If you think “likes” equal loyalty. Then best you think again. Social media can indeed help to build customer loyalty, but it takes much more than a few promotions that push “liking” a brand. It requires a personal, holistic approach that emphasizes service, responsiveness, and ongoing interaction.

While many marketers recognise the importance of social media on brand recognition and leveraging social channels to deliver marketing campaigns, many others still fail to see the big-picture benefits of deeply engaging in social.

  • By communicating with customers on a one-to-one basis,
  • Rewarding them for their participation in social activities,
  • Serving them in channels like Facebook, Twitter, or specialised communities, their loyalty to your brands will potentially soar.
  • People who engage with brands via social media demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to those brands and spend between 20 and 40 percent more than other customers.

While the benefits of personalised social engagement seem clear, many companies still can’t look past simply getting “likes” and followers. As a result, many companies’ social media efforts remain stalled in one-dimensional marketing pushes, hindering their chances of using social to help build a loyal customer base.

  • Humanise
  • Engage
  • Reward
  • Be holistic
  • Provide great service

Use social media to grow your business from current customers and build groups of people who are going to be referrers, humanise brands to respond to queries and posts in a personalised way and create an emotional bond. The value of social media is sometimes lost in the challenge of keeping people engaged with your content.

Most marketers recognise the importance of social media in brand building, but many still can’t determine a social customer’s true worth. That stems in part from silos between companies’ traditional CRM and social data. “The full values of loyalty can only come if you can match social insights to your in-house business intelligence,”.

It’s about building social enterprise communities by tying all a customers’ experiences together, including the ones via social. Once identity management is in place, companies can reward customers via social for their levels of engagement across channels, from browsing content to making a purchase.

One of the most important elements of building customer loyalty via social channels is to provide prompt responses to customer service inquiries, along with content and promotions.

Listening and communicating are things that build loyalty and create more of an affinity with an organisation; Customer service has the skills and authority to handle customer problems and complaints.

Online communities also work well in handling customer inquiries and service and support issues, while working to build brand advocates by rewarding members of the community for their participation.

Social’s big year

I believe that more companies will leverage social media as a vital part of their customer loyalty strategies this year. Executives are getting smart [about social]. They’re starting to ask the tough questions like how this is helping their sales and of course the big question around ROI on advertising.