One of the biggest challenges businesses today face is maintaining customer loyalty after the sale. And today, with 1 in 5 people using some form of social media , it only makes sense that businesses have also set up accounts on these social media sites to reach these people. In fact, more businesses have created a Facebook page (11 million) than have claimed their Google+ Local listing (8 million).
Plus, as 63% 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.
1. Ask for Customer Feedback
The first action that you can take to boost customer loyalty is to ask your customers for their feedback about yours products, services, and customer support. Whatever your business offers, you can ask your customers, “Do you like this?” You can always directly ask them after a transaction, but you can also elicit feedback indirectly. For example, you could post a positive review on a social media site or a picture of the waiters at your 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 you, but some may post a comment about a negative experience with your business, so it’s best to be prepared if they do. But no matter what they say, you’ll learn more about what you can do to change and grow your business as well as letting your customers know that they have a voice about your business.
2. Run Social Media Contests
What better way to boost customer loyalty than to have a fun contest for your social media fans and followers? If done consistently, you could potentially see an increase in your customer engagement on sites like Facebook. One easy Facebook contest you can try is a photo caption contest, and you can do this with or without a giveaway option. The concept is to post a photo, with a tagline like: “Caption This Photo”, and your audience will make up their own “headlines” to describe the photo. You can use photos related to your business, like someone eating a delicious plate of food from your restaurant, or a cute animal visiting your vet clinic—always with permission, of course. Whether or not you are giving away a prize for the best headline, like a coupon or freebie, you should publicly recognize the winning customer, and if there’s a prize, share what they have won. You can also ask your 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.
3. Post and Pin Engaging Content
Posting engaging content on Facebook and other social media sites is an essential way to stay connected to your audience. For instance, the first thing customers will see when they visit your Facebook timeline is either the newest piece of content you have posted or the content you have pinned to the top. So, by pinning fresh content to the top of your page, like photos and videos, interesting stories, engaging questions, and useful tips, you’re 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% more likes and 32% more shares than unpinned content.
4. Respond in a Timely Manner
Now that you’re 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% of consumers on Twitter expect a response from business owners online, but in reality, only 9% receive a response. On Facebook, 35% of consumers expect a response after “Liking” a business, but 58% never hear a response from a company. With your timely responsiveness, your customers will surely know that you care about what they say.
5. Get Involved in Your Community
Getting involved with your community not only helps build your brand offline, but can also boost your online reputation from customers who see you have a vested interest in local charities or organizations. You can connect with your existing customers and retain their loyalty by supporting a cause that is important to your community, like sponsoring a Little League team, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or donating to a local charity. Use this opportunity to give back to your community and show that what you do also has an impact outside your business. For instance, you could run a campaign and announce you will donate one dollar per Like or retweet to raise awareness and funds for a local charity you support to help increase awareness for the organization as well as customer engagement on your social sites. Don’t forget to post pictures related to your involvement to boost loyalty with your existing customers.
What are you doing on social media sites to boost customer loyalty with your business? Let us know in a comment.
About the Author
Lindsay Paramore is an expert on online marketing and branding for business owners. She works as a Web Presence Professional for ReachLocal.