Taking the time to build loyalty with your customers is one of the best long-term investments you can make for your business. From creating brand advocates to establishing relationships that can help your business increase its brand recognition, the value of creating a passionate customer base is huge. According to a report by Texas Tech University, brands who have an established social media presence receive higher levels of allegiance from their customers. Social media creates the perfect environment for brands to communicate with their consumers and form a bond that can hopefully result in brand loyalty. Having a social media presence will build brand loyalty from many demographics. The millennial consumer generation is a demographic of digital natives who are considered the most brand loyal generation. As the largest generation in US history - born between the early 1980's and the early 2000's - they will soon completely consume the market. Studies show that the millennial consumers are 80% more likely to use a brand again if they are pleased with their first purchase. This group is populated with social media experts who require a flow of communication through themselves and the brands they use. Therefore businesses hoping to make an impression must implement social media marketing strategies in order to catch the eye of the most influential consumer. To get a better idea of just how beneficial an established social media presence can be, here are 5 simple steps you can implement to create value and encourage brand loyalty among users on these platforms.
1. Have an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy
When trying to create brand loyalty, your business should ask itself: "Why should a user follow me in the first place?" While it might be tempting, don't just use social media to directly sell and assertively promote - instead, provide value for your followers. Your social media should be an outlet that makes your company accessible to customers on a level that your website alone cannot provide. There are many ways to engage and inform followers about your company's products or services without pushing them to make purchases. Not many like to shop at stores whose sales clerks are constantly hounding them about their merchandise. The same consideration should be applied online. No one will want to follow or engage with your company if all of your social media activity clogs up their newsfeeds with sales, sales, sales. Social media doesn't contribute directly to your company's ecommerce. However, it is a social platform that allows businesses to connect directly with their consumers. Instead of pushing sales, devise a social media marketing strategy that provides your viewers with informative content. Try posting the story behind your business in your "About Us" page. Consumers are much more likely to remember your brand if you establish your social media presence by informing them of your backstory. You could also post genuine and informative blogs about your products or services to become a thought leader in your field. By putting the spotlight on one of your workers on a monthly basis, consumers will no longer feel like they're purchasing from a huge corporation, but instead, real people. Interacting with your customers on a more personal level will surely:
- Increase your Conversion Rates
- Improve Sales
- Create Better Search Engine Ranking for your Business
- Improve Customer Experience and Insights
Social media is also the perfect outlet to share tips and tricks on subjects that are relevant to your fan base and their needs. For example: if your business sells local organic meats, share cooking tips with your followers, or suggest sides that compliment your specialty product. By taking these steps, people will begin to consider you as a forerunner in your industry. Your viewers will gain a sense of appreciation for your business and will stay tuned in to hear what you have to say next. At the same time, this will also make them more likely to want to buy from your business and recommend it to their friends and family.
2. Create a Brand Community on Social Media
People prefer a humanized and accessible brand. Social media accounts let viewers feel a connection to the personality that shines through on what is otherwise a faceless corporation. A great way to add a human element to a brand is to team up with like-minded businesses on social media to give back to the industry or local community where your business is based. For example, an organic meat shop could team up with a local bakery for promotions and build a community around their virtual partnership. Launching a social media campaign where people tag pictures of dinners made using your meats and your partner's baked goods could really make consumers feel more engaged with your companies. Having that level of interaction and a sense of belonging builds trustworthiness between brand and users and will pay long-term dividends both for the clout of your social media accounts and your company's bottom line.
3. Use Social Media to Develop Public Relations
Social media is the perfect outlet to get your business involved and demonstrate that it is an active member of its own community. By using hashtags, speaking about current events, and offering your brand's support on issues is an effective method to receive more recognition for in the world of social media. Whenever there is a current event, there is always a buzz and discussion about it on social media that many users take part in. Use this to your advantage by posting about the issue using the corresponding hashtag and commenting on related posts. Social media can be used as a public relations platform for your business and help you reach more users, even when the topic of conversation is not specifically about your company. For example, when Etsy tweeted a message about Net Neutrality, thanking President Obama and linking to whitehouse.gov, they effectively engaged with a topic that is relevant to their online business and demonstrated their opinion on a current event.
Another method of engaging with your users is by asking for feedback about what your customers like and how your products or services can be improved. By listening to your customer's opinions and suggestions and responding in a timely and genuine manner, you'll grow trust simply by being a responsive business. Having transparency in your company shows users that they can rely on you to be honest and that their loyalty towards your business will not be misplaced. You can achieve this by minimizing your customers' problems and concerns through open and active communication.
4. Reward your Loyal Social Media Followers
Take notice of the customers who consistently promote your brand through social media and get creative with it. There is an infinite number of ways to do this. Think back to that make-believe organic meat shop. What if they could feature a customer's dinner on the company's social profile? Or what if they chose a loyal customer to write a guest post? These types of strategies allow customers to feel like they're important to your business and it will give them another reason to remain loyal to it. For example, start-up designer Pamela Cooper promotes her business on Facebook to engage her customers with her products. By running a contest on social media centered on your brand, your loyal customers will partake by sharing your content. Social media can provide you with cost efficient advertising and help you obtain more customers.
5. Customer Service Reigns Supreme on Social Media
When it comes to customer service on social media, answer any questions or complaints customers might pose directly instead of covering them up or avoiding them. Be honest, and don't over promise and under deliver. Use tools like Raven to track your social media tags and mentions to sort your positive and negative feedback to really gauge how your company is doing. Be the "Apple" of their eye when it comes to customer service - literally. Apple Inc. is one of the top companies when it comes to customer service and consumers feel loyal to their products because of it. It shows too - just think of all the people who exclusively use Apple devices. Simonlycontracts.co.uk polled 2,275 iPhone owners and found a staggering 59% admitted "blind loyalty" to their cellular device. The definition was users who stated they would not even consider researching other cellular devices when upgrading in the future. When asked why, 78% said they couldn't imagine having a different type of phone while 52% said they were just really impressed with their iPhone. The reality is that 80% of companies think they deliver excellent customer service, however, only 8% of those companies' customers felt the same. What does this mean to you? Take the extra step to go above and beyond and achieve the best customer service possible, because it really pays off when building loyalty.
Achieve Successful Brand Loyalty
By taking the time to build brand loyalty, a business can significantly increase the ROI of each customer they have by giving more reasons for them to keep coming back in the future. Similar to how a well-designed and informative website or sale on a product gives customers a reason to buy, a social media presence that is interactive and effective will lead to brand loyalty among existing and prospective customers.