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Social media is currently the #1 ranked digital platform for building consumer brand loyalty. Are you tapping into this pool of potential, brand-loyal consumers? Building a strong social media strategy is foundational to growing your brand. It’s not just about having an account and posting on social media, it’s about using these tools to cultivate consumer loyalty. Here are three key ways you can use social media to build stronger loyalty with your customers:

1. Tell your brand’s authentic story

Authenticity is the new black and social media is made for this type of communication with your target audience. Social media has the potential to make customers feel like they know a brand better through authentic storytelling. Many brands are successfully using storytelling to inspire and connect with consumers on a deeper level than just showing what products are new or on sale. A great example of this is Square’s campaign using Vimeo to tell stories of small businesses. The brand itself was not the focus of the short films, rather giving deeper meaning to the mission behind Square is what made the campaign successful- all through impactful storytelling. Another example is Adobe, which tells their brand story by showing “creativity is everywhere and within everyone” and documenting stories of artists. It’s not just talking about the products or the latest circular, but telling the story about why these products matter. Social users want to feel a real, authentic connection to a brand and using these platforms has the power to do just that.

2. It’s all about engagement 

Part of why social media took off so quickly is because it was different from traditional media outlets. Social media is inherently more conversational and brands can actively engage with consumers in an open dialogue. Have a conversation with your audience- respond to comments, reshare content, and interact 1:1 in real-time to foster connection. 72% of millennials report being more loyal to a brand that responds to feedback on social media. Cultivating this online engagement can create a community, and thus, higher loyaltySouthwest Airlines knows how to foster this, actively responding in their friendly voice to customer comments on their social platforms. Having these genuine interactions with your customers and developing a sense of community will bring loyalty to your brand.

3. Use influencers to develop trust 

Influencing started in an organic way, so there is built-in trust for these voices online. Because of this, influencers are an increasingly important part of social media strategies. Don’t underestimate the potential of cultivating your reach and loyalty through influencers82% of consumers trust what an influencer says about a brand and its products. Take it from luggage company Away, who sent their suitcases to lifestyle influencers to get their name out there and have since grown rapidly through consumer trust. Dell runs another type of influencer strategy through technology-related content that helps their audience do their job better, which creates a trusting relationship. It’s all about using influencers to foster loyalty by showing what makes your brand stand out.

Social media is a unique platform that allows brands to directly connect with their customers and establish a long-term relationship that will develop loyalty. Brands must remember that social users expect authenticity and real conversations. Influencers can continue this by sharing your brand’s message with their audience to further grow loyalty to your company. The key to successful social strategies is matching the expectations of the users to your brand needs. Create the right match and you’ll have a powerful outcome: more loyal customers.