Social media has already proven to be a great tool for attracting new customers to your brand. But how about keeping them? As it turns out, social media is also effective for customer retention. Read on to learn how you can us the ongoing nature of social media to get customers to come back and stay.
Increasing your customer retention rate actually begins with the most basic of tasks: leading them back to where you are on social media. Here, you need to make yourself more prominent and easier to find.
— G&G Goodfellows Ltd (@GoodfellowsLtd) June 17, 2017
Once you decide to do some customer retention work it’s time to focus your efforts on the social media sites that really matter. Identify which platforms you get the most customer interactions from. For instance, your returning customers might prefer engaging you in conversations on Twitter more than on Facebook.
You also need to look at which social media sites send the most clicks which lead to conversions. The most popular tool for this is Google’s Adword Conversion tracking. Tools like Sprout Social and Zendesk also help keep track of conversations and clicks.
Once you have identified the platforms to focus on, your next task will be to update and optimize your social media profiles to suit these platforms better. Online marketing expert Jayson DeMers offers some useful tips on how to optimize your pages:
Note that each platform works differently, which is something to take into account during optimization. The Hudson Bay Company may be the longest operating company in all of North America, but even they understand the importance of filling out their Facebook profile completely:
What you saw there was a brand telling their whole story in an effort to build a relationship. Branding is important, but storytelling is still how people communicate with each other, and with brands.
Cross promotions also play an important role in retaining your customers. By effectively directing your customers from one social media profile to another, your brand can stay on the mind of your customers a lot longer.
One effective way for you to do cross promotions is to use one platform as a lead-in to your other accounts. If you are using Twitter as your main promotional channel, for instance, you can direct them to your Facebook posts for more information.
— Dahua Technology USA (@DahuaUSA) April 8, 2017
The lead in should feel organic for your customers to follow through. Remember that the goal isn’t to send them on a wild goose chase. Send them to your other social media to give them something there which they can’t get on the one they are using at the moment. Maybe you had a Periscope on your Twitter that you send them to from Facebook. Or maybe you have a great new YouTube video that your Instagram followers should see.
— ColourPop Cosmetics (@ColourPopCo) June 20, 2017
You also need to integrate your website into the cross-promotions. Mention your site regularly on your social media posts in a non-obstructive and non-promotional manner. You can use the same lead in your strategy to direct customers as needed. On the other hand, you should feature content coming from your prominent social media profiles in an easy-to-see section of your site.
Good content is another element that would make your customers want to come back and check out your social media pages. For that, you need to have an effective content strategy in place.
One thing to keep in mind is that your customer retention content strategy should follow your earlier promotional strategy. Go through the earlier content you made and see which has attracted a lot of attention. Create new content that addresses the questions raised by the earlier ones and promote them anew to returning audience members who are also specifically looking for similar information.
Evergreen content is also effective for customer retention. This is content that remains relevant regardless of time of the year or trend. It includes tutorials, FAQ’s, studies, and other relevant materials. By having such content up on your social media profiles, you turn them into useful references that your audience can return to when needed. News website The Wall Street Journal, for instance, uses the social media platform Pinterest to provide its readers with a variety of evergreen infographics for their reference.
A common pitfall in customer relations management (CRM) is treating everyone as being the same faceless client. This can alienate both first time and returning visitors and cause them to leave. For you to increase customer retention, you need to see them as individuals and respond to them on a more personal level.
During the early stages of your social media marketing efforts, you probably had a general profile of your target audience prepared. It’s time for you to refine that profile further to include returning customers. Take time to visit the profiles of some of your returning customers to have a better idea of their individual interests and views. You can also gain better insights into their behavior from the initial and subsequent conversations you have with them.
Using tools like Clearbit for Salesforce also helps in gathering the data needed to create better customer profiles. Of course, you won’t be able to cover each individual customer. The idea here is to build sub-profiles within your general audience profile to better fit the variations within your main customer group. This will serve as a guide when personalizing your responses to them.
The overall tone of your customer engagement also has an influence on how effective your brand is at retaining customers. A more informal tone helps put your customers at ease, allowing you a better opportunity to do business. Electronics and home appliance manufacturers do this from time to time in their tweets:
Yes, we are just looking for an excuse to build jet packs.https://t.co/cjmiX6xxwS
— General Electric (@generalelectric) May 13, 2016
But you need to know when to implement that shift in tone when engaging your customers. Brand perception is important here. If yours is seen as a more serious business, a sudden switch to an informal tone might feel out of place for your regular clients. Also, consider the platform you are on when deciding what tone to use. LinkedIn, for instance, is geared more towards professionals, which means a more businesslike tone is preferred. Sites like Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, are more open to informal conversations with customers.
While you want to connect with your customers on a more personal level, they would also want to see you as more than just a brand logo. This is where letting your personality show through will help in humanizing your brand.
The above switch in tone is itself one way that you can enhance your brand’s personality. Another way to do this is by introducing humor into your social media engagements. This lets you show your customers that you can also have fun between transactions. Wendy’s is particularly fond of this strategy, such as in their “Smug Wendy’s” Twitter persona, which further endeared them to their supporters.
— Penguin Potential (@PengiPotential) June 1, 2017
In most cases, customers use social media as a direct hotline to brands. This is done by either sending direct messages to them or by mentioning them in posts. For the former, it is vital that you respond as soon as possible. In a study conducted by Edison Research, it was found out that 42 percent of consumers expect a response within an hour from brands after they send in complaints or queries through social media platforms.
On the other hand, not all the mentions that you receive on social media conversations are calls that you need to respond to. A strong sense of empathy is vital for discerning which conversations to enter into and which ones to avoid:
These pointers will help you better narrow down the social media conversations you need to interact with.
Your CRM goal should be to fully address customer queries and complaints. In some cases you alone might not be enough to handle all concerns raised. Or, you might need to refer the customer to other members of your team for a more accurate response.
This is where having a social media escalation plan comes in handy. This is a document that details the individual task for handling concerns by the various departments in your company. Having the plan lets you respond adequately and in a timely manner.
Be sure to go the extra mile and provide your customers with resources – both from your brand and even other companies. Make it a habit of following up with them to check if everything has been fully resolved. This ensures that customers leave happy and build trust with your brand. Customers are also more likely to express their intent to return and may recommend you to their own connections. JetBlue is one such company that provides extensive customer support to its customers:
We suggest you delete your last tweet as it contains your confirmation code. Please share details via DM so we can take a… 1/2
— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) June 19, 2017
If you get positive comments, show your gratitude by sending them a “Thank you” message. This also strengthens your relationship with your customers. On the other hand, if you get a negative feedback, humbly acknowledge your shortcomings and don’t be afraid to apologize. Assure them that you are working to improve your services accordingly.
One great thing here is that all of the engagement strategies that you have used to build your fan base can be re-employed to continue to maintain them. Re-align them to take advantage of the fact that you are now dealing with an avid customer base. Combine them with new strategies to keep the interest of your supporters and improve your CRM.
Tapping the micro-influencers within your fan base is also a good move. These are people within your community who are able to engage other members and help promote your products further. In your case, these are usually the long-time fans who already have a lot of knowledge about your brand. Perhaps they even share information about it through their own blogs or other influencer activities. YouTube creator Nightwing2303 is a popular micro-influencer that malls and even large companies reach out to when they need to promote some of their new products.
The process of identifying the right micro-influencers to call upon is similar to that employed for the larger ones. Since their followings are smaller and narrower, put more emphasis on the level of interest other members show in their activities. You also need to consider their own connections with your products, such as how often they use your products themselves and what they think about them.
Once you have identified your micro-influencers, getting them on board for promotions becomes relatively easy. As they themselves are strong followers of your brand, they will be more than willing to join you. Don’t forget to reward their efforts with items like discounts and free passes.
One of the best ways of increasing customer retention is acknowledging their presence. This is more so the case with your fan base. Even a simple “Thank You” post or a tag would make them very happy. Showing that you value their opinion also works well. Do this by regularly asking them questions and putting up surveys for them to take.
Don’t just acknowledge them, though. Go further and reward their support. Come up with fan-exclusive incentives, such as free samples of upcoming product releases or bigger discounts, like this one:
— Paradiso Insurance (@paradisoins) September 20, 2016
You can also create fan events where they can meet and interact with other members of the community. You could say that the key to customer retention on social media is continuing to show them the value of following you there. Offering discounts through your social media is quite valuable.
Customer retention is an important element of growing your business. With social media platforms, you can keep your customers coming back by:
Follow these strategies and your brand will have a more loyal following both on and offline.