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It’s time to start treating your online community like people, not just numbers. Social media is more than just a lead generation and sales tactic – it can be a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with your community, which over time will help to gain the trust and loyalty you need to turn them into life-long customers. A great way to do this is to share your customer’s stories that relate to your business.

One way to share your customer’s story is by using testimonials. This is a win-win tactic for both you and your customer, because they get to be prominently featured on your wall or website and you get to promote all the good things they said about you and your business. Digital marketing thought leader, Neil Patel, recently wrote an article where he suggested using testimonials as a content marketing tactic, making the point that they are powerful and so easy to use because they are written for you! Testimonials also help to build trust with your community – if users see that other customers have had a positive experience with your business, they are more inclined to trust that they would have a positive experience as well.

There are other various ways to share your platform with your customer. You can share Facebook posts to your page’s wall, retweet customer comments on Twitter, or invite customers to pin to boards on Pinterest. Chances are, they will reciprocate and give you a retweet or shout out as well. This is a great way to reach their friends and followers, who are likely to have similar interests.

There are many big brands that do a fantastic job sharing their platform and small businesses can do the same! For example, you could do a “Fan of the Week” post on social media, highlighting one of your fans or customers. Dunkin Donuts does this by encouraging users to submit their photos of themselves with a Dunkin Donuts product and then have the chance to be highlighted in the cover photo on their Facebook page and on their electronic billboard in Times Square.

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Or, instead of a fan of the week, you could create a collage of photos of customers using your products for your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ cover photo. Walmart changes their Facebook cover photo seasonally and features customers using Walmart products.

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By encouraging fans to participate with your business and brand, it will help to increase their loyalty. Share your social media platform to build a better relationship with your fans and followers!

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