You should be building a relationship, trust and loyalty with your social media followers.
- Social media is a resource that businesses can use to connect with current customers and retain brand loyalty.
- Customer retention strategies are vital to a business thriving. Great products and low prices may not increase loyalty alone.
- Become a trusted source on social media to keep customers engaged. Also, promote exclusive offers like loyalty programs.
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.
Importance of a customer retention strategy
A customer retention strategy is important because it helps you reach your long-term goals. With customer retention figures surging, there will be added value to your business. Also, customer retention means guaranteed future business. Loyalty customers can continue to patron your business again and again while you continue to attract new clients. According to American Express, there's more to customer retention than great products and competitive prices. You must have loyalty programs that keep customers coming back for more.
We talked to social media experts and here's how to use social media for customer retention.
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."
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.]
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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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.
Loyalty programs are rewards for clients who choose your business over your competitors. Give an incentive that entices customers to choose your company over another. For instance, a restaurant could give a customer a free meal after five punch card stamps. Another idea is to give a free product or discount to those who refer a new client to your business.
Loyalty programs are simple to plan and very marketable on social media. Not only will the program help with customer retention, but it can also attract new clients who want to take advantage of the exclusive offers.