social media how toAre you using social media to keep your existing customers happy?

Do you want to figure out how to drive revenue from existing customers through the social channel?

This post will give you 5 tips to gain more revenue from your existing customers using social media.

Why Focus on Existing Customers?

For many companies, connecting with their existing customers is a natural fit for social media. These companies are seeing conversations about their brands, their competitors and their industry that provide them with an opportunity to engage others in dialogue.

There are two types of strategies that revolve around existing customers on the social media channel. The first is to offer customer service help through the social channel. We’ve seen excellent examples of this with Comcast and Boingo, which have successfully addressed customer concerns through social media.

comcast on twitter

Comcast provides customer service on Twitter.

The second strategy is to attempt to increase value to the customer experience through the social channel. We’ve seen excellent examples of this with InfusionSoft and Radian6.

The value of the customer base for companies is substantial. We’ve all heard that it costs more to get a new customer than to keep your existing ones. So it makes sense that we would see more companies developing strategies to engage customers with the social channel.

Social media represents a low-cost way for companies to engage customers in two-way dialogue and develop deeper relationships. Relationships are a benefit that is difficult to achieve with other marketing channels. One often-overlooked opportunity is to use social media to strategically drive incremental revenue from existing customers.

radian6 engages

Radian6 engages customers by sharing resources.

These 5 tips provide a framework for how you can adjust your strategies to ensure they capitalize on the most frequently overlooked opportunity for increased revenue: customers.

Tip #1: Give Customers Incentives for Making More Frequent Purchases

Whether you are in a service- or product-based industry, you have the ability to increase revenue by encouraging customers to make purchases more frequently.

For service industries, this may mean promoting add-on services, upgrades or premium offerings. For product industries, this includes encouraging customers to come back more often. How can you do this with social media?

You can offer deals and specials that are exclusive to your social media followers based on the level of customer or the frequency of purchase.

For example, if you are a software company, you could offer exclusive discounts to your user conference for social media followers based upon the number of software licenses they are using. Or if you are a product company, you could do a coupon for social media followers that provides a 50% discount off their fifth purchase.

fan only specials

Wine of the Month Club offers fan-only specials.

Tip #2: Give Customers a Reason to Spend More at Each Purchase

The second way you can drive revenue from existing customers is to get them to spend more at each purchase. So if your average transaction is $35, the goal would be to get the customer to spend $50. This can also be accomplished by exclusive deals for social media fans and followers.

You’ve probably seen coupon campaigns many times that are designed to achieve this. Coupons such as $25 off a $100 purchase are aimed at increasing the amount spent at each purchase. Why do they work? In consumers’ effort to get to a $100 purchase, they tend to spend more. This works well for product-based companies, but what about service industries?

Service industries can look to promote package deals for their services that bundle offerings together. In this case, the social channel is used to drive awareness of the offerings with a clear call to action, versus promoting deals or coupons like we typically see for product-based industries.

31 bags discounts

31 Bags gives Facebook discounts for spending more money.

Tip #3: Combine Email Marketing Offers

Keep in mind it’s important to maintain a balance of content on your social channels. The general rule is less than 20% of your content should be about your company. Therefore, a mix of your own content with information from relevant third parties is important.

The last thing you want is to have a social channel that is flooded with deals and promotions with very little customer engagement.

It will be important to think through why a customer would be interested in buying what you are offering and what the process is for them to actually make a purchase so that you can optimize the path to conversion from the social channel to the sales funnel.

hubspot email

HubSpot integrates email campaigns.

Tip #4: Educate Your Customers about Your Other Products and Services

Another important element of increasing sales is to make sure customers are aware of the other types of services or products your company offers. You can do this by featuring a product or service profile of the week, which provides you with the opportunity to highlight premium services and explain what they are and why customers should care.

Don’t be boring; combine the types of content you use to educate the customer with blog posts, photos, webinars and videos.

under armour promo

Under Armour cross-promotes product lines on Facebook.

Tip #5: Provide Consistent Value

At the end of the day, it’s difficult to keep an audience engaged if you’re constantly running another promotion on your social channels. Therefore, it’s important to find a way to balance your content and provide value to customers.

If your customers find value in the content you produce for your social channels, they are far more likely to keep coming back for more.

InfusionSoft, a small business customer relationship management system, has done an excellent job of providing value to their customer base. They recognize that they have sales and marketing expertise inside their company that the small businesses they serve may not have.

infusion soft resource center

InfusionSoft's resource center.

Therefore, instead of promoting a bunch of features their software offers, they position themselves as business advisors to their clients. They provide tips, resources and tons of information that their clients can use to grow. Ultimately, the more their clients grow, the more InfusionSoft grows.

As you consider how to grow your customer base through the social channel, it’s important that you create a win-win situation like InfusionSoft has. If you are only there to serve your own needs, customers will recognize your attitude early. Instead, find a way to combine your desire to increase revenues with the thing that motivates your customers the most.

Bonus Tip: Measuring the Results

So… you’ve done all of these things and now you need to understand the impact on your organization. These customer retention metrics will help you show why your strategy is important to the organization.

The key here is to measure a control group so you can compare these metrics for social media and non-social media customers. This will allow you to show how social media is helping other channels be more successful.

All metrics are calculated as averages and shown as per-customer results. For example, average revenue per customer.

measure chart

This chart shows how to measure results.

Here are some related articles about customer service, why social media is inseparable from customer service and ROI.

What do you think? Do you have an example of a brand that is doing a great job of driving revenue and superior service through the social channel? Are you servicing your customers with social media? What tips would you offer others? Please share in the comments section and join the conversation.

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  • Great tips Kelly, i think providing them more space for putting their questions and problems to us can also generate some leads from existing customers, your last tip about infusionsoft says clearly this. More you provide value to your customers, more they grow and more they (customers) grow, more you (company) grow. Love your tips, stay connected :).

  • Excellent article, Nicole. Customer service is so often overlooked by many agencies treating social media marketing as primarily about reach and brand awareness, rather than cultivating customer relationships. Orabrush and Gary Vayerchuk are just two examples I personally know of whose own business culture is around customer service — with info-taining videos that lead to direct conversations between them and the people who follow them. I’ve been fortunate enough to cover the online video space around building relationships and ROI throughout the buyer cycle and the customer life cycle, and you’re right about speaking to both ROI and social metrics for really understanding how to be profitable, sustainable, and have your team feel happy and healthy with a sense of purpose.

  • Thanks for your interesting article! I am a strong advocate of focusing on existing customers to grow your business, and I think your 5th tip should actually be the top priority. A company’s current customers want more from social media than incentives, bundles, and email offers. They want to be recognized as a valued customer. They want to learn more about what is important to them (and your products and services may or may not fit into that!).

    Providing consistent value is critical to building a long-term relationship using social media (along with other channels) that will result in increased engagement, leading to loyalty and ultimately advocacy and purchases.

    I like that you brought it back to metrics; thank you for including some customer retention metrics. I have also seen leading companies, such as Intuit and Zappos, use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) as key customer retention and loyalty metric. Leading companies are tying NPS to social media in order to understand what impact this new channel has on whether customers will refer your company to another person.

    Appreciate the post!

  • Sarah Bauer

    Kelly, this article is so relevant! Following Becky Carroll’s recent publication, “The Hidden Power of Your Customers”, and the video interview Social Media Examiner posted last week, these tips definitely drive the point home.
    Carroll emphasizes the importance of showing your existing customer base that you value their loyalty. I think you can achieve this through social media by offering “surprise” incentives or rewards exclusively to Facebook fans or Twitter followers ( or both ). Surprising customers with a benefit to their purchasing experience will encourage them to tell friends and recruit others to join the Facebook/Twitter page in anticipation of further incentives. 
    Customers like to feel valued and important to companies that they frequent. Social media can help in strengthening that relationship, as you say!

    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • Cindy Spencer

    Good Stuff!!  What we’ve found on our Facebook page for is that photos we share of silly stuff, cool new concepts or products get more people responding to it, sharing it, liking it, etc.

  • All great points, Nichole! I actually just posted a short article/video yesterday on the same topic but with a few different opportunities for leveraging existing customers –

  • Hello,

    I’d like to comment on the Infusionsoft (IFS) reference. The company I work for uses IFS. I also recommended IFS to a company I consult for. I personally feel that IFS is a leading example of how to balance value vs. promotions.I suggest Social Media Examiner do a case study on IFS. For the record, I have no other connection to IFS. I’m simply a highly satisfied user of their services. And I also love Social Media Examiner. :)Thank you.JT

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Hi Moin – Thanks so much for the feedback. I really love how InfusionSoft treats their customers. I am a client of theirs and I feel like they truly care about my success and work hard to make sure I’m happy. That makes me want to tell everyone how awesome they are, of course! 🙂 While I don’t have any technical research, I’d think that happy clients are more likely to refer new business. What do you think?

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Hi Grant – Thanks so much for joining in the conversation. Gary Vee is a hoot and you are right, his company puts the customer first. I love examples of great service. It seems that it is so rare these days that it doesn’t take much to make your customers feel like you care. Keep rockin’ the awesome! 

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Hi Becky – Thank you so much for your insightful comment. I agree 100%. You are right that InfusionSoft probably should’ve been first on the list. I guess I thought I’d save the best for last, for those who read through the whole post. 😉 I’ve seen some usage of the NPS as a gauge as well. It does provide an interesting perspective. I think there is a difference between companies who live and breathe customer service and those who try to fake it, and as customers we quickly sniff out those who don’t authentically care about us. When we feel they do, we tell the world! 

  • Excellent Article. Thanks!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Sarah – Thank you! I’m so glad you found the post useful. I am a huge fan of giving customers “exclusive” stuff, whether it is first dibs on a big announcement or free merchandise. Sometimes, an unexpected surprise can go a long way in building a lasting relationship. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Jonathan – You rock! I’m sure @joemanna over at InfusionSoft is doing cart wheels right now when he reads your post. I’m a very happy InfusionSoft customer as well and can’t say enough about how awesomely helpful their team is. Plus the software is ridonkulously slick and ties in all of the business processes we need to grow. Thanks for commenting!

  • Moin, 

    Nichole is absolutely right — the more we serve our customers the more satisfied they are, the more revenue they provide and the longer they stick with Infusionsoft making for truly a life-long relationship. And it’s not just customers — we treat our ‘prospects’ a similar way — always trying to deliver more value and educational materials so they can make well-informed decisions for their business’ growth. 

    Joseph Manna
    Community Manager, Infusionsoft

  • Thank you, Nichole! Glad we have left a superior impression on you between our service, sales and support. We know very well what it takes to earn our customer’s approval and work very hard to do it every month. 

    Case and point, you’re telling the world about Infusionsoft and all we had to do is make you happy. 🙂 

    Once again, thanks! 🙂 

    Joseph Manna
    Community Manager, Infusionsoft

  • One of the great takeaways that Gary Vaynerchuk shared at InfusionCon 2012 (our annual user conference), was the need to focus on retention and to worry less about acquisition. That’s why a lot of successful companies that are success are offering more services that sustain and grow the relationship instead of less.

    Joseph Manna
    Community Manager, Infusionsoft

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Hi David – Thanks so much! I’m thrilled it added value. Thanks for taking the time to share your feedback.

  • NPS is a great measure and we use it internally as we gauge customer’s perceptions and ability to recommend us to others. Social media is more of a vehicle to make that happen and we treat social media just as any other contact channel and provide exceptional service every time. A few blips here and there, but there is *always* a caring person on the other end who wants to help you succeed. 🙂 

    Joseph MannaCommunity Manager, Infusionsoft

  • Dude, you rock! 

    Thanks for adding your thoughts to this post. It always amazes me and makes me proud to see our customers out in the wild talking about how great Infusionsoft is. Glad we could leave a lasting positive impression on you and love that you’re very active in our online community. 

    Joseph Manna
    Community Manager, Infusionsoft

  • You called it. 😀 

  • Deniseora

    Thanks Nicole – I really enjoyed reading this.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Hi Deiseora! Thanks so much. Thanks for commenting.

  • Very simple and basic Marketing principles applied to Social Media… and yet, marketers seem to forget how to apply these theories into the digital realm. Fear about the new technologies? Lack of confidence? Or simply not having enough trust?

    Excellent list Nicole, if I can just add one more tip – although it could be included as part of tip 4 – is: use Social Media as a tool to leverage your client satisfaction. There are many tools to track WOM, provide quick response to claims, and even provide Customer Service (I have seen this on Twitter).

    Thank you for the post. Very interesting reading

  • Absolutely Nichole, rather than implementing more funds and resources on fresh marketing plans, i think companies should focus more on existing clients as they are already aware of what you are doing and how you are doing. I am totally agree to you that happy clients are more likely to refer new business. I mean, be it a small chocolate brand or an expensive car brand, rule stays same: If you are happy with the product you’ll definitely speak about it to your friends, family and clients. And in the age of social media this has become even more universal. 

  • Right Joseph. This is social media and knowledge age, knowledge, education and quality content are more likely to bring new business than it is by traditional marketing campaigns like advertising. Am not saying that traditional marketing tactics are dead, but in this information era, information and education work as a fuel to company’s growth. No pure marketing and advertising, marketing with education and useful content is what make a win-win for both company and client. Thanks, love the way infusionsoft work, as said by nichole.

  • Australia business listing

    Hi Nichole, you have given very useful tips which are actually very helpful to improve sales of a product by frequent customers. I like your writing skills because it is motivating.

    Latika at mybusinesscentral . com . au

  • Lisa Gangadeen

    Excellent article. So many forget how important existing clients are as they primarily focus on winning new business. Thank you for this reminder. Also the 5 suggestions are right on target.

    -Lisa Gangadeen, President-The 33480 Group LLC

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Antonio- I love your addition. You are right, social media can really help you get a gauge on how your customers feel so you can fix customer service issues. I’ve seen that happen with @comcastcares I’ve watched the change in their customer service approach go from Twitter complaints being handled by national to now receiving excellent service in the field, which was a major problem when I started dealing with them. It’s nice to see feedback used to fix internal processes and improve the user experience. Thanks so much for commenting!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Hi Latika – Thanks so much. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the post!

  • Some good tips. It can be hard to engage with customers via social media without coming across too spammy. My best advice it to offer free vaulable information regarding to your service. This keeps customer interested in what you have to say.

  • Thanks for including us in this terrific post, Nichole. 🙂

    We get a great amount of engagement around our content, and we couldn’t be happier about it.

    All the best.

    Jason Boies
    Radian6 Community Team

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  • Great article! I’ve always been an advocate of engaging customers in social media with a two-way dialogue. This really does help a brand build deeper relationships and it makes the brand seem more human to the customers. Also, I recently tested a campaign that combined an email offer with social media and it performed very well. Having completed that campaign I definitely think there is opportunity to learn and grow there – so I’m excited to see it on the list! Great post!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Anita – I’m thrilled that you mentioned cross-channel integration with email. I am a firm believer that integrating social and email marketing campaigns generates the most success. Kudos! Thanks so much for commenting.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    @twitter-284865787:disqus Anytime. I have a ton of respect for what the @radian6:twitter team is doing. Thanks for commenting!

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Lisa – Thanks so much for the feedback. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  • Charles Oppenheimer

    Nichole, great article.  Very relevant tips.. have one more – “6. Ask them to recommend your business to friends”. What do you think?  

  • “Don’t be boring.” Word. Solid advice Nicole, makes me wonder how to apply it to businesses less suited for ‘regular’ customers. Just thinking past hotel chains, restaurants to other service providers – the kind of businesses we typically think of as ‘one-off’ buyers. 

    Another point about this – the importance of valuing the customers you already have. I wrote about a marketing fail in which I was hit up by a telemarketer for a promotion in my area. Catch: I was already a long-standing customer and had never been offered such a deal.. and wasn’t eligible either, which just piled on the fail. As you wrote it’s harder to get new customers, so doing better by the existing customer should be a no-brainer. FWIW.

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  • Kimberley

    Excellent article Nichole…thanks for sharing all of the GREAT tips 🙂

  • Kimberley

    Excellent article Nichole…thanks for sharing all of the GREAT tips 🙂

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  • Shouvanik

    A really informative article that has got my mind working on 6 more ways for optimizing the social media strategy for my organization. Heartfelt thanks.

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  • Wonderful points here Nichole. With these thoughts. Using of social media enables the marketers to develop stronger connection with their customers. These are generally vital for analyzing target markets and serve as the bases developing ways to acquire new clients.

    Thanks for sharing this great thoughts. Keep it up Nichole. Looking forward for the next post.

  • Thank you so much for this article. This helps a lot…

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