Most businesses think “I need to use social media to get more customers”.
You need to re-think this social media belief. People like in social media what they like in real life and that’s generally not strangers!
Social Media Success Summit 2013Jay Baer mentioned as part of his keynote address to #SMSS13 that:

84% of Facebook fans are current or former customers.

Therefore, social media should be used primarily for customer loyalty and retention.

Social Media For Customer Loyalty And Retention

It is common knowledge that:

  • It costs far less to retain a current customer than it does to attract a new one; and
  • People referred to a business from existing customers are usually the easiest sales to close.

So it’s time to approach social media with these two things in mind.

Top Of Mind Awareness

Social media allows you to keep your brand top-of-mind among people who have given you permission to do so. They give you this permission by liking, following or subscribing via their social media platform of choice.
Get this permission from your existing customers as a matter of priority!
Some of the ways you can do this include:

  • Promote your social media presence off-line;
  • Have a direct link for people to give you permission straight from your website (e.g Facebook Like Box);
  • Cross-promote your social media channels;
  • Email your existing clients and provide them with an incentive to encourage them to join your social media communities (or better still, just one at a time);
  • Conduct competitions where it is a requirement that they join one of your social media communities in order to enter and promote this to your existing customers;
  • Create a custom audience using your existing client email database within Facebook Power Editor and promote your Facebook Page to this audience; and
  • Encourage your staff to be social media advocates for your business.

Once you have this permission from your existing customers, to effectively stay top-of-mind you need to think “what can we provide our community with that they will find interesting, useful and are likely to share with their friends?”

  • Discounts and special offers;
  • Relevant content that either educates, entertains or empowers; and most importantly
  • What will help them most – Give them that!

Youtility - Jae Baer - Social Media For Customer Loyalty And Retention
Jay Baer quotes within his best-selling book, YOUtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype:

Sell something, and you make a customer. Help someone, and you make a customer for life.

It is through this type of thinking that you will encourage repeat business from existing customers, as well as start turning your customers into volunteer marketers, allowing you to get the more out of social media.

Friend Of Mind Awareness

Whilst people don’t generally like strangers, they will show an interest and be open to developing an ongoing relationship if introduced by a trusted friend. Create an environment where your current customers are keen to introduce your business to their friends.
Use social media for customer loyalty and retention primarily and I guarantee as a spin off you will get more customers. Get your focus the other way around and I can’t guarantee the same results!
Do you have any tips or examples of how your businesses has used social media for customer loyalty and retention? If so, share them in the comments below.