LinkedIn’s New Reactions Will Help Your Social Strategy

It's not enough for people to “like” your brand just ask LinkedIn. The networking giant's new reaction options go beyond the “Like” button to allow an audience to exhibit a wider range of responses, from love to curiosity. For LinkedIn and all the brands that post on the platform, it's an opportunity to create stronger online connections and boost engagement. Users can express their feelings more accurately, and posters see a snapshot view of their emotional impact.

It's no secret that emotional engagement moves the needle, but fostering it has proven difficult. In fact, a report from Capgemini indicates that while 80 percent of executives think their brand understands the emotional needs of their audience, only 15 percent of consumers feel the same way.

There are bottom-line consequences for emotionally distant brands. The Capgemini report further notes that 70 percent of highly emotionally engaged consumers spend twice as much or more on brands they feel loyal to, compared to only 49 percent of the not-so-emotionally-engaged ones. Emotional engagement drives loyalty because it's how people build relationships. When interactions feel genuine, brands build trust with customers who want to learn more, spend more and share more about the brand.

It's possible for brands to bridge the relational gap, and one of the best tools available is media where consumers are already busy forming and solidifying relationships. To put the power of social to work creating emotionally engaged brand loyalists, try these three approaches.

1. Return to Psych 101.

Pushing your customers' happiness buttons isn't the only way to elicit a desired response from them. In fact, research from Outbrain suggests that negative words receive a click-through rate that's 63 percent higher than positive diction.

Offer a deal for a limited time, and capitalize on your customer's fear of missing an opportunity, for example. Demonstrate how your product can address an issue customers care about. “You're not just marketing to the person; you're appealing to an idea that, unlike ‘trendy' topics, will exist for the long haul,” said Mark Bradley, president of creative agency Bradley and Montgomery.

What individual or global problem does your brand solve? Is it teaching new skills or introducing a life hack? Spotlight the negative situation, and then illustrate your brand's role in resolving it. Quick video formats on Snapchat and Twitter are great for this. Alternatively, you can consider joining a Reddit thread to start dialogues with consumers interested in discussing certain issues.

2. Lift the curtain.

Today's consumers crave information about how their favorite products are made: the origins of raw materials, the sustainability of the supply chain and the ethical treatment of employees. Use social media to lift the curtain on your processes and let your audience in for a closer look. According to social media expert Hélène Heath, “Social channels, especially visual ones like Instagram, provide brands with the perfect platform to spread their ethos.”

Clothing brand Reformation illustrates how this can be done, using Instagram videos to introduce customers to its employees and reinforce its sustainability principles. By connecting its audience with a seamstress in its production line, for instance, Reformation becomes a more human brand that more people can relate to. With all the social media video formats at your disposal, it has never been easier to take your audience members on a behind-the-scenes tour of your brand.

3. Let your users do the trust building.

User-generated content (UGC) is attractive to many brands because it's as close as you can get to free. Provide an incentive for users to create content, whether you feature the best customer picture every week on your Snapchat channel or offer the chance to win a free product each time someone tags you on Facebook. While ending up with a pipeline of free content to share on social is great, building trust is what UGC is really all about.

Before customers make purchasing decisions, they want recommendations. In the past, they might have gone to friends and family, but a 2018 BrightLocal consumer survey found that for 91 percent of 1834-year-olds, online reviews the recommendations of complete strangers are just as trustworthy. UGC is akin to an online review or endorsement, and it helps your audience feel connected to a global community.

Airbnb, for example, regularly features captivating user stories on Instagram. The company posts guest spotlights from world travelers like the “senior nomads” and host spotlights like the “band born in an Airbnb.” Plus, it encourages an adventurous spirit by showcasing Airbnb Experiences, which include everything from surfing lessons to chainsaw-carving classes. How can you create unique experiences for your customers that allow you to share their stories?

The statistics don't lie emotionally engaged customers are vital to the success of a business. To drive true engagement, find avenues for emotionally connecting with your audience. When in doubt, opt for the connective power of social media

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