Too many businesses perceive social media as existing only for marketing purposes. Don’t get me wrong, social media sites provide some fantastic opportunities in terms of marketing. However, focusing your social media strategy entirely on marketing can end up hindering your success. As a matter of fact, social media sites are some of the best venues for increasing customer loyalty.
Why Bother with Social Media?
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: times have changed. Your customers who are active on social media have high expectations. However, if you meet these expectations, you’ll be summarily rewarded.
Customer loyalty is established and reestablished with each interaction — or touch point — a brand makes with customers. If you fail to sustain these interactions, you’re disregarding a vital component in building and maintaining strong customer relationships.
You see, loyal customers don’t simply spend more and make more frequent purchases — they also do so without even considering alternatives or competitors. If you want to keep your customers loyal, you have to make sure each interaction they have with you reinforces the satisfaction they’ve had in previous interactions.
Social media is the perfect setting for conversations between brands and customers. Since loyalty has as much to do with engagement as it does with having a high opinion of a brand, companies who support and assist their customers on social media end up boosting loyalty.
What’s more, by bolstering customer loyalty, a strong social media presence also drives recommendations — which of course, leads to more business. That’s why it’s imperative that your company has a social media strategy in place to meet customer expectations. Otherwise, you won’t continue to provide them with the positive experiences they need to deepen their loyalty to your brand.
3 Simple Ways to Boost Customer Loyalty Using Social Media
1. Build a Real Relationship
If you want fans who like and share your posts on social media, you’re going to have to get out there and like and share their posts too. The key to loyal customers is making the relationship mutually beneficial — give and take. You’ll be surprised just how much it means to your followers when you take the time to like their photos, retweet or share their content, or simply give them a quick shout out. If you build this type of relationship, your customers are far more likely to share your content. It’s the perfect way to build customer loyalty and exposure at the same time.
If you’re feeling especially generous, you can give a small reward to your loyal customers. Thank-you cards, exclusive deals or discounts, and small gifts of product are easy ways to thank your customers their repeat business — not to mention offer an incentive for them to keep interacting with your brand on social media..
2. Have a Conversation
The Internet generation moves at a rapid pace. These ever-connected customers expect immediate answers. You have to be in constant communication to keep your loyal customers, well…loyal. Despite this, seven out of eight messages to brands on social media go unanswered within 72 hours. Believe me, three days is plenty of time for your customer to find someone who does have an answer — and it’s usually your competitor.
As a company, you have to participate on social media to engage with potential customers and build a solid community of your brand loyalists ,
Social media is the best tool for encouraging and engaging in conversations with your customers. Just as you would face-to-face, you want to show your appreciation and demonstrate that you value their opinions and feedback. Let your customers know they’re being heard and respond quickly! When you meet these needs, loyal customers will stay that way and potentials will move toward your brand.
3. Offer Support When It’s Needed
Receive a negative post about your brand is never fun, but if you handle it correctly, you can turn lemons into lemonade. When customers come to you on social media, they’re looking for you to be their problem solver — and they expect a response quickly. A recent Social Habit report found 42% of social media customers expect a direct response within an hour, while 32% of expect one within 30 minutes. That means you have to keep your fingers on the pulse at all times.
It’s also important to remember that both current and potential customers are paying attention to how you respond and deal with any concerns that arise. By showing that you’re paying attention and working to promptly resolve issues, you can instill a high level of confidence in your customer service and create loyal customers who trust your brand.
Social media gives customers the opportunity to interact with your brand in ways they never could before. If you take the time to respond appropriately, build relationships, and support your customers, you can increase exposure and set the stage for higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. And according to research by Market Force, high satisfaction rates result in two to twelve times higher recommendation ratings — proof that loyal customers often act as brand ambassadors, actively promoting your company and providing priceless exposure.
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