Are your customers loyal? It’s such a small question, but the answer has a big impact.
It comes as no surprise that consumer loyalty — whether it’s B2C or B2B — has changed dramatically in the last decade. According to Brand Keys’ 2015 Annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index ® (CLEI), consumer expectations have increased by 28 percent. However, brands have only managed to satisfy those expectations by 7 percent.
It’s easier than ever for customers to switch brands or suppliers with so many options in the marketplace. So what gets them to stay? Customer satisfaction alone isn’t a reason to return. You need to give customers a reason to come back. It’s the additional customer experience — attention and recognition — that can generate more engagement and build loyalty.
Every interaction your brand has with a customer is vital to building and maintaining a strong customer relationship, and social media is an ideal platform to leverage for engaging with customers.
How can you build customer loyalty into your social media strategy? Here are four ideas.
Just as you don’t want to be a commodity in a consumer’s eyes, your customers don’t enjoy feeling like just a number (or worse, like just money) in yours. To build loyal customers, recognize them and show them that you appreciate them.
An easy way to do this using social media is to reach out proactively to customers on a regular basis. Make the message personal — no mass messaging here. Send them a thank you note over social media after a recent order. You can even offer a small incentive, such as a discount on their next order. And instead of running contests on social media that are only designed to collect new followers, think about how you can use social media to reward your current fans.
Listen to Your Customers
On social media, people just want to be heard. And while there is a lot of noise out there, one way your business can stand out in an exceptional way is to cut through the clutter and listen to your customers.
Part of your daily social media management routine should be monitoring what your customers are saying. Whether you like it or not, people are talking about you — and not necessarily to you. So in addition to following your customers and listening directly to what they are saying, it’s also important to monitor your company’s name to catch comments or questions you may otherwise miss.
Whether it’s a question, kudos, or a complaint, promptly respond and take action.
Gather Opinions & Integrate Feedback
Take listening to customers one step further by viewing social media as an open-source focus group tool. In-person focus groups take time and expertise. Plus, they’re expensive. In some cases, you can use social media as a more efficient tool to achieve the same end goal — understanding what your customers want and what they think about your company.
Reach out on social media with questions about your products or services. One of the easiest ways of soliciting feedback is through a quick poll. When you use social media to gather feedback, it increases engagement and deepens customer loyalty by showing you care about their opinions. Just make sure to use what you learn from your audience.
Share Your Values
64 percent of consumers say shared values are the primary reason they have a strong relationship with a brand. Use social media to share posts that represent your organization’s core values.
If your company has a strong point of view on a particular issue, share it. Don’t feel limited by your niche either. Sharing your values helps your customers better understand and relate to your organization, and it increases their loyalty to you.
Social media can be a powerful tool in developing positive, long-term relationships with your customers. Show your appreciation for them and, most importantly, listen to them. Doing so across all of your communication channels is a smart loyalty strategy.
Social media, direct mail, email, video — they all must work together for a strong business communication strategy. Get all our tips for effective cross-channel communications by subscribing to our monthly Badger Blast eNewsletter.