An estimated 2.77 billion people use social media around the globe. It’s no surprise that social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are a crucial part of every modern marketing plan. When managed correctly, social media can be used to not only engage with followers, but also to build relationships with them. Fifty-eight percent of consumers follow brands on social media, making it a powerful way to reach new customers and retain current ones.

The social media landscape, however, is full of landmines. One post, picture, or comment can blow up your brand and create a PR nightmare. Here are some ways to use social media platforms more effectively to create a loyal bond with your best customers:

  • Be responsive to customers on social media. Consumers want the brands they care about to care about them. A recent report found that 72% of Twitter users expect a response to a complaint within an hour.
  • Find your own voice. Your customers should feel as though they are talking to a real person, not a bot. Provide the same level of customer service that you would in person. Remember, social media is not designed for one-way content; your customers will use these platforms to voice questions and concerns.
  • Stand out by creating approachable, engaging, and relevant content for your audience. Less than half of all brands’ content resonates as “authentic” with consumers.
  • Put thought into the content you post. A post that is interactive and eye-catching will hold people’s attention and is more likely to be shared. According to a Twitter study, tweets containing a video are retweeted 35% more.
  • Create opportunities for your customers to share ideas. Forty-two percent of millennials want to help brands create and develop their future products and services.

Once your loyal fans begin sharing your content and interacting with it, social media will begin to work as a third-party endorsement. Your customers will become your best brand ambassadors.