When it comes to marketing your brand, your goal should be to create a lasting impression with your target audience. The way to do that is to build great audience relationships that foster excitement and loyalty.

While every brand will have different kinds of audience relationships depending on the product/service offering and the nature of the brand character, the key to building solid audience relationships is transferrable across industries, audiences, and brands. It’s not rocket science, but it does require some work on your part because it likely won’t happen magically on its own. And you definitely can’t rely solely on your audience to make it happen for you – that’s just lazy.

Here 3 keys to unlocking the secret of solid audience relationships.

No matter how big your audience is, think one on one

Regardless of how large your audience is, you need to think smaller with your targeting and communication style. If people feel like they are just being lumped into a group and you don’t care about them individually, they likely won’t feel a great connection with you as a brand. However, if you speak directly like you are speaking to one person, they will feel like the message is just for them.

The way to achieve this communication style when you are speaking to your full target audience is to keep it personal. Remember you are connecting with humans and humans run your brand. Get to know your consumers by asking questions and listening to what they like. Apply the same principles you would use if you were trying to get to know a person you met one-on-one.

Tap into emotions

A great way to create a stronger bond with anyone is to connect on an emotional level. You aren’t limited to certain emotions either. You can choose emotions that make sense for your brand. If you are trying to tap into childhood memories, go for a nostalgic feeling. Are you trying to evoke happiness? Excitement? If your brand personality is confrontational and you prefer to show strong opinions, you could tap into the anger your audience is feeling about certain issues (although, you should use anger sparingly and wisely). Any time an emotion is generally seen as negative, you need to think twice about using it in your marketing. It can work, but only if it fits strongly within your strategy.

A great way to tap into emotions and to really create a connection with your audience is to align your brand with different causes. More and more, consumers are looking for the brands they use to stand for something. It is a great opportunity for you to showcase your brand values as well.

Create opportunity for dialogue

If you make it all about you, then no one is going to want to have anything to do with you. But if you make it all about them, then they are more likely to feel like you care. Keep your marketing feeling like a two-way dialogue – and specifically, keep your social media social.

You don’t have to have fancy software to implement an audience listening program that will allow you to better understand your audience so you can adjust your marketing strategy appropriately. You just need to show an interest in those that you are trying to connect with. It’s ok to start small and grow your reach as well! The stronger your connections with consumers, the more they’ll want to talk about you to their friends.

Solid audience relationships are integral to the success of your business. It takes a bit of an effort, but in the long run, focusing on relationship-building between your brand and your audience is worth it.

A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications Blog.