As a digital marketer, our jobs are no longer niche or esoteric. In fact, the industry has become incredibly saturated and the only way to separate your business from the noise and is through your brand’s ethos and reputation.
Studies have shown that brand loyalty lowers price sensitivity and that the typical household is enrolled in anywhere between 19 and 29 loyalty rewards programs. The power of branding in cultivating customer loyalty cannot be overstated, but it’s not simply about having the right colors and mission statement.
Customers demand that brands take an active role in social issues from green sustainability to politics. Loyalty itself can come in many forms, but at the heart of it there exists a deep emotional connection between customers and brands that make all other competitors and products on the shelf practically invisible to the brand advocate.
Branding conforms to the 80/20 rule of marketing, where 80% of your revenue will come from the 20% of customers who are most loyal to your brand.
Here, I’d like to discuss how businesses can use social media to cultivate customer loyalty and brand advocacy.
First things first, in order to market to your customers you need to understand their needs, interests, and habits. Leveraging tools like Facebook’s ‘Audience Insights’ can deliver insights into important user boundaries, including demographic, psychographic, and behavioural data. Twitter and other social media platforms offer these insights, as well as social listening tools to see how far your brand’s reach extends.
Research these key characteristics to model your social media strategy behind:
What platforms your customers interact and log onto most?
What content of yours leads to most conversions or lead opportunities?
What hashtags and words do they use to describe your brand?
Which products do they share and comment on the most?
Are there any complaints or negative reviews you’ve received over social media?
In terms of content, you want to create authority and channels for engagement. Evergreen content and guest posts are effective for authority, but in terms of actually getting views and likes, video and livestream remain the most effective options.
Reward Early Adopters and Advocates
It’s important to identify and reward all early adopters of your brand. Throughout the customer lifecycle, these will be the people who will engage with your content the most, as well as make the most purchases from your business.
In terms of retention, consider tagging early adopters in post snippets to show your appreciation and reward them with swag or VIP gifts, such as exclusive discounts or access to exclusive content.
Hosts Contests and Promotions
On the same note, you want everyone in your audience to interact with your content and posts. Contests and raffles are a fun way to get people to comment on posts and even sign up on your site for free rewards. This presents another marketing opportunity to follow up on them afterward through email and other personalized promotions.
Tap into your influencer marketing campaign and you can significantly increase your audience’s reach through social media giveaways. Influencers not only give you access to a pre-established audience base, but one that’s more engaged and loyal.
Share User-Generated Content
Another way to reward customers and engage them is by sharing user-generated content. This goes hand-in-hand with contests, such as encouraging people to submit pictures of themselves with your products and then sharing the results to engage your community. User-generated content is highly trusted and provides social proof for your products or services.
Leverage Brand Storytelling
This tip might sound a little obtuse, but people seriously demand that brands show personal and behind-the-scenes content, especially brands they’re most loyal too. This could include showcasing your corporate wellness program, a company picnic you recently had, or your business in the news. Studies have shown that storytelling could actually increase the value of your ads and product listings.
Use Social Media for Engagement
Finally, use social media what it’s really for: a tool for engagement. Organic social media marketing isn’t an effective strategy by itself. But the best aspects of social media still provide value, from directly communicating with your audience members, engaging with communities through discussion forums, or even responding to customer complaints. The biggest brands don’t ignore their customers, because loyalty is a two-way street.