Since it’s worldwide launch in September 2005, Facebook set a new precedent not only for our own personal communication but the way we do business with our customers.
Giving businesses the opportunity to market themselves directly at their target audience and let them in on what goes on behind the scenes at some of their favourite brands, social media has become the ‘go-to’ platform for all of our communication, and a vital cog in today’s marketing wheel.
But whilst many businesses will immediately see this door to potential customers as a way to boast about their brand and begin to acquire new customers, the real success of using social media is in it’s capacity to retain loyal customers.
We’re all well aware that it’s far more cost effective to retain current customers than to put the cost into acquiring new ones, and with statistics showing that 80% of a company’s future revenue coming from just 20% of it’s existing customers, it’s hard to ignore the cold hard fact that retention is where success lies.
Social media has become the driving force for retention because as a society it’s instant, quick and easy to voice our feelings without having to put any added effort into writing an email or picking up the phone.
Call it lazy or blame it on the social revolution, but the door is now wide open for the public to comment on your company’s product/service without so much as a word with a representative.
Whilst many businesses are still reeling at the thought of this reputation management, the truth is Social Media has provided us with an incredible opportunity to build loyal customers, and create authentic relationships with them.
Don’t Delete the Negative
It can be all too easy to remove any negative comments about your company when they appear on social media, but they’re there for a reason and you have to accept the fact that one way or another your company has let this person down.
As the old saying goes ‘the customer is always right’.
Rather than jump on the defensive and hit delete, grasp at the opportunity to publicly put this right.
Whether that’s by responding to the comment, or requesting an email so that you can contact them directly to settle the dispute.
Good and bad feedback is invaluable to your business as it provides you the chance to improve your product/ service and show your following that you take these matters seriously.
Developing this honest two-way relationship online may make you feel uneasy, but once you begin to create a helpful customer service approach to your social media management it will quickly enhance your customer’s feelings towards your brand and they’ll be more likely to interact with your page and trust your business.
Many businesses forget that their current social media followers are probably existing customers, after all, how else did they manage to find you?
There are too many brands who forget this and take a ‘sales driven’ approach to their social media management, which not only turns away the current customers who know this jargon, but it also comes across as false to new customers who may have stumbled across you. Rather than tell your followers something they already know, expand their minds with useful content.
The best way to promote your product/service is by showing them something they would not have thought of themselves. Come up with ideas about how your business can provide additional value to the product or service your existing customers already have.
When you can show how your product can be used creatively and share those uses, you not only encourage purchases, but you also become worthwhile following.
After all, social media is a personal platform, and if you’re not offering any insight or useful information, your followers will soon dwindle.
It may be your Facebook page, but don’t make every post about you and your business.
Not only is this self promotion a tired and dated marketing strategy but it’s unauthentic and offers nothing to your followers.
They know you and they know your product, so why not seek their opinions?
By giving your customers a place to share their views, images and videos, you’ll develop a deeper brand loyalty that will begin to help your reputation grow.
The key here is to ask questions, and ensure to comment and share when customers do supply you with incredible snippets of their own brand experience.
Facebook posts in particular should promote your core company values, celebrate brand advocacy and invite participation.
The very essence of social media may be getting on a little bit now, but there are still businesses who stumble on this area when it comes to retaining customers.
Improving customer retention can ultimately boost the bottom line of any company, but it’s not without a well thought out customer driven experience. And where better to give customers an experience than online.