Over the years, traditional advertising has grown to be less effective, it has also been hard to attract and keep loyal customers.
There has been rapid development of various forms of interactive media, especially social media platforms. Not only have audiences become more fickle, but they have also developed shorter attention spans. More so, loyalty programs have lost their appeal as well.
Brands who communicate with their target audience no longer have the upper hand, as the power is shifting to the ones who are spoken to.
Consumers get to choose what content they want to see, when they want to see it, and how they want to see it. This trend began to dictate how marketers and brands create their messages, strategy, and execution.
Using social media to boost customer loyalty
Why social media?
Social media was an obvious choice from the get go. Spending an ever-increasing amount of time locked away and trained on fluorescent screens, people yearn for connections and search for ways to interact and “socialize”. If they can do so without ever leaving their homes or even their desks, social media is the answer.
Brands, marketers, and advertisers have been slugging it out on social media for more than a few years now. Studies have been conducted to predict patterns between social media activity and buyer behavior.
The results were nothing that most seasoned marketing people didn’t know, but there was a significant twist. Most managers know that customers exhibit more brand loyalty to brands they naturally liked.
Traditionally, this meant brands should display the same values as they did. Then again, in the age of social media, consumers’ perception of brands has changed. Now, they develop an affinity for a certain brand by determining if it “listens” to them.
What is engagement?
Listening, in this case, is basically responsiveness. Social media allows people to interact with their favorite businesses and products, as if they have real, distinct personalities.
This relationship, if properly fostered, can result in customer loyalty. Ideally, creating satisfied customers who are more than likely to spread the good news about your brand. You may even consider giving incentives to employees who have managed to give such positive customer service.
So, how does one build on this relationship? By engaging. Invest in a competent social media team for your business—one that specializes in creating a pleasant customer experience, and you will be halfway there.
The next step is to develop a series of engaging, interesting, and relevant messages you want to send to your audience.
Content is truly king
One of the beauties of social media is that not all content has to be original. Sharing relevant content from non-competitive sources boosts your image almost as much as when you create your own.
If you’re a smaller company, this technique can be used to help gain credibility. But, as content is truly king, you can’t come up with a social media plan consisting solely of curated media. You don’t want to be dismissed as uninteresting at best, and a copycat at worst.
Creating a social media strategy with original content takes time and effort, but it is well worth the results.
You can also use your social media profiles to drive traffic to your website and company blog—helping your consumers get to know you better.
Building loyalty and relationships
After carefully formulating and scheduling your messages, comes the important part—engaging. This is the part that you will be most judged for, which ultimately builds customer loyalty.
The most crucial thing is to respond to inquiries, complaints, and comments in a timely manner. Some teams manage to reply within an hour while some companies may take days to get back to a customer. Guess which one is perceived to be more helpful? The former.
Each reply, even if it is a holding reply to buy time to find the right solution to a customer’s problem, should be written with tact and care. The tone should be friendly but professional, and should always reflect how important your customers are to you. When a customer feels that a brand genuinely cares, a positive experience is created.
The capability of social media to connect brands and consumers has its difficulties. But when it’s all told, it is a powerful tool for building relationships with people you might have never even had a chance to meet.
Social media also can provide valuable feedback and an avenue for action, unlike any other media channel. More than anything, it gives brands a chance of winning customer loyalty through interaction, no spend or sale necessary.