Building Customer Loyalty through Social Media

“Social Media is more useful for building loyalty than for creating customers from thin air.” – socialeemedia.com

There is no doubt that social media has now occupied a very large part of our lives – both business and personal. From the business perspective, social media has begun to play a focal role in forging meaningful relationships with customers, such that they stay with the company longer. Building customer loyalty through social media has become one of the more popular trends given that social media is the ‘place’ to be and the platform to stay in touch. People are using it increasingly to share ideas, product and company information, check out reviews of brands and products, views of current users, sharing information, and other such activities. The influence and authority of social media seems to have expanded suddenly, and seems unrelenting – hence rather than oppose it, it would be sensible for companies to leverage on and harness the strength of social media for their benefit.

Given its high visibility and reach, it is a powerful tool, which can be used in a number of ways including customer loyalty through social media. Every business knows and understands the high value and huge benefits of repeat and returning customers. Such customers not only buy more and consistently, they prove to be an indispensable tool to spread positive word of mouth, thereby attracting a large number of prospective customers to the company. It makes sense therefore, for a company to invest in strategies and tools that would retain existing customers, and make them brand ambassadors. Building customer loyalty through social media is one such tool – and a rather potent and effective one. The reason social media is so effective is because it allows a company to interact in real time and more frequently with its customers. The keyword here is ‘interact’ – it is no longer a one-sided conversation where the company talks and customers listen. Instead, social media allows for a dialogue – a meaningful and in-depth conversation between customers and a company, which is a lot more fulfilling and satisfying for customers.

Building customer loyalty through social media is about showing your customers how much your company values them and their business. It is extremely essential for any company to retain its existing customers since they are the ones who prove to be valuable and profitable over time. While it is necessary to attract new customers too, it is a lot better to gain new customers through the testimonies and positive comments of existing customers. New customers that begin an association with a company through an existing customer, are more likely to be more convinced of the company’s claims, and would be more likely to stay with the company for longer. When a company implements strategies to build customer loyalty through social media, it would also be reaching out to a much larger audience, and thereby gain more visibility. The company’s existing customers gain visibility too, which in turn keeps them associated with and interacting with a company.

With so much competition, which continues unabated, companies have no choice but to act fast and do whatever they can to build customer loyalty through social media and every other means possible. This also means that companies must adapt their processes and strategies to align with the new way of reaching out to people – it may be appropriate to seek advice and learn from tried and tested methods, but in order to forge ahead, it would be essential to be where the customers are, and prefer media they prefer to communicate via. Honestly, building customer loyalty through social media is not rocket science – it only requires focus and an unrelenting desire to keep customers happy and with the company for long.

As with any other strategy, building customer loyalty through social media would not be possible before first taking the time to know the company’s customer base – existing and prospective. Many companies do a fantastic job of knowing their customers – what they like, their preferences, and even things that frustrate their customers. Companies must invest in technology and tools that allow them to capture customer information, which can be linked to the various channels of communication. This way, irrespective of which channel a customer uses to connect with a company, the personnel managing the channels would know exactly which customer they are interacting with and what the ‘history’ of the customer is with the company. Given that customers are increasingly choosing social media to interact, it would make sense for companies to use this medium to increase viewership and customer loyalty. The more publicly and openly a company acknowledges and shows preference for its customers, the more likely would it be able to keep its existing customers and attract new ones. Customers love to feel valued and important, and by using a visible platform and making sustained efforts to build customer loyalty through social media, a company would essentially be showering customers with attention and care.

Customers share all kinds of data, including personal information via social media. Knowing customers through such a ‘social’ context ensures that a company can know a lot more about customers than just their business side. The better a company knows its existing and prospective customers, the more pertinent and relevant information it would be able to provide to them. In addition, it would be simpler for a company to provide customized solutions and tailor-made products for its customers, which in turn serves to delight customers. Customers, as mentioned, love to feel special, and such offerings and personalized service and products makes them feel warmly towards a company. In addition, a company that seems to know their every need and expectation, is certainly a company that customers want to stay with for a long time. Customer loyalty through social media, or any other medium does not just happen – it requires laser like focus, and an unrelenting dedication towards customers. The great part of social media is that companies get to ‘see’ customers in an informal setting – where they seem more relaxed and are not averse to showing their likes, dislikes, and preferences from a personal point of view. Companies get to view customers in a setting that is not serious or business like – thereby highlighting a completely different side of their customers, which a company can use to advantage.

As mentioned above, knowing customers from a personal angle too ensures that a company would be able to display its capability in providing benefits and advantages that would be pertinent to a particular customer. Companies that make it easier and more interesting for customers to do business with them, across channels, would gain loyal customers and an increase in customer lifetime value. Social media is a great ‘place’ for companies to connect with and enhance engagement with their customers – both existing and prospective, given the ‘immediacy’ and high relevance in today’s world. In addition, companies that can be present at all times that customers would want to connect, are more likely to gain customer loyalty through social media. Research shows that customers are using social media sites round the clock and access these sites most often from their mobile devices, and prefer companies that ‘stay with them’.

Building customer loyalty through social media and every means possible is essential for any company today, not just to strengthen business, but also to increase its customer base size and become an authority figure in the highly competitive marketplace. Doing so relentlessly will pay huge dividends not only in the short-term, but sustainably too, for any company. Are you in?

 

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