We all know that the best customer is a loyal one. Brand loyalty has the power to grow your business and help you to sustain long term growth by creating long term ambassadors that support your business and brand! Social media has become an increasingly important tool in achieving that goal.
The loyal customer is also more likely to support your brand across social platforms by commenting on, sharing and liking posts; talking about your brand; or posting user-generated content both to their own and to your brand’s social platforms. Additionally, loyal customers are far more likely to recommend you to their friends. In doing so, they both extend the reach of your own marketing and help to secure new social media followers.
Unlike other methods available, social media offers the unique benefit of being able to connect with your business' customers on a personal level - it acts as a hotline between each one of your customers.
And given the amount of people using social media platforms every day, failing to capitalize on the opportunity to build customer loyalty is a massive opportunity wasted.
But how exactly can you leverage social media to build brand loyalty?
1. Be savvy with your strategy
Don’t forget the age-old saying – “failing to prepare is preparing to fail!”
Whilst many see social media as a free and simple tool for advertising products, you need to be far savvier than that to stand out against your competitors.
Social media marketing has moved beyond the simple acts of posting and interaction. When your goal is to drive brand loyalty, you should ask yourself what value you can create for your customers through social media? Remember, if you’re not adding value, is there really any point in doing it?
Define the specifics of your ideal buyers: age group, gender, location, and interests. Don’t forget to segment accordingly and have separate strategy for each social network applicable to your business. Don’t forget to check out what your competitors are doing too – how can you do it better?
2. Share consistent, quality and timely content, that engages your audience
As a brand, it’s important to create and consistently display valuable content which resonates with your followers in order to inspire brand loyalty. Think both about the type of content you share and how often. Visual content – such as infographics, videos, screenshots and graphs get noticed and shared more, so it’s important to factor them in when planning your content strategy.
Consistency and reliability are also important. Whatever you share and whenever you engage, make sure all content and communication is delivered in the same tone of voice and is genuine. Whilst consistency is important, this does not mean you should post something that has no meaning or relevance just for the sake of it.
3. Be present and active
There is nowhere to hide on social media – the site does not close for the night. Customers will often leave comments or ask questions on social platforms, whether through Messenger, posting a review or on a Facebook wall, or tweeting at a brand. While you might not be able to respond to every customer, it’s important to engage with as many as possible because responsiveness shows customers that you care about their needs.
On the flip side, being unresponsive can decrease brand loyalty
4. Be human! Let your brand personality and voice shine through
Followers want to interact with real people, not chat bots or automated content – and they will very quickly call you out if you try to pull the wool over their eyes.
When replying to customers through any channel, it is always best to get into an actual conversation. Not only does this show your customers that you care about them as a person, it also allows you to offer empathy for situations that need it.
Prioritising personal interactions and using them in every conversation will also show customers your brand personality. The warmth will keep your followers coming back for more interactions with you.
Cause based social campaigns are another way to connect with your audience and their values. By sharing your company’s fundamental principles and values, you’ll encourage brand loyalty from customers with similar beliefs. Create posts about causes and charities that are close to the heart of your business to show shoppers what your brand stands for.
4. Share positive feedback and turn negative comments into opportunities
When a customer leaves a glowing review, don’t keep it to yourself. Word of mouth recommendation and customer advocacy is exactly that we’re aiming for here – so why not share these reviews publicly on your social media accounts? By posting positive reviews, you’re likely to attract new customers and reinforce current customers’ trust in your business (just don’t forget to ask their permission first!).
If you get a negative review, try to turn it into an opportunity. No one can please everyone all the time. Regardless of the content or tone from the customer, the way you as a brand handles complaints and negative comments is a vital aspect of maintaining your reputation. If you can deal with it with grace, professionalism, and a problem-solving mindset, you can turn a negative into a positive. Be sure to be prompt with your answer and never offer an apology without a genuine solution!
5. Share User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is a great form of social proof. Whether resharing photos, videos or other content that your customers create about using your products, go ahead and share, share, share! This content builds trust in shoppers because it is created by customers, not the brand.
Invite users to tag your brand and use branded hashtags so you can find UGC more easily and share it on your page (with the creator’s permission, of course!).
6. Be an open book
Today shoppers are more and more interested in what goes on behind the scenes of the brands they follow. Make your followers feel like they’re a part of the business by sharing pictures and videos of your office space, show walk-throughs of your products, share interviews with employees and posting photos of your company events and achievements. Brands that are honest and transparent are far more likely to encourage a positive customer-brand relationship. Your social media channels are the perfect platform for taking your followers behind the scenes.
7. Measure, review and reshare
It is important to always be aware of how well your strategies are doing. Make sure you check the owner analytics tools on whichever social networks you’re using to give you an insightful view of each of your posts and ads. Understanding how each is working will allow you to understand where necessary shifts in your future strategies are needed.
And where you’ve shared content that has done well, don’t hesitate to reshare! As long as it is offering value to your customers; share, share and share again!