Want to decrease customer acquisition costs?
When you cultivate relationships with social media, you improve customer retention and ultimately boost your bottom line.
In this article I'll share how top brands use Facebook to improve customer retention, and how you can apply their tactics to your social media marketing.
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The Value of Customer Retention
It's easier to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. Gartner, Inc. statistics show that 80% of a company's future revenue will come from just 20% of its existing customers. Furthermore, according to Bain & Company (working with Earl Sasser of Harvard Business School), a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company's profitability by 75%.
With social media, the door is wide open for companies to build relationships 24/7 with the customers who influence referral rates and keep their businesses alive and thriving.
#1: Embrace Your Brand Advocates
Give your customers a place to share their voice and their stories, and you'll develop a kinship that will lead to brand loyalty.
The Walt Disney Company, which has been the go-to source for brand and relationship marketing inspiration for more than 50 years, has truly embraced social media. The Father's Day post below personifies that commitment to fans.
Disney took a story that applies to a substantial segment of its audience, and put it into video form using recognizable characters. This Facebook post does three things: promotes Disney's core values, celebrates its brand advocates and invites participation.
#2: Provide Exceptional Customer Service
Fans who turn to Facebook for answers can quickly become loyal customers, especially if you respond to them immediately and with accurate information.
JetBlue has perfected the art of customer service with their remarkable ability to respond to their more than one million Facebook fans within mere minutes of a comment or post to the page.
JetBlue sees each social media conversation as an opportunity to cultivate an enduring relationship with specific individuals. They empowered their team members to do what it takes to improve the customer experience and repair potentially broken relationships.
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Although most businesses may not have the resources to monitor their social media accounts 24/7, they can provide the tools and encourage their team to do whatever is necessary to enhance their customers' experiences online, as well as in-store.
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#3: Show Additional Uses for Your Product
If there are other uses for your products, let your customers know. If there aren't, see what you can come up with and share those uses with your fans.
Oreo, which has been very active with social media marketing, has taken relationship building to an entirely new level by sharing recipes via video to promote their product.
These 10- to 30-second videos directly resonate with existing customers, who also happen to be their target audience. Through these videos, Oreo gives customers (who ideally have a package of Oreos sitting in their pantry) additional uses for their product. The result is customers keep eating and purchasing their cookies.
Brainstorm to determine how your business can provide additional value to the products or services your existing customers already have. When you consider how your product can be utilized creatively and share those uses, you encourage additional purchases, while you cultivate customer relationships.
#4: Address Customer Concerns Publicly
Business owners and marketers aim to develop strategies with precision and avoid mistakes. However, no brand is immune to mishandled incidents, mismanaged campaigns or a full-blown social media crisis. If a mistake has been made by your brand on any scale, be humble and apologetic, and find a way to move forward.
A few years back, LOFT, a clothing brand owned by Ann Taylor Inc., nearly destroyed itself on Facebook by posting a professional, slim female modeling a new line. The response from their audience (of real people) was passionate to say the least.
While LOFT initially remained silent, they were developing a highly effective response strategy that launched the next day. As an alternative to the perfect models who were representing their clothing line, LOFT posted photos of actual staff members posing in their trendy clothing. The women were of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. They added a personal touch by explaining why they liked the new outfits.
The new, more humble marketing approach appealed to LOFT Facebook fans and did more than redeem the brand, it endeared them to their audience. LOFT admitted they had made a mistake, and rectified it in a relatable, swift fashion.
There's something captivating and inherently appealing when an individual, or in this case a brand, admits a wrong and then grows from it. Should your company find itself in a situation, own up and step up, so you retain your customers and potentially get new ones too!
Facebook can and should be used as a customer acquisition tool in today's competitive marketplace. Because it can be far more cost-effective to retain a customer than to obtain a new one, you should also use Facebook for customer relationship management.
What do you think? What other examples of customer retention tactics have you seen? How does your brand build enduring relationships with its customers on Facebook? What does your brand do to keep customers happy and improve retention? Let us know in the comments.
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