By Guest Blogger, Anita Loomba
In the ever evolving world of social media, companies often struggle with determining how to acquire and retain customers using the various media outlets. Facebook and Twitter are two social media platforms that provide an immense opportunity to reach millions of potential or current customers in a single community. Key factors that make these tools so beneficial is that it not only helps build brand awareness but it can also help form a loyal relationship with the followers. Here are some tips to help retain your fan-base:
Monitor what customers are saying about your brand
Monitoring your social media presence is very important. You will never know what your current and potential customers love or dislike about your brand until you survey them for feedback. The powerful thing about social media is that if someone says something about your brand, it’s publicly available for everyone to see. A search on search.twitter.com can provide some insight. Here is an example:
As you can see from above, a simple search brought us to a post about a follower congratulating the company on its new grand opening. There could also be instances of customer service issues that can be resolved on the spot if continuous monitoring is happening.
Another free tool that is worth exploring is Social Mention. This social media search and analysis platform researches user generated content from around the web and even provides insight into sentiment, top keywords and top users.
Explore offers that are exclusive to your fan base
Fans will follow you because you offer something they like – it could be a product, service or they just think of your brand when shopping in your category. Once you have their attention, it’s important to retain it so they come back for more. A great retention tool is offering them deals or discounts that are exclusive to them. This could be a special welcome offer that is fan-gated or a product discount that is only available via Facebook or a promo code on merchandise that is exclusively available on Twitter.
Pictured above is a campaign launched by Pepsi where they have partnered with a loyalty card service to track customers who have purchased this deal and receive $5 back. What makes this even more interesting is that the $5 can be either: directly deposited in your bank account or paypal account, transferred to an Amazon Gift card, or donated to nonprofit conservation organization American Forests. With Diet Pepsi already having over 200,000 fans, this offer will engage many.
All of these examples provide opportunities for fans to return and shop with you more – and potentially even invite others to join in as well.
Provide your followers early access to sales, events or even new merchandise
Another aspect of exclusivity is being first in line for special occasions. This can include new products, events or large sales. If you’re a member of Nordstrom’s Fashions Rewards program, you may be familiar with this concept. They understand that giving card members the chance to have early access to one of their biggest sales of the year – the Anniversary sale – will likely bring in additional revenue. Using Facebook, you can create special events and invite your fans, feature new merchandise, or share an exclusive link to a sale. For example, 7 For All Mankind, has created a special shop on Facebook which is exclusively available to their fans. Fans and customers can now shop new collections on Facebook before they are even available online.
Using Facebook as a new media channel, the company is not only able to reach out to customers who may not be fans, but also engage with their existing audience, creating a form of a loyalty program. These types of campaigns benefit from great word of mouth marketing.
Encourage your fans to share
A key factor of loyalty marketing is keeping an open relationship with your customers. Facebook is a great way to start that conversation. Inspire your most loyal fans to provide insight into how they would like to connect with the brand. For example, conduct a poll to discover what new products/features your fans would like to see or encourage fans to share a picture of their experience with your brand. It’s vital to post content that is relevant to your followers as content is king. The more interested your fans are, the more they will share!
As you can see, there are countless ways to engage fans using this amazing platform. The word of mouth marketing opportunity is enormous and businesses should take the Facebook “like” one step further.
Facebook is often a missed opportunity for many companies. I want to clarify that any type of social media marketing should not replace your current marketing efforts; it should complement it to create an integrated and multichannel approach that is well received by your customer.
Here comes the big question: Is your business using Facebook to its fullest potential?
Anita works for Fred Meyer Jewelers as a Relationship Marketing Manager directing social media, customer insight and analytics. She loves traveling, cooking, photography and all things social media. You can also follow her at @anitaloomba.