Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 ways you can use social media to build customer loyalty:

Here are five things you can do to build customer loyalty:

1.   Improve your product or service by listening and responding to negative sentiment or suggestions posted on all relevant social media channels. People who say negative things about you may have something valid to say. Why not listen to them, examine their issues, and fix them as soon as possible? A responsive firm fixes things. And most customers are aware that some things take time to fix too. As long as they know something is genuinely being done many people will accept the situation until then.

2.   Ask people to recommend or retweet or re post something from you. People talk about "who promotes you scores" as a key metric for understanding customer loyalty, but the percentage who are willing to take action to recommend or retweet should be an important figure too, as it’s not about stating your intentions, it’s about taking action. You may say you will “promote” a service, but not actually do it, for instance. I suggest actions speak louder than words. Watch such metrics and compare them to your other satisfaction metrics to see if they correlate.

3.   Offer updates & special offers to people who sign up to receive posts or Tweets. By making people feel part of a community in some way you will increase engagement and loyalty. Highly engaged customers become advocates too. A high percentage of them will recommend you to others. Your Facebook page can provide special offers and your Twitter & LinkedIn  posts can too. You can also make these offers and updates local by getting each of your branches or divisions to take part in this campaign so that customers build relationships with their nearest branch.

4.   You can track if customers achieve their objectives using your product or service using social media. You can do this buy asking them direct questions, via surveys/posts, and by monitoring any replies/posts they create on the subject. This is being proactively interested in how your customers use your service/product. You may only be able to do this with a select group of customers, but the lessons learned should be applicable to all similar customers. This is a critical issue to ensure customers place the maximum amount of business with you. And if you are afraid to ask the hard questions then your business will eventually have big problems.

5.   Communicate the benefits of your product or service, not just the technical features. This is an old adage salespeople use. Sell the sizzle not the steak. It’s true for social media too. Don’t focus on how to get button A to perform service B. Tell people how service B will benefit them. Then tell them how to get it to work. Focus on the practical benefits and the emotional benefits, how happy people will be, how safe they will feel, what pleasure your service will bring, and you will have built something truly appealing to people.

Loyalty is fast becoming a key metric for social media teams. How many retweets, posts, photographs and comments people contribute on a daily basis is one measure of loyalty. How that compares to your overall number of customers and followers is another.

But there are deeper measures of online loyalty too. How often are people coming back to each social media channel? And are people using many aspects of your social media? For instance, are they posting pictures to a Facebook wall?

Some highly loyal people contribute in a truly significant way to sites, such as editors at Wikipedia, and some major self-supporting software forums such as Minecraft's.

When you talk about customer loyalty you need to define what you mean too. What percentage of your client's business in your area do you need to call that client loyal? By considering online loyalty and the customer viewpoint, not simply internally derived metrics, you will come closer to the reality of how loyal your customers really are, both online and off.

And that’s one of the best things about social media. You can get feedback faster and in a more easy to manage way.
And you can decide, fast, what to do about it. No more waiting months for the results of a survey. 

I hope you enjoyed the post. What do you think helps build customer loyalty in an online world?

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