The Shocking Truth About Brand Loyalty In A Social Media World

Today, I read two articles on branding and social media. First, I read that its even more crucial now to try to create brand loyalty via social media. Second, I read that brand loyalty is dead. It’s confusing. how can we create brand loyalty amidst a world for brand loyalty is dead? I don’t know.

I’ve been around online communication even prior to the world wide web where we interacted at 300baud over telephone lines for our social fixes. So, while I may not know everything about online branding and loyalty, I do have a few observations to make.

Whether brand loyalty is dead or not, it’s important for business growth — via online customer service and for marketing, to have a good handle on things we assume, but haven’t made explicit. If your beliefs about loyalty are wrong, you are far more likely to invest time, energy and money in the wrong things.

  1. It’s far easier to damage your online brand than it is to build it on social media.
  2. Poor or delayed responses to social media queries are a lot less damaging than most people think. That’s due to the very short life span of tweets, updates¬† and other social media posts. Lots of little storms in teacups that pop up and quickly pass and are forgotten.
  3. It’s far easier to prevent company mistakes than it is to make a mistake, and manage the process of brand rehabilitation in a social media world. In other words once there’s a viral genie out of the box it’s almost impossible to mitigate ALL the damage. Witness the “we break guitars” viral videos (United Air).
  4. Whether you have five followers on a platform or 500,000 you need to be aware that they are more loyal to the specific social platform than they are to you and your company. The implications are a bit scary. You can spend years building a “loyal” following (let’s say on Facebook or LinkedIn) and if you lose that account, or the platform changes its policies or move to pay to play, your followers are much more likely to stay on the platform, rather than follow you to another platform or even your own website. Most are simply not that “into you” to follow you somewhere else.That’s because people on social media gather due to shared interest much more than they do to follow a particular brand. The added convenience of interacting with your company on a particular platform overwhelms any brand loyalty they might have. Hence, the don’t tend to follow across platforms.
  5. ¬†Because customers have so many options these day, particularly regarding online purchases, and so much information flows across everyone’s screens, customer memory is short and flighty. They may not even remember your screw-up from last week, or the huge customer success you achieved the week before. What is a bit shocking is that fast forgetting leads to customers being easily influenced by immediate events, and your successes and failures, and those of your competitors. Online customers tend to be flighty and fickle.

More Resources On Brand Loyalty

To help you to extend your understanding of brand loyalty in the age of social media, here are a few curated articles you may find helpful.

Author: Robert Bacal

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