Building Brand Affinity on Social Media

Building Brand Affinity on Social Media

Building Brand Affinity on Social Media
As marketers, we know that branding can make or break a business. What makes a Nike shoe different from a cheap shoe with an inverted swoosh is the immeasurable value that comes with the original. Great brands have lasting impacts on their customers—sometimes, the love and loyalty even permeate through generations—like McDonald’s. But what makes us fall and stay in love with a brand? We invited Christina Garnett, community and advocacy expert at Hubspot, to talk about brand loyalty. Here’s a summary of our chat.
Guest: Christina Garnett
Topic: Building brand affinity on social media
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.
Q1: What is brand affinity?
Brand affinity is when someone consistently chooses a specific brand over the other. When a brand becomes the go-to for a person, that’s when that brand has achieved affinity. There are many reasons for someone to prefer a particular brand—the consistent quality of the product, customer service, proximity, shared values, etc.
A1: Brand affinity is a strong preference and connection between consumers and a brand. It can be due to customer service, shared values, superior product, or something else.
When consumers need something, that brand is their go-to. #TwitterSmarter
— Ron Oltmanns (@ronoltmanns) July 28, 2022
Q2: Why should brands invest in building affinity?
It’s important because brand affinity is organic. That’s why, if and when you run into a rough patch, your loyal fans will have your back. They’ll promote you through positive reviews and word of mouth, support you, and help you get back on your feet. You can’t buy that kind of loyalty—that’s why brands should invest time and resources to build that affinity.
A2: Brand affinity/love can't be bought and it can help you weather hard times.
Your brand fans will be your positive word of mouth, will amplify your messaging, and will help you foster trust with others.
Your biggest fans grease the flywheel. #TwitterSmarter
— Christina Garnett (@ThatChristinaG) July 28, 2022
As Christine pointed out, when you have brand affinity, your customers will actively refer you to their friends and family. They’ll be your cheerleaders during the good times and the bad. That’ll only happen when you have fans who care about you, know, like, and trust you.
"All things being equal people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust."
— Christine Gritmon ❤️ (@cgritmon) July 28, 2022
Q3: What should brands do to develop customer loyalty and brand affinity?
Prioritize customer experience. That includes happy customers as well. Often, we talk about acknowledging customers who leave negative comments or reviews, but we don’t talk enough about the ones who shower praises. As a brand, you should take care of both types of customers. It only takes a simple acknowledgment and ‘thank you’ to show a loyal customer that you value their business.
A3: Focus on CX and how you treat customers when they're happy or mad. Many brands only focus on angry customers and ignore happy ones.
Put out the fires but also water the flowers. Show that you see and appreciate them.
It takes seconds to make someone's day. #TwitterSmarter
— Janet Machuka (@janetmachuka_) July 28, 2022
Q4: What are some ways brands can build relationships with customers on Twitter?
Show up to support and help them—not to push a sales pitch. Be genuine in your conversations and people will notice. Show empathy when you’re speaking to an angry customer and gratitude when you’re receiving compliments from a satisfied customer.
A4: Do social listening to understand consumers. What are their pain points/needs? Join conversations from a place of help, not sales.
When someone is angry, lead with empathy.
When someone is happy, lead with gratitude.
People can tell when you care. #TwitterSmarter
— Christina Garnett (@ThatChristinaG) July 28, 2022
A great way to be there for your audience is to actually be there, as Madalyn said. Participate in Twitter chats and Spaces conversations. Listen to you what your audience has to say and share your own knowledge. This engagement helps you understand them, and also gives them an opportunity to learn about you.
A4: If you want to build relationships with your customers on Twitter, participate in Twitter chats and/or Twitter Spaces. Both are great ways to have conversations so you can get to know them and just as important, they get to know you. #TwitterSmarter
— Madalyn Sklar  Digital Marketing since 1996 (@MadalynSklar) July 28, 2022
Q5: How can you turn an uninterested audience into an engaged community?
Focus on providing value and building connections. Build a brand voice that can make announcement-style posts (one-to-many) but also have individual conversations with people (one-to-one). This is an important characteristic for a brand, because it makes you both friendly and personable while also establishing your authority.
A5: Focus on value and connection. Build a voice that can speak 1:1 and 1:many and share content that encourages your audience to add their voice.
Be a bridge to help connect with other people and give them the invite to engage like with my pinned tweet. #TwitterSmarter
— Christina Garnett (@ThatChristinaG) July 28, 2022
As our friends from GiveWP reiterated, engage actively with your audience. Even if you can’t reply to each person who engages with you, like and retweet their posts to show that you’re listening and that you care about your communication with them. It won’t happen overnight, but over time, your audience will become your community.
A5) Don't post and ghost! Interact with replies, RTs and QTs, create meaningful/impactful/resourceful knowledge. Interact on your TL. Use social listening. #TwitterSmarter
— GiveWP ???? (@GiveWP) July 28, 2022
Q6: How can you regain brand affinity after a reputation damage?
Though what you do to mitigate the impacts will depend on the scale of the damage, there are some things you can always do. Firstly, communicate with your audience transparently. Acknowledge what went wrong, and explain to them, in simple language, what you’re doing to prevent the incident from happening again. Listen to how your audience feels about the incident and find ways to rectify the problem.
A6: You have to actively listen and address why the damage occurred in the first place. Rebrands aren't enough.
Be transparent, admit what happened, and share how you are actively working to rebuild that trust. #TwitterSmarter
— Christina Garnett (@ThatChristinaG) July 28, 2022
As our friends from Social Media Pulse added, after a damaging incident, don’t assume you know what your audience wants. Their perspective of your brand would’ve changed—talk to them and ask for feedback. Ask what you can do to regain their trust.
That's another reason it's smart to develop brand affinity: you'll be given a lot more grace to begin with!
Be honest and open. Communicate. And find out what your audience needs from you in order to trust you again—don't just assume you know.
— Social Media Pulse (@SMP_Community) July 28, 2022
Q7: Should a brand change its values to appeal to all types of audiences?
It depends. If your values are outdated and derogatory—although considered acceptable in a different time and space—then it’s entirely valid to reframe your value statement. It’s even worth rethinking what the brand stands for and who it serves. That said, as our guest pointed out if you intend to change your values for short-term benefits like poaching a competitor’s customers or preventing a drop in revenue, doing so is not ideal for your brand’s growth.
A7: It depends (I know hahaha) on why you are changing. Are you changing to chase competition, save revenue, or because they are antiquated and rooted in discrimination?
Good core values shouldn't need to be changed but reframed. #TwitterSmarter
— Christina Garnett (@ThatChristinaG) July 28, 2022
As Jim succinctly put it, if you try to please everybody, you won’t please anybody.
A7. No, a brand must stay true to it's core or in trying to please everyone, will please nobody. #TwitterSmarter
— Jim Fuhs #DealcastersLive #AgencySummit (@FuhsionMktg) July 28, 2022
Q8: Name some brands that have successfully built brand affinity.
Our guest voted for Chewy, Apple, and HubSpot for their long-lasting brand affinity.
— Christina Garnett (@ThatChristinaG) July 28, 2022
Other favorites that our community members shared included, Lush, Elf, Coca-Cola, Amazon, Gary Vaynerchuk, The Chicago Dogs, The Lincoln Project, and many more. Go on and check them out!
Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading through and for more great insights from our chat with Christina have a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together for us. If you like this summary, you’ll love the real-time chat. Join us next Thursday at 1 pm ET for #TwitterSmarter. We also have an after-chat on Twitter Spaces at 5 pm ET. See you there!
About me, Narmadhaa:
I write all the things—marketing stuff to pay the bills; haiku and short stories so I feel wholesome. A social media enthusiast, I hang out with the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and am always happy to take on writing gigs.
Say hello: The Opinionated Copywriter | LinkedIn | Twitter
Hey, it's madalyn!
I help busy entrepreneurs transform their social media marketing so they can reap the rewards of a strong community and higher engagement.
I'd love to chat with you. Let's schedule a session.

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