Build­ing cus­tomer loy­alty through so­cial media

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

When ‘so­cial media’ first emerged, it was largely viewed as a way to build brand ex­po­sure. There is no doubt that so­cial media sites of­fer tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity in terms of mar­ket­ing, but fo­cus­ing a so­cial media strat­egy solely on mar­ket­ing can be some­what lim­it­ing. So­cial media is ac­tu­ally far more pow­er­ful and it’s an ef­fec­tive way to build cus­tomer loy­alty as it cre­ates the per­fect en­vi­ron­ment for brands to com­mu­ni­cate di­rectly with their con­sumers, to in­ter­act, en­gage and form a bond that can re­sult in brand loy­alty.

Savvy mar­keters have long been well aware that tak­ing the time to build cus­tomer loy­alty is one of the best long-term in­vest­ments that they can make for their busi­ness. From cre­at­ing brand ad­vo­cates which can help in­crease so­cial reach, pro­tect online rep­u­ta­tion and boost sales through re­fer­rals – to es­tab­lish­ing re­la­tion­ships that can help a busi­ness in­crease its brand recog­ni­tion, the value of cre­at­ing a pas­sion­ate cus­tomer base is huge.

Ac­cord­ing to re­search car­ried out by gov­ern­men­tal sta­tis­tics ser­vices in Cyprus, 67% of the peo­ple who use the In­ter­net are con­nected to so­cial media net­works. Fur­ther re­search sug­gests that 70% visit so­cial net­works ev­ery day and spend more than 30 min­utes per visit. With this nearly-con­stant online en­gage­ment, op­por­tu­ni­ties to es­tab­lish brand loy­alty are vir­tu­ally end­less – but an ef­fec­tive so­cial media strat­egy is key.

As com­pa­nies de­sign their so­cial media pro­grammes, they need to care­fully con­sider how they can cre­ate a so­cial media ex­pe­ri­ence that is unique to their brand, of­fers cus­tomers value and ex­ploits the power of the so­cial com­mu­ni­ties.

Com­pa­nies should there­fore con­sider the fol­low­ing to lay the foun­da­tion for a suc­cess­ful so­cial media pro­gramme that will help them en­cour­age cus­tomer loy­alty among users on so­cial media.

Pro­vide

Fea­ture

stel­lar

your

cus­tomer

fans

in

your

ser­vice.

To­day’s so­cial con­sumer is much more em­pow­ered, and of­ten feels en­ti­tled. In fact, ac­cord­ing to Forbes, 50% of all Face­book users and 80% of Twit­ter users ad­dress an in­quiry to a com­pany via so­cial media and ex­pect cus­tomer sup­port in 24 hours or less. So­cial media is the per­fect out­let to build a sig­nif­i­cant cus­tomer ser­vice ex­pe­ri­ence due to its im­me­di­acy and cost ef­fi­ciency.

When an is­sue arises on so­cial media, ac­knowl­edge it and ad­dress it as quickly as pos­si­ble. Be hon­est, don’t over prom­ise and un­der de­liver. Use tools like Hoot­suite and So­cialBro to track your so­cial media tags and men­tions, sort your pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive feed­back and re­ally un­der­stand how your com­pany is do­ing. Take the ex­tra step to go above and be­yond and achieve the best cus­tomer ser­vice pos­si­ble be­cause it re­ally pays off. Pro­vid­ing sup­port builds up loyal brand ad­vo­cates ready to spread the pos­i­tive word about the brand, in­flu­ence other users through pos­i­tive re­views and in­crease brand aware­ness through shar­ing.

con­tent.

Self­ies aside, no one wants to see in­side pic­tures of your head­quar­ters…un­less you’re the CIA. So, if your so­cial media chan­nels are filled with pic­tures of em­ploy­ees at cu­bi­cles just know that’s like watch­ing paint dry. Em­bed so­cial media posts from fans that have shared your con­tent or said some­thing great about your brand to their fol­low­ers. Put them in the spotlight and let them know how much you ap­pre­ci­ate them. Once they see the rec­i­proc­ity, they’ll make your brand a pri­or­ity and be­come one of your most valu­able mar­ket­ing as­sets. No one does this bet­ter than Coca-Cola. From ask­ing cus­tomers to post pic­tures of their favourite Coke bot­tles to ask­ing them to up­date on the Face­book page their favourite Coke mo­ment, Coca-Cola is hands down the so­cial media cus­tomer loy­alty king.

En­cour­age

shar­ing.

Cus­tomers like to know that their opin­ions are val­ued. Let them know that you re­spect what they have to say by en­cour­ag­ing them to re­view your ser­vices and prod­ucts on your so­cial media ac­counts. Re­view cus­tomer feed­back regularly and in­te­grate it into your brand ac­tiv­i­ties. Do­ing so will strengthen en­gage­ment with the brand and will build valu­able re­la­tion­ships. Star­bucks ac­com­plished this with “My Star­bucks Idea” cam­paign, where fans can pro­vide ideas and rec­om­men­da­tions that can bet­ter their ex­pe­ri­ence.

Re­mem­ber, value comes not from the so­cial media plat­form it­self but from how a par­tic­u­lar plat­form it’s used. Take the time to fol­low these sim­ple steps and start build­ing online cus­tomer loy­alty to­day.

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