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The Power of Authenticity in Sustaining Customer Relationships

Julia Sernoffsky,

Creating Brand Loyalists

When you think of your favorite brand, what comes to mind? Is it the way they interact with their followers on social media? Are they true to their business values? What are the reasons you keep coming back to purchase from this specific brand? Whatever brand came to your mind, they’ve developed a strategy to build and maintain customer relationships. There are various strategies that you can apply to your brand through social media to start building customer relationships and brand loyalists. 

  • Brand authenticity 
  • User-generated content
  • Giveaways
  • Branded hashtags

Being True to Your Brand


Throughout the years, social media has become the main source of communication for brands to build customer relationships because it’s a direct line to their consumers. 72% of American millennials are more likely to be loyal to a brand that responds to feedback via social media. It plays a vital role in building this relationship because it generates authenticity. Delivering authentic content to customers is paramount in building customer relationships. The question still remains: How come businesses are having trouble conveying authenticity? 

In a time of transparency, authenticity is incredibly important. A brand that sets an incredible example of brand authenticity is Ben & Jerry’s. The brand is extremely vocal about their beliefs and values both on social media and their website. Their brand dedicates posts and a whole section on their website to bring attention to issues they care about.

The Trusted Sources: User Generated Content


We’ve all seen our favorite celebrities promote products on social media. But bridging the gap between promoted products and authenticity remains most important. Leveraging user-generated content is vital for successfully building strong customer relationships. It remains important because brands and companies earn customers’ trust by utilizing the power of interpersonal relationships as a marketing tool. This type of content creates loyal customers who are promoting your brand or company for free. In order to build long-lasting relationships with customers based on authenticity, businesses need to cultivate an open environment for discussion, interaction, and knowledge exchange between their customers.

Glossier has fully embraced a user-generated content strategy. Glossier’s social media is filled with people who are relatable and promote their products. From a consumer standpoint, it feels authentic and relatable; they actually enjoy and use the products that are gifted to them. The beauty industry is constantly growing with new brands emerging daily. Glossier remains a timeless brand while redefining the future of e-commerce.

Did Someone Say Giveaway?


If you’re not utilizing contests and giveaways as a brand, you could be missing out on a great opportunity. Giveaways have a high potential to reach different demographics and promote your business as a whole. 

Back in 2015, Starbucks launched its social media campaign across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter called #RedCupContest. It was simple—customers were asked to upload a photo of themselves holding the unique Starbucks red cup and use the hashtag #RedCupContest. There were five grand prizes of $500 for the top five pictures across social media channels. The success of this campaign encouraged Starbucks to continue its use of the famous red holiday coffee cup. Additionally, this specific giveaway caught the attention of A-list celebrities, talk show hosts, and the rest of the world as well. Over 40,000 consumers participated in the contest. There was a picture being shared on Instagram every 14 seconds in the first two days of the giveaway launch. Through genius marketing, user-generated content, and the implementation of a giveaway, Starbucks was able to make winter an iconic time for their business. 

We asked one of our very own Rebels to give us some insight on contests and giveaways. Brand & advertising specialist, Emily Griffin said, “I have found it crucial for brands to elevate trust amongst consumers by having an active social media presence and occasionally doing contests or giveaways to give back. Having everyday people endorsing a brand organically through user-generated content is important as younger generations especially rely on it to make informed purchasing decisions. Contests are a great way to engage others and motivate them to learn more about the brand in order to win a prize.”

Branded Hashtags


With social media growing at a rapid pace, hashtags have been a key component in helping users navigate to your brand. Creating branded hashtags can make your brand stand out among other competitors since it’s custom to your brand only. When used properly, it can cut through the noise on social networks like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. 

The benefits of implementing hashtags are endless. They can:

  • Connect your content to a specific topic or theme while simultaneously building a niche community. 
  • Make it easier for users to discover your content. 
  • Reach a larger audience. 
  • Help categorize posts. 

For example, consumers may caption their photo that includes Nike products with the hashtag #JustDoIt. This not only encourages customers to use the hashtag, but it’s also a great way to create a community in one place online, listen to what people are saying about your brand, and spread awareness throughout your network. Hashtags are vital in a business’s success because they help users find posts about specific content as well as reach more people who are interested in what your content specifically is. Therefore, a business should create hashtags that fit your specific industry by using common industry-related terms. Here at Rebel Interactive Group, we may incorporate the hashtag #FindYourRebel to build brand awareness and remain unique. 

In general, incorporating hashtags into your business or brand will ultimately help create a call to action and encourage users to interact with your brand which in turn, boosts your engagement and brand awareness. According to a study conducted by Simply Measured, 70% of most used hashtags on Instagram are branded hashtags created by businesses. 

Remembering the Primary Purpose

The social media landscape is always shifting, so we always need to sustain and enhance our relationships with present and future clients. Being authentic, and incorporating UGC, giveaways, and branded hashtags are crucial in maintaining customer relationships. Senior Brand Strategist Kyrie Mccormick stated, “While social media can help drive leads and generate new customers, I think people forget that its primary purpose is to build and maintain relationships. It’s an opportunity to build trust, authenticity, and engagement in a way you can’t through other marketing means. You should be taking advantage of the interactivity of the platforms and dedicate time to meaningful interactions. If you’re only using social media to get a new sale, you’re missing out on opportunities that could take you so much farther.” 
Paying attention to customer needs, developing deep customer relationships, consistent branding, and of course, razor-sharp digital strategies will help your business stay at the top of the food chain. Rebel is here to help your business stay on the cutting edge of digital marketing.