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social media how to Want long-term customers for your business?

Have you used social media to increase customer loyalty?

To build customer loyalty, you need to show your customers you care.

In this article I’ll share how to use social media to embrace and cultivate loyal customers for your business.

cultivate loyal customers

Discover how to use social media to cultivate loyal customers.

Listen to this article:

#1: Personalize the Fan Experience

The key to encouraging more customer loyalty on social media is to make your fans feel like they matter. Whether you have 1,000 or 10,000 fans, each one should feel special.

A simple way to take a personal approach on a daily basis is to sign off on posts and comments with your name. Another method is to literally personalize your product or service for fans.

Coca-Cola fans can personalize and share a virtual bottle of Coke andย Heinz ran a promotion that gave their fans and customers the opportunity to add a friend’s name to a soup can and send it to him or her.

heinz soup get well image

Heinz gave fans a chance to send personalized soup cans to ailing friends.

When you personalize your fans’ experience, it boosts their trust and loyalty. It also gives them a chance to take full ownership of and share the experience with their network.

#2: Offer Rewards

Show your fans and customers you appreciate their input on your social channels by offering a reward. A lot of companies miss out on the opportunity to create more loyal customers, because they only reward customers who engage the most.

While there’s nothing wrong with rewarding regular engagement from fans, the key to appreciating your social media community as a whole is to reward fans based on the quality of the interaction, not the quantity. Remember, a fan who comments once, but leaves very detailed feedback (for example, a testimonial, suggestions or visual post), is just as valuable as someone who comments 40 times on posts.

Involve and reward your entire social media community with offers, such as unique discounts, contests and bonus or sneak previews.

GoEnnounce gave away exclusive “Welcome to College” gifts to the first 50 high school seniors who posted a photo with their college acceptance letters.

goennounce rewards post

Create rewards available to all fans and customers.

When you reward all fans and customers, it gives everyone a reason to keep coming back to your page. It also shows your company appreciates both new and existing customers.

#3: Surprise Fans and Customers

Add to your customers’ experience on social media by finding ways to create surprise and intrigue.

One option is to surprise fans with a random act of kindness. For example, reward your community with a discount code when you reach 20,000 fans. Also, send fans who go above and beyond in adding value to your company, product or service a handwritten note and gift.

When a young fan submitted a dragon drawing to Samsung to impress the brand, the company not only replied back with a great drawing of a kangaroo on a unicycle, but also took things one step further. Samsung sent the fan a Samsung phone, which included a case customized with the dragon drawing. Now that’s what you call a surprise!

samsung surprise image

Find unique ways to surprise your fans.

Companies can also send fans a surprise on special occasions, such as after their first purchase, the one-year anniversary of their first purchase, their birthday or on seasonal holidays.

Surprises are a great way to build word-of-mouth marketing. They also encourage brand advocacy, because fans who get a treat are likely to share the experience with their network.

Remember, since social media conversations happen in real time, when you decide to surprise your fans, be sure to deliver the treat within a reasonable time frame.

#4: Listen to Your Customers

Build loyalty with your fans and customers and increase engagement by listening. Monitor daily what your customers and fans are saying about your company, whether it’s a question, concern or problem, and then engage with your fans, respond and take action.

Snapchat listened to their users, and as a result they created an update to make the app even easier to use.

snapchat customer feedback changes

Snapchat listened to customers and made changes based on their feedback.

Listening is so important on social media because sometimes people talk about you, and not to you. For this reason, you want to monitor your companys name as a key term to highlight any comments or questions you may have missed. This also allows you to spot potential followers who have not engaged with your brand before and bring them on board.

There are many free tools to use to monitor your company, such as Mention, Hootsuite, Social Mention, IceRocket and TweetDeck.

Listening is the best way to get feedback from people who use your product or service on a regular basis, so you can make improvements and provide a better customer experience.

#5: Know Your Product

Today’s customers tend to fully research a product before turning to a company on social media to ask questions prior to making a purchase. Know your products or services backwards and forwards, and make sure all of your social media admins do too.

Thorough knowledge of your business enables you to better assist your customers, since you can pass on the key benefits of the product or service. Plus, it saves you time. When you know your stuff, you can provide an immediate response to a query with confidence, rather than having to email other departments just to get a confirmation.

dyson customer query response

Be sure all who represent your company on social media have comprehensive knowledge of your products and services.

Dyson used their product knowledge to assist a fan and then went a step further with additional information in the post above.

Whichever social media platform you’re using, take your time when having conversations. Make sure you understand the customers situation and if required, ask more questions. When you know your products and can respond in a knowledgeable manner, it increases customer confidence, and in turn, loyalty.

#6: Follow Up With Fans

Many companies offer great customer support on social media. They respond to comments in a timely manner and ensure all customer questions have been answered. However, this is only half of the equation. To build long-term relationships with your fans, follow up. Ask your fans how they’re doing since your last contact.

Follow up with fans who commented on a recent blog post, posted on your wall or sent you a message. Also, send follow-up messages to those who previously inquired about your product or service, and to whom you already replied.

Some follow-ups are more extensive than others. Here’s how Nissan followed up with a customer who created a homemade video trying to sell his Nissan vehicle.

Following up lets your customers know you’re still interested and value their time. It also demonstrates that your company is reliable and genuinely cares about their happiness.

#7: Cultivateย Trust

Trust takes a long time to acquire, but only a matter of seconds to lose. The easiest way to maintain the trust of your community is to keep your promises. If you tell fans you’ll respond to their messages by 2pm, then make sure you respond no later than 2pm. If your promotion ends on December 10, keep the promotion going until that date.

If you do make a mistake or end up with a social media crisis, the first thing you should do is own up. Admit to mistakes and take action to resolve the situation. This transparency lets your fans and customers know what happened and what you’re doing to fix it. As a result, customers’ trust in your company should remain intact.

When one of Pizza Hut’s employees insulted a customer, the company took full ownership of the situation.

pizza hut apology

If someone in your company makes a mistake, own up to it, respond and make it right, so you retain the trust of your community.

You work so hard to acquire the trust of your fans and customers on social media. Do whatever you can to keep it.

#8: Share Your Values

A study published by the Harvard Business Review, which surveyed over 7,000 consumers, found that of those who had a strong relationship with the brand, 64% had said the number-one reason was shared values.

Since fans on social media tend to be more loyal to a company that shares their beliefs, share updates not only around your products or services, but also posts that exemplify the core values of your organization.

Toyota supports non-profits with their “Cars for Good” campaign. People voted and the top 100 non-profits were all awarded with a Toyota car or truck.

If your company has a strong view on a particular topic or issue, share it with your community. This does not have to be limited to issues within your niche. When your fans and customers relate to your core values, they’re more likely to stay loyal to your company and cause.

Final Thoughts

Creating customer loyalty on social media means developing long-term relationships with your fans. Take the time to appreciate your customers and understand their needs. Personalize their experience and reward them.

Showing your customers that you value them is the most effective method to build long-term relationships. This will increase trust, loyalty and sales.

What do you think? What has been your experience with companies on social media? Do you feel that adding a personal touch and providing consistent value have increased your loyalty? Share your thoughts below.

how to cultivate loyal customeres

Tips for cultivating loyal customers with social media.

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  • “reward fans based on the quality of the interaction, not the quantity” – this is really good point mentioned. It made me connect few dots about social media that apparently wasn’t connected.

    I have always believed that engaging with fans is the most crucial thing, especially online.
    Everyone wants to be connected with real person. They want to relate to a human, not robot.

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hi @jacobmarketingfyi:disqus glad you enjoyed the point about the quality of the interaction it’s one that’s not talked about but is the most important.

    You are correct – Fans are real people too. The same way we hate being put on hold or listening to the answer machine we prefer to talk to an actual person. This concept also applies to social media and the interactions you have on a daily basis with your community.

    feel free to test this out on your social channels and let me know how you get on ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I will try it definitely… there’s too much value in social media to ignore it.
    Engagements are the same as content… it’s always quality over quantity, It’s also better to make a community that way.

  • Ravi Shukle

    Very true @jacobmarketingfyi:disqus the key is to personalise each interaction after all what makes us unique as people is the fact that no two are alike ๐Ÿ™‚

  • treb072410

    Thanks for sharing Ravi, very informative and useful.

  • marie.cosgrove
  • Thanks… already doing well with internet marketing ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Great article. Some of the content is what you should do anyway for a good customer feedback and loyalty. What I picked out from this article and what I will look to implement is surprising and rewarding customers.

  • Loved this post… I believe that if you have a phone number on a website you should try your best to answer the call and not let it go to voicemail. People love to hear a real person. Make emails responses or messages via social network channels personalized.

  • sadly lacking in your list is competitive pricing and excellent customer service – something we’ve learned having been in business since 1993 – on the web since 2002 – still selling to many of the same customers

    – social media can bury problems that you never hear of because you missed a post or tweet

  • Thanks for the engagement. It was very useful

  • Love this post. It was really a life lesson on cultivating long term customers. While many of us do try to try to show care and regard for the customers/clients there are others who see them as nuisance, ignore their complaints and so on. Obviously these are not true business people but hustlers. So what we are dealing with here are true business people who need to know how to make their customers be loyal and keep coming back. There is a lot to take away from this post and a lot to implement as far I am concerned. I truly agree with rewarding fans on the quality and not the quantity of the interaction. Very valuable point.
    Thanks for the post
    Vinton

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @treb072410:disqus you are very welcome. The thing I always say is creating great customer service is optional that’s why not a lot of brands do it. So putting these strategies into place and sticking to your promises will already put you ahead of the competition ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @vinton_samms:disqus you are very welcome dude. Although the tips are great what’s even better is putting these into action. Have you tried any of these tips yet on your social channels?

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey Abdul, I fully agree. The current situation in the market is customers are unfortunately starting to get use to bad customer service. Due to this they are actually now pleasantly surprised when a company fulfils these promises. That is why when we surprise and reward we go that extra mile to show our customers we value them above just average support. Let me know how the surprise and reward works out for you I would love to know!

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @candacealstaddavies:disqus such a great point. Very true most people want to speak to an actual person to know that their issue is being looked into rather than an automated response or voice mail machine. This also applies to “live chat” on a website — customers want to get that support right away and if you are not able to respond there then you have ruined that first impression. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Candace ๐Ÿ™‚ — Do you have a phone number on your site?

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @mitchrezman:disqus while competitive pricing is great I feel its not enough now a days to truly differentiate you from your competition. While this will definitely have an affect its the excellent customer service you mentioned that will seal the deal.

    Love the fact you have been able to retain so many of your customers it shows how much they value the service and support you offer ๐Ÿ™‚

    With social media is a double edged sword as it can be used to grow relationships and loyalty but on the other hand if you do not keep up with the support or conversation then your customers will simply begin to look elsewhere.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts – would love to know some of the key ways you have been able to retain those customers in your business over the years ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @vinton_samms:disqus thank you! really appreciate those kind words and yes the quality of the interaction is so important . The way I see it is your business is like the head of a family. Your customers are your family members . Having a strong family bond in this situation really depends on how welcome you make your family feel and how you treat them.

    Treating each customer as an individual instead of automating their experience shows them there is someone on the other end that values their interaction. This is what builds trust which leads onto those long term customers.

    Thanks once again for sharing your thoughts Vinton. Would love to know how you are getting on in your business ๐Ÿ™‚ — Keep me posted ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hi Diana, great point! One I would 100% agree with. Small world I actually use to work for Samsung heading up their social media and online support so I understand exactly what you mean with rewarding customers for their interactions. When customers feel they are being rewarded for the interactions this encourages them to interact even more to increase these rewards.

    This is one I have to try myself. Have you tried this approach on any of your pages?

    Appreciate you sharing this as its something that a lot of companies can take advantage of.

  • nelda.blodgett
  • the pricing conundrum is having your products next to 37 other stores on google & bing shopping – it’s like playing roulette

    customer retention is achieved by solving problems – we identify alot of problems bird owners were unaware of and offer solutions – our blog has been a huge part of that and drives upwards of 20% of our website traffic

  • Ravi Shukle

    Thanks for sharing @mitchrezman:disqus such a great point about creating valuable content that helps to solve a problem. A lot of businesses often try use clever wording or phrases to make you click but the real value will always be in the posts that provide a solution. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sure Ravi, thanks for the reply. will keep you updated.

  • The blog is very well written keeping in mind the perspective of customer & followers what they require & expect from the brand. It will surely help to boost the loyalty and trust among the followers. It is also important to note what kind of stuff your customers like, best time for publishing & day to connect with audience etc.

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hi Dave, thank you for the feedback really appreciate it buddy. Yes you are right you definitely want to focus on what your customers expect from your brand. Posting at the correct time of time of day will also help to extend your reach to your ideal audience ๐Ÿ™‚ – Feel free to test these out Dave and let me know how you get on ๐Ÿ™‚

  • kimberly.valentine2

    ==

  • Thanks for this informative post, every one wants to be part of a group and want to be told that he/she does matter

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hi @Graciousstore:disqus THANK YOU for taking the time out to read my post. Yes you are 100% correct. Companies often have hundreds even thousands of customers they deal with on a daily basis and giving the individual customer that attention when dealing with support or service helps to show them that you value them and their business. A great way to build customer loyalty in the long term ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alice

    .Agreed with your 3rd and 4th point.Listening is so important on social media because sometimes people talk about you, and not to you .Now a days Customers tend to fully research a product before turning to a company
    on social media to ask questions before purchasing. Know your
    products or services is must .Great article Thanks.Alot to learn from it

  • Great post Ravi! I really liked the insights into customization of posts, special rewards, and rewarding customers. These are all great tactics! Happy Monday ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alison Page

    Really interesting post thank you! I would like to encourage and reward engagement via a client’s Facebook page. Can you recommend an app for this please? Fancrank doesn’t seem to be in business anymore. Thanks, Alison

  • Great summary, I think we’ll pass this on to our own customers!

  • As an employee at Brand24, I am super happy to see the importance you put on social media monitoring and listening to your customers. I really think this is crucial today. After all, loyalty is inspired by friendship and trust first. That’s why I believe a company should see itself as a real friend to the customer, someone who wants to talk to them and know their needs. They need to listen to what their problems are, what makes them happy and give their best to help them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hi @disqus_5a2g6r2ajO:disqus, thank you for taking the time out to read my post really appreciate it. Yes customers are definitely more knowledgeable. I’ve even gone into store and cross checked a price of a product on my smartphone. That is why it is imperative for companies to fully understand the product so they can project the correct values and benefits of the product to the customer ๐Ÿ™‚ . Have you tried actioning any of these tips yet?

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @stevehedstrom:disqus, great to hear from you. Thank you for the feedback man really appreciate it. Yes so many of us today are used to free ipad give-aways and books that don’t really interest us so customising this approach just goes that extra mile to show the customer they aren’t just a number and you appreciate them as an individual.

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @alison_page:disqus, you are very welcome it’s my pleasure — happy you enjoyed the post and got some value from it. You can use Agorapulse they offer a fan rewards app which rewards users based on interactions with points. It also picks top users each week. This could be a great start to help identify your more engaged members. You can then always reach out to them after with any rewards . Let me know how you get on.

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @justunocom:disqus make sure you do! Don’t forget to let me know how it went — Love hearing from businesses who put tips like this into action as they see the most results and return from it. If you have any questions along the way you know where I am ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Thanks yes, have found Agorapulse although I need to sign up a few more clients to this type of Facebook activity, due to cost. Looks good though!

  • treb072410

    I totally agree with what you have said @Ravi.. Just do what you are telling your customers and exceed what is expected you will definitely be ahead..

  • Ravi Shukle

    Wish you all the best @alison_page:disqus let me know if there is anything else I can do to help ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @ddobrinova_B24:disqus , great to meet you virtually ๐Ÿ™‚ . Yes exactly! back in the day it use to cost thousands of dollars to gather detailed customer research into user behaviour. Now thanks to social media you can get direct feedback from your audience by simply asking them and engaging with them to discover their needs. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Making customers to talk about you through social media can be intimidating to businesses. But itโ€™s the first step in creating sales and loyal customers. It tells consumers that you care, that youโ€™re listening, and that you want to be involved. Social media engagement is very helpful.

  • Ravi Shukle

    Hey @kryptonite_digital:disqus, yes it can seem daunting at first when dealing with customers via social media. The main thing you want to take note off is that your customers are already talking about you whether you engage or not.

    That is why it is up to you to monitor those mentions and become part of the conversation.

    As you mentioned this is a great way to build customer loyalty and spot potential customer service issues before they happen.

  • You’re right @ravi_shukle:disqus

  • Ravi Shukle

    Thanks @kryptonite_digital:disqus any questions you know where I am ๐Ÿ˜€