You’ve all read the stats, no doubt: it costs 500% more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones; on average, loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase; 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.
The question is, can social media marketing really play a part in building a loyal customer base?
Having a cursory presence on the platform certainly won’t do it. Nor will simply sharing content with no thought as to whether anybody’s going to engage with what you’re posting.
(This is an Oscar-worthy yawn from Neeson, I’m sure you’d agree.)
If you really want social media marketing to yield more loyal customers, you’ve got to be more proactive than that. And your followers must be able to recognise that you’re going ‘above and beyond’.
Social Media Examiner has offered some tips on how to move away from the ‘safe’ approach to social media marketing, to something altogether more dynamic:
1. Rein in the automation
As a social media marketing agency, we couldn’t do without the scheduling tools that make our life so much easier. But it’d foolish to rely heavily on these tools for sharing content, even if it’s very tempting to do so.
Why? Because your followers can probably decipher an automated post from a mile off. Those skilled social executives will be able to give followers the impression they’ve just penned a post, even if it was done last week.
Generally, though, in the name of being “more real”, you should try and post in the here and now, about things that are happening here and now.
2. Just go and say ‘hi’
Regardless of the social situation, it can be difficult to be the one who goes and says “hi”. Making the first move can seriously pay off, though, and it’s no different on Twitter.
Don’t just be led by your notifications – get involved in conversations, even if your brand isn’t namechecked. Social Media Examiner suggests replying to “at least one person before checking your own notifications”.
Ideally, you want to be chatting to customers, prospects, good referrers, companies you do business with – the people that matter to your business. Proactively starting conversations on social media proves that you’re not just in it to sell – you’re here to form relationships and brand loyalty.
3. Reply ‘in person’
No, we don’t mean tracking down your followers on Twitter, knocking on their front door and giving them your response to their question actually in person – we’ll save that advice for when teleporting becomes a part of the marketing equation…
For the time being we’ll have to make do with video as a means to deliver a response ‘in person’ – specifically, Twitter Video reply.
The feature allows you to record a video up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds in length and send that to people natively from within the Twitter mobile app. It’s ideal if you need a bit longer than 140 characters to respond to a follower’s question, while the extra effort which goes into making a video makes them feel like a valued customer
4. Think of your followers as friends
Your followers are not just a number. Each and every one of them is a unique being who deserves to be treated as such. So, don’t just view them as a collective – think of each and every one of them as your friend.
— UnifyNation (@Unify_Nation) October 2, 2016
For those friends that prove themselves to be loyal and trustworthy – i.e. they cherish your brand and tell all their peers about it – it’s healthy to show them your appreciation.
How about sending a few of them a present of some kind? Take inspiration from Starbucks sending people surprise coffees just because they’ve tweeted they’re in need of one, or Taylor Swift researching her fans across social networks and sending a select few Christmas presents.
You won’t be able to reward them all in this way, of course, but showing that you care enough to buy presents for even a few of your loyal customers can pay off from a marketing perspective.
5. Move conversation out of the public domain
Some of your followers – we’ll stick with ‘followers’ rather than ‘friends’, just so this piece doesn’t become too cutesy – won’t be comfortable with sending you a public tweet, preferring a more private conversation.
By opening up your profile to Direct Messages, you will make your brand more accessible to those customers who prefer to keep their interactions discreet, for whatever reason.
Sure, you’ll end up with a fair bit of spam in your Twitter inbox, but your customers will know that they have a direct route to conversation should they need to get in contact. This makes your brand appear more transparent, which breeds more loyal customers.
It doesn’t take a great deal to build more loyalty with your Twitter fans, but this subtle shift in mindset and approach can yield some fantastic results for your bottom line – as the statistics prove.