products to test customer interest, send customer surveys, or use a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey to find who your promoters are and how many, so you can cater to their specific needs. Combine these efforts so it’s easier to make decisions and create innovative products, features and services based on data.

3. Get to know your customers

Amazon is constantly tracking and learning about its customers. As customers search and add products to their cart, Amazon uses this behavioral data to make product recommendations. The online marketplace shows customers products related to items they’ve recently browsed and based on their search habits:

Amazon success

At the bottom of the homepage, customers can also see more recommendations based on recent purchases and a history of products they’ve recently viewed. All of this information guides customers to buy more.

This personalization pays off. According to Evergage research, 78% of marketing professionals believe that personalization has a strong or extremely strong impact on advancing the customer relationship. Moreover, 92% say that customers or prospects expect a personalized experience. Whether it’s through email, website, or in person, successful marketers use data to provide better customer experiences and increase loyalty.

What you can do

Personalize your customer’s shopping experience based on their past behavior, location, and interest list of the customer’s recently searched items at the bottom of your product pages. This makes it easy for them to find the items and add them to their cart.

On your homepage, list products customers might be interested in based on what they’ve purchased or browsed in the past. If you let customers set up accounts on your store, consider setting up a past orders menu option. This feature makes it quick and easy for customers to find what they need and buy it again.

4. Build a community of trust through reviews and Q&As

When it comes to purchase decision-making, people often look to one another for guidance. Online reviews and question-and-answer sections can help increase trust and purchases. Research shows the most important aspect of a customer’s purchasing decision is high ratings and reviews. Consumers even prefer positive product feedback over discounts, coupons, or loyalty program offers.

Amazon taps into this trait of human nature by offering user reviews and a question-and-answer section. Through these features, the online marketplace builds a community where consumers can educate each other and move along the customer journey.

Amazon proactively asks recent customers to rate and review their experience. This feedback appears on the product page with a “verified purchase” flag, which adds to the trustworthiness of the review.

Amazon success

[Source]

Amazon also offers a customer question-and-answer section at the bottom of its product pages to give shoppers the option to ask specific questions before they buy something. Past customers provide answers:

Amazon success

[Source]

Both of these options make it possible for shoppers to rely on other customers for information and not solely on Amazon. Shoppers can read about honest experiences from other customers and base their purchasing decisions on feedback from those with similar needs.

What you can do

Send follow-up emails to customers to request a review of your product. You can also post requests for reviews in each customer’s personal dashboard, so when they log in, they’re reminded to submit a review directly on your site. Like Amazon, you should flag reviews to make it clear they’re submitted by people who actually bought the products they’re reviewing.

5. Build a loyalty program to incentivize customers

Loyalty programs increase engagement and profitability for companies. 79% of consumers stated that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with brands.

Amazon launched their loyalty program, Amazon Prime, in 2005 as a membership service that offered two-day free shipping and other benefits, like no minimum purchases or consolidating orders. In 2015, the service gained even more attention when Amazon Prime Day was launched. For one day only, Amazon Prime members have access to deep discounts and exclusive offers.

Prime has evolved since then to also include exclusive offers at Whole Foods grocery stores, access to their streaming platform and music service, and much more. As of 2021, Prime Day continues to be extremely popular with its members, bringing in $11.19 billion in global sales.

Amazon success

[Source]

Prime isn’t a loyalty program where customers automatically qualify — they have to pay an annual fee to join. But for many consumers, this fee is worthwhile as long as the program offers decent benefits. According to ClarusCommerce, over 70% of customers are even willing to pay a premium to join a loyalty program.

Shoppers are willing to pay for a Prime membership to gain access to all the benefits—special discounts, free shipping, entertainment, and more. The program taps into customers’ classic desires of saving money, fast deliveries, and easy returns.

What you can do

Create a program that offers incentives that get customers to come back to the store regularly and take advantage of special offers. For example, include access to free shipping, limited-time discounts, and other membership perks.

You can also personalize your membership benefits by offering timely gifts. Studies show that, in addition to saving money, 79% of customers want loyalty programs that care about them. Offer customers special rewards and bonuses during important occasions — like a membership anniversary or birthday — to show customers your brand values them.

6. Think of new ways to evolve

Amazon continues to grow as a result of its dedication to trying new things. If you maintain a mindset focused on evolution, you can foster more opportunities for growth. Amazon continues to grow as a result of its dedication to research and development, from scientific discoveries to improving its inventory planning system to developing the Amazon Fire Stick. The marketplace’s commitment to innovation keeps their business running smoothly and continuously growing.

Amazon success

[Source]

In the U.S., Amazon has made returns as simple as bringing your items (sometimes even unboxed) to locations like UPS, Whole Foods, or Kohls. They’ve partnered with these companies and introduced a QR code each place can scan to process your returns.

Amazon success

Source: Kohls/Amazon via Apartment therapy

Amazon’s focus on producing new ways to make the customer experience simple, seamless and entertaining keeps their shoppers engaged. Whether it’s by introducing new TV and movie programming as part of Prime membership or access to new audio content, Amazon is always looking for new opportunities to capture its audience.

What you can do

To innovate, look at what your competitors offer and find gaps you can fill. Listen to what customers are saying on social media, and ask your customer support representatives to log insights they get when customers call in.

Use any avenue where customers share information as an opportunity to learn from them and improve your business and product offerings.

Leveraging examples of what makes Amazon so successful

Since launching in 1994, Amazon has experimented and learned lessons to become the ecommerce giant it is today. Follow in the marketplace’s footsteps by tackling your growth strategically. Start with small changes, test and adjust. Pay attention to your customers and the changing landscape of ecommerce. Be persistent and dedicated with your innovation. If you have patience with the process, over time, you’ll see results.



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In Business, Image Matters. How to Improve Yours?

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Your business may boast of excellent products and/or services. However, nowadays, excellent products and services simply aren’t enough to help a business survive and thrive in the long run. What your business also needs is a strong image – one that can help it stand out from its competitors.

But how exactly do you go about improving the image of your business? To know the answer to this question, read on as we take you through all the steps you can and must take to take your business forward towards success.

photo credit: August de Richeliu / Pexels

1. Face-to-face interactions with people

We may be living in the digital age, but nothing can beat face-to-face interactions when it comes to telling people about your business. Here are some ways through which you can inform people about your business and what it’s all about:

Meet people and start conversations

It’s unrealistic to expect that people will know about your business if you don’t reach out to them. So, start going out and attending events.

Business-centric open meetings and conferences would be the best place to start. At these events, you’ll run into several businessmen like yourself. You should make the most of these opportunities to start conversations with others from the world of business. This will gradually let people know about your business and the products and/or services it has to offer.

Prepare a pitch

When you meet potential customers, you have to be prepared to speak spontaneously about your business. At this juncture, it’s important that you don’t fumble or sound unconfident. After all, what you tell people about your business will form impressions in their minds – and you’d want those impressions to be positive, wouldn’t you?

This is where preparing a pitch can come in incredibly handy. Write it down first and then keep practicing it out loud, and make changes where necessary.

Participate in community events

Your local community is the first pillar of support for your business. So, get out there and try playing a role in all community events. At these events, you should promote your business in a friendly and welcoming manner.

This should encourage members of your local community to take an interest in your business and what it has to offer. Sure, this may not result in immediate sales, but it will definitely improve your business’s public visibility.

Businessman in a fancy coffee shop

2. Make your business appear professional

A surprising fact is that the modern-day consumer values professionalism more than the quality of products and services. Of course, product and service quality is important, but if your business lacks professionalism, it will lose out on customers.

So, to make your business appear professional, you can put the following steps into practice:

Invest in a business website

The internet is arguably the biggest platform for businesses nowadays, which is why you should invest in a dedicated website for your business. We recommend hiring professional web developers and designers to curate your business website. This will ensure that your website looks and feels professional.

Apart from setting up a website, you should also pay attention to its content. Quite simply, it should have all the information that your target audience may want to know, i.e., contact information and information about the business. Your business website should also have a blog with consistent posts. This can go a long way towards ensuring your expertise within your niche.

Set up a dedicated email account for your business

Using your personal email account as your business’s email account is nothing short of a criminal offense. That’s why you should set up a dedicated business email account. It’ll help you achieve consistency with your branding, and it’ll also allow your business to look professional to the people who subscribe to your business newsletters.

To set up a business email account, you need to first create a domain name and then get in touch with an email provider. Two of the best email providers out there include Office 365 for Business and Google Apps for Business. Both options provide business-class email along with features such as online storage and document editing. The best thing about these options is that they’re quite inexpensive.

Provide 24/7 Customer Service

These days, consumers expect the companies they buy products and services from to be available for them 24/7. Fortunately, the widely availble virtual assistant and reception services such as those provided by www.virtualreception.com.au can do that for you – both on and off office hours – to any types and sizes of business, from freelancing digital nomads to multinational corporations.

Social media manager

3. Set up your social media for success

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are excellent places to market your business and its products. Here are a few ways to make your business succeed on social media:

Create business profiles

On all major social media platforms, you have the option of setting up personal profiles and business profiles. It’s best to create the latter type of profile as it is designed specifically for business purposes.

During the setup process, make sure that you include relevant info in the bio sections. Don’t forget to add links to your official website and other social media handles as well.

Post relevant content regularly

All social media algorithms tend to favor accounts that post relevant content on a consistent basis. So, irrespective of the social media platforms you’re active on, make sure that you’re posting new content as much as possible.

Not posting regularly can limit your business account’s reach and stall its growth on social media.

Keep branding elements consistent across all platforms

If your Instagram page looks drastically different from your Facebook page, your target audience is bound to get confused. That’s why it’s vital to use similar branding elements across all social media platforms.

The branding elements you should focus on keeping consistent include your business’s logo, its imagery, and its voice, i.e., the tone of communicating with your audience.

Encourage users to engage with you on social media and interact with them: Through the use of call-to-action (CTA) messages, you can encourage your followers on social media to engage with your posts. You should also spare time to respond to your followers’ comments.

Business owner in the Portugal-based office
photo credit: Fauxels / Pexels

Takeaway

There are quite some things to consider in your endeavor to increase your buisness image. However, focusing on the three above is more than sufficient to get started: Meet people and tell the about your business; make an effort to be professional, especially in your online presence; and lastly, make use of social media platforms to your advantage.

Be sure to do a lot of trials-and-errors so that you can form the best practices for your company.

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5 Ways to Control Your Inventory So It Doesn’t Control You

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Managing inventory is a task that can make or break your small business. With too much inventory, profits suffer and storerooms overflow. With too little, items get back-ordered, customers get frustrated and business is lost. And striking a balance is hard, especially with disruptions to the global supply chain in the last few years causing delayed deliveries.

While you can’t control the supply chain, you can take steps to prevent common problems like product shortages and excess stock. Here’s how.

1. Stick to the story

Donna Daniel owns and operates three connected small businesses in Claremont, California: The Grove Clothing, The Grove Home and The Outdoor Store, which sell women’s clothing, home goods and unisex adventure-themed gear, respectively. To run all three of her stores, Daniel needs to keep an impressive variety and quantity of inventory in stock — and ensure it moves quickly to make room for seasonal items and new shipments.

To keep her inventory cohesive within each store, she arranges it in themed displays — or what she calls “stories” — which tie together dozens of different items to appeal to a color, season or activity.

“I don’t buy anything outside of the stories,” she says, which helps her collect data on sales and seasonal trends, and keeps her stock to what’s most likely to sell.

She keeps most of her inventory on the shop floor, with stock in each store’s backroom and larger items in a nearby storage unit. In the backrooms and warehouse, she stores items according to product type and size — not by story — so employees can easily restock displays and substitute a similar item if necessary.

2. Double down on your reliable inventory

“Just-in-time inventory is much more difficult to do today,” says Mark Baxa, president and CEO of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, a global trade association for supply chain professionals. Baxa adds that since the supply chain is less stable than it was pre-pandemic, businesses may need to lean on their most reliable products and vendors.

Courtney Cowan, owner and founder of Los Angeles bakery Milk Jar Cookies, keeps supply needs and consumer demand stable with a very consistent product line. Her 16-flavor menu has “changed very little” in the bakery’s nine-year history, though she leaves room for a rare seasonal standout to join the rotation. Since her store pre-mixes and preserves dough in a deep freezer, she can ensure that her bestsellers are always in stock.

Though some businesses may prefer a bit more variety, in uncertain times — over-ordering on go-to products with a dependable profit margin can help fill the gaps and keep sales steady.

3. Keep products moving

Longtime retailers know that while running out of inventory is bad, having too much can be worse. “Too much backstock eats up all your capital,” Daniel says. She prevents this from happening by planning ahead and using sales sections to make room for new merchandise.

Daniel reorders seasonal inventory as far as a year ahead by using recent sales reports as a baseline. But with this commitment to hundreds of new products arriving every month, she makes sure that items don’t sit on shelves for more than a few weeks.

“I do not like merchandise hanging around,” she says, explaining that if an item isn’t clearing out quickly enough, she’ll move it to the sales rack and discount it until it’s gone.

Though selling an item for a fraction of its original price may seem painful, it may be worth doing to keep inventory moving and keep customers coming back for new products.

4. Get to know your supply chain

Especially in periods of supply chain disruption, getting to know your vendors can make a big difference in your day-to-day operations. “Hold your supplier base accountable,” Baxa says. He suggests finding the “shortest path” possible, including finding local and sustainable suppliers, to help ensure consistent, reliable supply.

Daniel follows the same principle, sourcing her inventory from mostly local vendors so she can pick up items instead of shipping. She weighs several factors, including production time, available quantity and shelf life to figure out how much to order and how often.

Cowan’s inventory is perishable, so she needs her wholesale ingredients to arrive on a tight schedule. Her bakery receives truck deliveries directly from the restaurant supplier Sysco and wholesale store Costco, which keeps her supply chain close to home.

“We keep it as centralized as possible,” Cowan says. For special ingredients like nuts and candy, she places advance orders with small online vendors.

Clear communication with vendors can help business owners figure out limitations, plan ahead and mitigate risk.

5. Use a point-of-sale system with inventory management tools

For the past five years, Daniel has been using Lightspeed, a POS system with standout inventory management tools. The software can track her inventory across all three of her stores, and it generates reports that help her analyze seasonal sales data and follow her businesses’ growth.

This data is essential for her to plan reorder points and determine which items will reliably sell. Especially with a small staff and multiple locations, an all-in-one POS system can help minimize costs and labor.

Best POS for inventory management

Lightspeed Retail POS

Cost: Software $69 per month (billed annually) and up. Hardware quote-based.

Lightspeed’s retail point-of-sale system is built for inventory management. It can keep detailed records of your products across multiple locations and set automatic reorder points, so you don’t run out. The software also offers employee and customer relationship management tools, as well as advanced analytics features on its higher-priced plans.

You have the option to use a third-party payment processor, or Lightspeed’s in-house processor with per-transaction fees at 2.6% plus 10 cents for swipe, dip and contactless payments and 2.6% plus 30 cents for keyed-in transactions.

Square for Retail

Cost: Software free and up. Hardware from free card reader to $799 terminal and up.

Square’s retail-specific POS software offers inventory management tools and multi-location capabilities as well. The free version has a variety of other useful features including reporting tools, customer and employee management. Email marketing, loyalty programs and payroll are available with a higher-priced plan or as a paid add-on.

Though its inventory management isn’t quite as deep as Lightspeed’s, Square’s user-friendly interface and accessible pricing make it a great choice for most retail businesses. Payment processing fees vary per plan, but with the free retail plan, costs are 2.6% plus 10 cents per in-person transaction, 2.9% plus 30 cents per online transaction and 3.5% plus 15 cents per keyed transaction.

Shopify POS

Cost: Software $29 to $299 and up. Hardware $49 and up.

Shopify’s point-of-sale system is geared for businesses that primarily sell online. The software tracks inventory, hides out-of-stock products on your website and offers basic inventory analysis. It also facilitates drop-shipping, curbside pickup and local delivery options, plus access to vendors and third-party applications.

Shopify helps businesses manage inventory across online and in-store locations. Its Pro version can create purchase orders, run inventory counts, perform advanced inventory analysis and generate low-stock reports. However, it’s not ideal for a business that only sells in store. Payment processing varies by plan, with in-person fees starting at 2.4% with Shopify POS Lite.

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14 community management tips for meaningful connections with customers

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Community building blocks

The idea for sharing community management tips came to me about a year ago. That’s when I synced up with the GoDaddy Community team to host a webinar for small business owners. As hundreds of attendees rolled into the Zoom, I had a realization: “GoDaddy has a strong community.”

Behind every good brand and business, there’s a solid community of supporters, stakeholders, and sometimes, even haters.

But building a community and maintaining connections is one of the most misunderstood and least talked about topics within the small business world. For a business with fewer than five employees and a handful of customers, community building might seem like just another marketing tactic that is just out of reach.

To help small businesses build and manage an online community, I asked other business owners and marketers what community management tips they had for creating meaningful connections with customers.

14 community management tips to create meaningful customer connections

Given that creating and maintaining a strong community can help retain and attract customers, consider following these 14 community management tips:

  1. Be quick to address negative experiences
  2. Filter out spam
  3. Showcase success
  4. Send a postcard
  5. Get your customers involved in important decisions
  6. Bring Up topics that encourage engagement
  7. Provide talking points and engage with your community
  8. Engage regularly
  9. Be the face of your brand
  10. Choose a channel that works
  11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs
  12. Consider a brand ambassador program
  13. Reward loyalty
  14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

Read on to learn more.

1. Be quick to address negative experiences

A bad customer experience can quickly escalate to a brand reputation crisis, and the company’s response must be fast to revert the situation.

Monitoring social channel mentions is an easy way to keep an eye on conversations surrounding your brand and detect potential concerns.

Once a customer posts a comment that threatens your brand reputation, listen, honestly apologize and be willing to solve the issue in the best possible way. Your unsatisfied customer will feel appreciated and perhaps even become a brand advocate.

-Rebeca Sena, GetSpace.digital

2. Filter out spam

The most important thing you should be doing in regards to community management is interacting with your community, and you cannot do that properly if you have to work through a bunch of spam. There are many programs out there, even some within the different social media sites, that can filter out spam in your comments and messages so you can focus on addressing your community. Plus, getting rid of the spam and moderating harmful comments creates a better space for your community to contact you through.

-Jacob Dayan, Community Tax

3. Showcase success

Develop case studies from your successful community members. This is a practical way of propagating the core values of your online community and encouraging new users to join your community.

The more these members contribute to the community, the more impact these case studies have. You can start by creating basic reports to identify the members who are actively contributing high-quality content, assisting other members, and elevating the community.

-Hasan Farahani, Yocale

4. Send a postcard

postcard with other travel items

Many of my customers spend $15–$20K on medical care in Latin America. I send my customers handwritten postcards to remind them of their journey, thank them for their business, and to stay engaged while they recover from procedures like dental implants or plastic surgery.

The cost in time and money is very low, but a human touch in the healthcare space is increasingly rare.

-Wesley Jacobs, Apollo Medical Travel

5. Get your customers involved in important decisions

Taking the time to follow up with your most active customers and getting their insights on important decisions makes them feel like their opinions are truly valued and cared for.

In the long run, this forges a strong connection between you and your audience that relies on more than simply a transaction.

An added benefit of doing this is that you may even get some eye-opening suggestions and creative ideas that could end up benefiting your business.

-Harry Morton, Lower Street 

6. Bring up topics that encourage engagement

Meaningful connections need to originate from a common source that offers a moment of relatability, which can further build brand trust. Social platforms offer numerous opportunities for these types of exchanges. When managing your social community, bring up topics that encourage engagement so you can connect on a level that goes beyond the basic company/customer relationship. In doing so, the consumer will feel more at ease to comment, ask questions and even provide more detailed feedback.

-Lindsay McCormick, Bite 

7. Provide talking points and engage with your community

It’s important to recognize that community management is an ongoing responsibility. If you want to see your community thrive, you must create opportunities for customers to voice their opinion, communicate with other community members and provide you with feedback. Finding success is contingent on your ability to encourage participation from users, so you must provide talking points and give them plenty of avenues to stay involved.

If you leave your community dormant without your administrative oversight, engagement will start to dwindle as fewer users initiate conversations and take part.

Communities rarely function autonomously, so be sure to play an active role as you connect with and safeguard your community.

This gives you a chance to speak with your customers on a personal level, helping you learn about their likes, dislikes, objections and pain points directly—all of which are crucial in building meaningful connections with customers.

-Mike Grossman, GoodHire

8. Engage regularly

The best community management tip is to engage regularly and don’t neglect questions or threads you didn’t start—even better if they aren’t getting a lot of feedback. If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to regularly interact with your customers, make sure you’re commenting often and have a badge next to your name letting them know you’re a moderator or part of the company. That will really cement that feeling of connection and letting members feel heard. Plus, we’ve found that a community manager can really breathe life into a topic by offering input and pushing it to the front of that community for more engagement.

-Sylvia Kang, Mira

9. Be the face of your brand

Revealing the human side of your brand is without a shadow of a doubt an efficient strategy to boost your customers’ connection. It conveys transparency and accountability, building a stronger human bond. Consumers tend to trust people more than a company, and showcasing real people will make you and your brand easier to remember and trust.

-Chiara Sternardi, Passport-photo.online

10. Choose a channel that works

social media apps on iphone

The best way to build an authentic community is to have everyone communicate using the same social media platform. Make that a crucial part of your strategy.

If it’s a professional audience that you’re going after, choose LinkedIn. If it’s a broader audience, use Facebook or Instagram. If it’s a young audience, try Snapchat or WhatsApp. If it’s a politically charged audience, maybe try Twitter.

YouTube is a great way to encourage people to watch videos that provide clear instructions on how a product or service works.

Users flock to YouTube for instructions on everything from how to change batteries on a device to playing scales on a guitar. The comment section can be useful for feedback purposes, and it also can be a way for customers to communicate with one another.

-Joel Jackson, Lifeforce

11. Create content that addresses customers’ specific needs

By creating audience and buyer personas based on different client categories, content marketers can create social content that speaks to people rather than just industries. Learn where your customers hang out online using your social media demographics. Then, narrow those results using audience research to help you define a specific audience and channel. You can then customize communications by researching the LinkedIn profiles of potential customers. Doing so will allow you to identify different stakeholders within the organization and determine their pain points. You can then create better content that addresses their challenges. But it’s all about finding an interesting angle for each segment.

Content that is too broad won’t result in authentic engagement with your followers.

Social media posts that offer helpful information are guaranteed to stand out in your clients’ feeds, resulting in more likes, shares and leads.

-Daniel Tejada, Straight Up Growth

12. Consider a brand ambassador program

A great way to create authentic connections with customers is with an acquisition and advocacy program like a brand ambassador program. For example, if a user can get five people to sign up for a service or product, they become an ambassador.

These brand ambassadors can help your business acquire new users. You can reward them with swag and access to special products or services … maybe even a special event!

-Jennifer Pieniazek, Resume Now

13. Reward loyalty

You can create meaningful connections by rewarding loyal customers to show how much you appreciate them. Just like any relationship, whether it’s personal or professional, people appreciate rewards. Show your customers that they matter and are top of mind in your decision-making. That’s how you create a stronger, more loyal customer base—one that will continue to pay attention for new initiatives and future rewards.

-Alyssa Berman-Waugh, Level Home, Inc.

14. Recognize the importance of inclusivity

To create meaningful connections with customers, recognize and accept diversities within your community. Each of your customers will differ in terms of their culture, orientation, ability and life experience. It’s imperative that you celebrate these differences and welcome input from individuals of all walks of life as you advocate for equity and inclusivity. This will develop your community’s reputation and attract diverse groups in greater numbers.

Communities that cater to just one group of people almost always become echo chambers, creating a suboptimal environment for connections to form and important discussions to take place.

By listening, asking questions, and welcoming input from diverse groups of individuals, you’ll cement your community as a welcoming place for diversity and insight to flourish.

In doing so, your ability to build a rapport and create meaningful, lasting connections with your customers will blossom.

-Patrick Casey, Felix

The community management tips used in this article were gathered using Terkel.
Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.



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