Creating a strategy for customer retention through social media takes time and effort, but it offers a direct way to strengthen connections with loyal customers and opens the door to repairing your reputation with those who had a less than stellar experience.
As you build your customer retention strategy, make sure your social media team is conducting these best practices:
- Communicate and provide updated information
- Include online reviews in your social media strategy
- Listen to customers on social media
- Educate consumers
Communicate and Provide Valuable Information
A great way to expand your online presence is to use your social media account to inform and engage with customers. Go beyond the usual marketing campaigns to give loyal fans and interested parties insight into company culture and other aspects of the brand. Transparency establishes trust, which can effectively attract and retain customers.
Providing updated information along with that transparency is also highly useful to customers in tough times, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Updating customers on your operational status and new hours as well as showing your plan to help employees and/or the community during this time are all valuable pieces of community management. These efforts tell consumers that you plan to weather the storm and welcome them back in when the dust settles down.
Include Online Reviews in Your Social Media Strategy
While it’s important to manage the big social media platforms — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — you can’t forget about your online reviews. Showing off marketing reviews from happy customers forms a conversation between brands and potential consumers, and allows businesses to respond to reviews in public.
According to the survey data, 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to their review within seven days. That means social media managers need to cheer their positive reviews and act quickly to resolve the negative issues described in some pieces of customer feedback. Responding in a timely manner also tells people that you greatly care about their reviews. Showing value to feedback can be a major differentiator when people compare your brand against the competition for their next purchase.
By incorporating review management into your social media marketing strategy (and customer experience marketing strategy), you can talk to customers who had a bad experience and resolve the issue directly or send them to the appropriate customer success staff.
Listen to Customers
Customer retention rates increase when businesses listen to what customers have to say on social media. Social media channels give consumers a platform to voice their opinions about your business for anyone to see.
Customers want you to listen to what they have to say about your business. That means listening and responding to what they say to brands on social media.
Doing so allows you to gain insights into their experience, which can give you ideas on how to improve operations.
For example, let’s say you own a restaurant. You analyze customer feedback trends of your restaurant within social media channels, and see that dozens of customers talk about how the fries are burnt. You then tell your kitchen staff about it and ask them to make sure they are paying close attention to the fries.
By looking at the details people are sharing about your customer experience, you’ll find pain points that you can improve. If enough people are complaining about one area of your business, chances are there’s an issue, and your operations team should look at what’s causing the problem.
Your customers are a great source of feedback so make sure you listen to them online.
Educate Consumers on Social Media
You can also keep customers in the long run by positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. Do more than just sell a specific product or service. Be knowledgeable in the field and create content that enhances the purchase or relates to what you sell in the store. In addition to showcasing intimate knowledge on your products, you create content on social media that invites engagement and conversation.
REI is a great example of a thought leader in its space. The retail and outdoor services corporation also publishes articles on its blog about everything outdoors with categories on gear, how-to skills, and new experiences, which is also shared on social media to connect with their customers.
Sharing this content tells customers that REI is more than just a supplier for outdoor gear; it’s a company that is knowledgeable in the space and invests in all parts of the outdoor experience. This type of content can speak volumes about a brand and it’s commitment to customers. When people know you are an expert in your industry, they’ll continue to go to you to learn new things.
The Power of Social Media Engagement
Social media is a powerful tool to market to new customers, but it’s also effective in retaining those who already made a purchase from your business. By using your social media platform to its fullest extent you communicate and engage with customers, which helps your online reputation and increases exposure to more potential loyal fans.