Every business wants to not only gain customers but find ways to retain them and social media provides the perfect avenue to do so. Using the right strategies on social media can effectively increase loyalty throughout the customer relationship.
It goes beyond mere “marketing” and considers every aspect of customer experience. It costs more to gain new customers than to retain existing ones and branding on social networks provides a way to take customer relationships to a whole new level. Here are five strategies to improve customer retention.
1. Find out more about your customers
According to Teradata, only 41% of marketers look at customer engagement data when it comes to their marketing strategies. Many businesses neglect customers before and after a sale which negatively affects customer retention. Having a comprehensive understanding of your customers helps you to retain them.
Know your customer demographics
Social media provides the perfect way to find out more about your customers. To start with, you need to know demographics, such as ages, professions, income, gender, etc. This will give you some idea of what kind of content may interest them.
For example, if you find out that many of your followers are students, they may want to know how to find an essay writer to help them with assignments. If your audience consists largely of retired people, they will be more interested in the best cruises for seniors.
Find out about their interests and passions
However, demographic information is not enough for you to create content that reaches your audience on an emotional level. Social media can help you to find out so much more.
Take a look at what your customers are sharing, what products they like, the articles they find interesting, and what they feel about certain issues. Even customer biographies on social media reveal their interests and passions and give you plenty of insight into what types of content they would appreciate.
For instance, if you saw that many of your Twitter followers were starting to share Pinterest posts, developing a training course about Pinterest would probably be a good idea.
2. Provide customers with value
Post relevant and inspiring posts to keep people coming back for more. No-one follows inactive accounts. It is not necessary to be on every single platform out there.
Choose the right platforms
Choose platforms most frequented by your customers and post content that resonates with them several times a week. It’s best not to post too often and always have a goal in mind or your followers may become bored with your content.
Provide platform-exclusive content and promotions
The psychology of users on Facebook and what they want to see is different from that of users on Twitter and it helps if you provide platform-exclusive content and promotions to your followers.
Educate your customers
You can also use your social media platforms to educate your customers about your products or services and reduce any confusion or frustration, pre-empting negative comments. Product guides and tutorials can be very helpful, especially for a customer who has just purchased a product.
Run exclusive offers
A great way to retain customers is to run offers exclusively for your social media followers. Running flash sales from time to time is another way to keep them hooked. This rewards your loyal customers and keeps them coming back for more.
3. Engage with your customers to build relationships
As well as creating posts, you will need to respond to your customers. If you don’t interact with them and aren’t being social, your posts will just be lost in the endless stream of content.
Simple gestures can be meaningful
Thank new followers, like or retweet any mentions of your brand and follow specific hashtags and respond to those using them. A simple action such as liking a post you were tagged on in Instagram can help to build a relationship. Customers want to feel appreciated, and a simple gesture hardly takes any effort and yet it can be very effective.
Have conversations in real-time
Most customers connect with brands to ask a question, offer praise or share a complaint. This provides a great opportunity to interact meaningfully with them and start building the trust required to enhance a relationship.
Pay attention to how your followers engage on each platform and use a tone they can relate to while still reflecting your brand voice.
You don’t need thousands of followers – just good connections
It isn’t essential to have thousands of followers to increase your brand recognition – your prime objective should be to create a better connection with your customers. Encouraging real-time conversations with followers on Twitter can help to do this. Posting giveaways can also encourage customer involvement with your brand.
True engagement can lead to user-generated content
Word-of-mouth marketing is always influential and in the social media world, this translates into testimonials and user-generated content. It does not get any better than having happy customers becoming willing brand advocates.
If you engage with them and build their trust, the type of relationship you create with them can lead to the type of authentic, user-generated content that provides social proof for your brand.
4. Listen to customers and address concerns
Customer service plays a huge role in retaining customers and social media is where people will voice their opinions about your service for anyone to see. If you deliver less than satisfactory customer service, there is no reason for customers to stay with you because, in today’s competitive world, no-one has to settle for this.
Listen to what people have to say
Google Alerts, Topsy and Hootsuite, are social media listening tools that will notify you of any mentions about your brand. You can also find out the opinions of your followers by posting polls or asking questions.
Always address complaints and take action
You need to address any complaints speedily and even be pro-active. For example, you can post common complaints and address them to help customers see you in a better light. Your customer retention rates will increase when they can see that you listen to what they have to say and respond to them.
For example, if you own a restaurant and find that your customers are complaining about social media about their food being cold when it’s brought to the table, you can address the situation. Make sure that you tell your customers that you have heard what they have to say and have put measures in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Immediately respond to negative reviews
When customers leave reviews, they are usually emotional – whether they’re angry or happy with your products or services. Responding to negative reviews without being defensive will show that you are open and willing to resolve any issues.
A negative review handled in the right way can transform an angry customer into someone who supports your brand, but if you ignore it or respond defensively, the results could be devastating to your business.
5. Collaborate with influencers
Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere. As a brand, it will help you to work with an influencer who has clout with your audience.
Find an influencer who will resonate with your audience
Rather than seeing how many followers an influencer has, it is more relevant to look at the type of content an influencer posts and what kind of engagement it creates. If you’re a small business, going for a top influencer with thousands of followers is probably not within your budget.
Today it is possible to work with micro-influencers or those with followers in the range of about 2,000 and upwards. This can be very effective if they’re focused on your niche market.
By having an influencer endorse your products or services, you benefit from the exposure to those who follow them.
When your social branding is done correctly, it gives your customers a reason to trust you and enhances the rest of your sales process. By knowing your customers as well as you know your friends, you can make recommendations to them that make them happy and bring you more revenue.
Using effective strategies on social media helps you to cement your relationship with these customers. These strategies include providing them with valuable information, engaging with them authentically and consistently as well as providing them with great customer service once they’ve purchased your products or services.