In the children’s story, Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, two children create their own magical kingdom in a forest. They can only reach it by swinging across a creek with a rope. During the story the little girl falls to her death as the rope breaks on her trip across the creek. In his grief, the boy builds a bridge across the creek and invites his younger sister, (who previously felt left out and wanted to go with them), into his imaginary magical kingdom.
Your brand is that magical kingdom, but in order for your followers to get there with you, they need a more secure crossing than a rope swing over a creek, along with all the risks it represents. You need to build a bridge that is inviting and on which they can easily cross over. Your magical kingdom, a.k.a. social media pages, needs to be a place they want to go to and spend time in.
The bridge that will narrow the gap between your brand and your followers is made up of the following components:
- Your personality
It’s hard to be social with a machine — in other words, your brand needs to come across as human and having a personality if you want to connect with your followers on your social media pages. You can do this by the images on your cover or profile spaces and in your content. You also accomplish this by your written content: style, voice, and topics. And you must engage with your followers by asking questions and responding to them.
- Telling your story
Telling the story of your brand let’s followers get to know who you are and what you’re about. You can include this in both your profile information and the content you post. It also means a continuous storytelling through your posts and status updates: talking about your customers, your products, vision and your future. It’s letting your followers get an inside look at your brand.
Honest. Open. Upfront. All these words describe what followers are looking for from brands. They want you to be who you say you are and to do what you say you’ll do. Be transparent and keep your promises. When you do that on a consistent basis you will receive the loyalty of your followers and customers.
- Anticipation of the experience
You want to build anticipation and excitement for what your followers can expect from you, whether it’s entertaining and engaging social pages or what your products and/or services can do for them. Contests, promos, discounts, and visual media can help build that anticipation of a good experience with your brand.
- Priority on relationship
As stated at the beginning of this post, being social and connecting is the purpose of social media. You have to make your followers your priority. Whatever you do on your social pages, be sure you are doing it with them in mind. They want a relationship with you. Of course, it won’t be the same as with their family and friends, but they do expect and want a relationship where they know they are valued and appreciated.
Are you building that bridge between your followers and your brand, or are you making them swing across the chasm on a rope swing?
Image credit: Bridge image by Teri Kojetin