Being a leader means being proactive: managing your team members, deliberating over strategies, and planning a method of attack. Being a leading brand means — among other things — having a proactive marketing strategy: managing brand perception, deliberating the future image of the brand, and executing the marketing plans. The same way it’s unimaginable to have a leader that doesn’t take initiative, it’s also rare to find a quantifiably successful company without a marketing plan with proactive initiatives comprising it.
What are some proactive actions successful companies take? Here are some ideas:
1. Find your customers before they find you. “Build it and they will come” is a myth, and so is the idea that interested customers don’t need you to reach out to them. In fact, many customers don’t even know they want something until they see it, hence the successfulness and necessity of advertising. Instead, reach out to people on Facebook and Twitter. Follow them and favorite their tweets so you stick in their mind. Of course, you can’t do this with any people: the most important step in all this is to find the right people. Search for people who are already tweeting about and interested in what your company does. Hook, line, and sinker!
2. Take social media engagement a step further by improving your social currency. (No, not with a ring!) Social currency is a touchpoint between the brand and an individual consumer over social media. It involves a brand proactively taking action to engage with the customer: following them, retweeting them, favoriting a tweet, or adding the user to a list with a complimentary title. These actions act as a public compliment and leave an impression that lasts longer than simply soliciting a follow. For more on how successful companies use social currency, see the Fortune 500 Social Currency Index and the Inc 500 Social Currency Index.
3. Preemptively inform users of any disruptions in a service that would be a surprise otherwise. Retaining customers is also a huge goal, and customers who aren’t surprised are less likely to be angry. So make sure you have a system in place to properly and efficiently disseminate information, whether it be unexpected downtime of your server or an awesome new upgrade.
4. Don’t waste time on shallow customization. Instead, customize to individual customers’ interests. Customers see straight through gimmicks, like putting their full name in an email header. In fact, messages with those subject lines were four times as likely to be sent to the spam folder than non-personalized messages. To gain true brand loyalty, we have to dig deeper: customize each communication to what the customer has been known to like. This is the same as producing content to get the most relevant followers on Twitter, but on a micro level.
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