One of the biggest challenges businesses face today is maintaining customer loyalty after the sale. With 1 in 5 people using some form of social media, businesses have must set up accounts on these social media sites to reach them. In fact, more businesses have created a Facebook page (11 million) than have claimed their Google+ Local listing (8 million).
Plus, as 63 percent of consumers using social media choose local businesses with a social media presence, it is crucial that businesses take advantage of these platforms to stay engaged and connected with their customers and increase customer retention rates. Here are five easy ways to retain customer loyalty through social media engagement.
Ask for Customer Feedback: The first action to boost customer loyalty is to ask customers for their feedback about the products, services, and customer support. Whatever the company’s business offers, ask customers, “Do you like this?” This can be asked right after a transaction, but it is possible to elicit feedback indirectly. For example, post a positive review on a social media site or a picture of the waiters at the company’s restaurant with a statement like, “We think our staff is awesome. Don’t you?” or “‘Like’/RT this if you think our staff is great!” Some customers will agree with the statement, but some may post a comment about a negative experience with the company, so it’s best to be prepared if they do. But no matter what they say, the company will learn more about what it can do to change and grow the business as well as letting customers know that they have a voice about the business.
Run Social Media Contests: What better way to boost customer loyalty than to have a fun contest for social media fans and followers? If done consistently, this could potentially tenerate an increase in the company’s customer engagement on sites like Facebook. One easy Facebook contest to try is a photo caption contest, and this can be done with or without a giveaway option. The concept is to post a photo, with a tagline like: “Caption This Photo,” and audience will make up their own “headlines” to describe the photo. Use photos related to the business, like someone eating a delicious plate of food from the restaurant, or a cute animal visiting the company’s vet clinic—always with permission, of course. Whether or not there is a prize for the best headline, like a coupon or freebie, publicly recognize the winning customer, and if there’s a prize, share what they have won. Also ask customers to submit their own appropriate photos for the next round. This type of social game is sure to encourage more engagement and boost customer loyalty.
Post and Pin Engaging Content: Posting engaging content on Facebook and other social media sites is an essential way to stay connected to the company’s audience. For instance, the first thing customers will see when they visit the company’s Facebook timeline is either the newest piece of content posted or the content have pinned to the top. So, by pinning fresh content to the top of the landing page, like photos and videos, interesting stories, engaging questions, and useful tips, it is more likely to engage consumers right away. In fact, one Facebook study from Wildfire shows that images get more comments in a business’ timeline, and that pinned content generated 39 percent more likes and 32 percent more shares than unpinned content.
Respond in a Timely Manner: Now that the company’s efforts are engaging consumers on social media, it’s important to respond to questions, comments, and other feedback in a timely manner. In fact, one study shows that 25 percent of consumers on Twitter expect a response from business owners online, but in reality, only 9 percent receive a response. On Facebook, 35 percent of consumers expect a response after “Liking” a business, but 58 percent never hear a response from a company. With timely responsiveness, customers will surely know that the company cares about what they say.
Get Involved in the Community: Getting involved with the community not only helps build the company’s brand offline, but can also boost its online reputation from customers who see it has a vested interest in local charities or organizations. Connecting with existing customers and retaining their loyalty by supporting a cause that is important to your community, the company gains positive responses. Some of the suggested local sponsorships including aiding a Little League team, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or donating to a local charity. Use this opportunity to give back to the community and show that what company employees do also has an impact outside of the business. For instance, the company could run a campaign and announce you will donate one dollar per Like or retweet to raise awareness and funds for a local charity and/or support to help increase awareness for the organization as well as customer engagement on the company’s social sites. Don’t forget to post pictures related to the company’s efforts and involvement to boost loyalty with existing and potential customers.
What are you doing on social media sites to boost customer loyalty with your business? Let us know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Lindsay Paramore works for ReachLocal as a Web Presence Professional.