Social media is more than a tool for attracting new customers. It can be used to retain customers. Here's how.
Social media is so much more than just a platform to attract new customers and push new products. It can be and should be used to retain customers. When customers follow you on social media, part of your strategy should be building a relationship, trust and loyalty with your following.
We talked to social media experts and here's how to use social media for customer retention.
1. Build a relationship with your followers.
The key to customer retention is building a relationship with your customers. If your customers trust you and like your brand, they're more likely to stay.
Building a relationship with your followers is an ongoing process and needs care and attention, said Rachael Samuels, social media manager at Sprout Social. "This starts with creating authentic, genuine content that adds value for the audience."
To build relationships, you need to create content that is valuable to your audience and not be over promotional. Customers like to connect with brands they like, so be friendly and relatable.
"It's important to remember that relationships are a two-way street," said Taylor Fulton, senior manager, marketing services at Allen Press. "Brands should both listen and communicate with its audience to build meaningful engagements. This means talking with people, not just talking at them."
2. Be engaging and connect to customers.
People come to social media to be social. If you aren't engaging and being social online, your posts will be lost in the endless stream of new content. One way to engage on social media is to respond to your followers and use social media as a customer service tool.
Samuels said most people connect with brands to ask a question, share a complaint or praise them.
"This type of engagement is a prime opportunity to make a meaningful impact on a customer's experience and begin the build the trust that is needed to keep customers coming back time and time again," said Samuels.
However, Samuels noted that customer retention is more than just customer care. It's also about being relevant and useful, anticipating needs and delivering on brand promises.
Another way to engage and connect with your followers is by asking customers to promote your product and services online. Once they share a post, engage with it by sharing it, liking it or even saying thanks in the comments.
"Simple things such as liking a post that you were tagged in on Instagram, can help build relationships. Customers always want to feel appreciated and this simple gesture does not take much effort, yet it is so effective," said Philtrina Farquharson, account executive at KMR Communications. [Interested in social media management and monitoring tools? Check out our best picks.]
3. Listen to your customers.
You should be using social media listening tools to understand what your customers want, then you can align your posts and products with your customer's preferences.
"When marketers can tap into social data around content performance and where their brand fits within broader conversations, customers will feel their brand experience is more tailored to their needs and give them more reasons to continue engaging even after the purchase," Samuels said.
Fulton agreed, and said analytic tools can be used to get data on your followers' interests, location, average income and even phone carrier.
"Social listening and creating content that resonates with a target audience is important to build trust, loyalty and provide products and services that customers want to buy," he said.
You can also use social media to ask your follower's opinions by posting polls or questions. Listen to what your audience says, and implement their opinions to your brand. Once you do this, promote it on social media to make sure they see you're taking their feedback seriously.
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4. Make your social media pages valuable.
Post coupons or sales only on your social media pages to keep your customers coming back to your social media accounts and your brand in general.
"Brands can also use social media to share specific offers, announce company news and even share exclusive resources, information or tips about new or different ways to use their product or service," said Rachel Blanks, social media manager at ARPR.
Sharing this type of content can make social media a helpful resource for your customer, making you an account worth following, she said.