We all know that social media can help you significantly increase sales and improve lead generation. Last year, Australians were recognized as the number one users globally of social media, and more than 75% of Australians are using the internet to shop.
But I believe many businesses are missing one of the key benefits of social media: improved customer loyalty.
Social media is the only communication platform that allows you to have a public, real-time two-way dialogue with your customers. Gone are the days of “pushing” information and promotions out to your customers via websites, advertisements, brochures, newsletters and e-mails. Instead, we’re moving towards a “pull” model of business communication, where it’s all about creating conversations, building relationships, encouraging users to interact with you and engaging them in your brand.
If you effectively employ this “pull” social media strategy, you will soon create an engaged, loyal customer base, which means 1) repeat business; 2) increased $ per purchase; and 3) customer referrals.
But perhaps most importantly, loyal customers are significantly more likely to write a positive online review about your business. And with over 70% of Australians reading online reviews on brands, products and services before making a purchasing decision, you can imagine what a vital role online reviews will be playing in business success over the next few years.
Here are five tips on how you can use social media to turn one-off customers into your most loyal fans:
1. Provide your customers with FREE interesting, relevant and useful information. If you’re selling baby products, share some tips on “how to choose a safe baby toy” or post a picture of your little one. This is also a great opportunity to set your business up as a thought leader in your industry or product category.
2. Run exclusive competitions, offers or discounts. Reward your social media followers for their loyalty. Run a special Facebook competition or provide a 50% coupon code to your Twitter followers. They’ll love you for it!
3. Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers what they think about your products/services. If their feedback is good, it’ll be a great peer recommendation. If it’s not, this is your opportunity to identify your areas of improvement and work on them.
4. Respond to ALL comments and questions. This is your opportunity to answer questions, fix problems, accept well-wishes and start building on those relationships. Make sure you are always polite and endeavor to respond within 24 hours.
5. Be personable. Customers don’t want to interact with just another faceless, nameless company representative. Social media is a great way to show that your business is made up of real human beings who all have their own interests, likes/dislikes and opinions.
About The Author:
Sonja Bertrand is the owner of Sydney social media marketing firm Cloud Public Relations, and works with small businesses that are struggling with social media, internet marketing and online reputation. She specialises in creating innovative social media strategy and looking after your day-to-day social media tasks, so you can focus on your core business activities.