Social media is continually considered to reach a broader audience and to increase leads and conversions, but is often overlooked for its potential to improve customer retention. According to Weinberg, Market Metrics confirmed that, “it’s 60% to 70% easier to convert an existing customer than a prospect.”
There are quite a few ways that social media can easily be integrated into current marketing plans to improve customer retention rates along with engaging new users, especially since previous customers can be the strongest testament of a brand.
1. Employ social listening to identify what customers interests are, what they like about your brand, and what they are still left wanting.
Social management tools can be used to monitor conversations including key words and phrases to learn about what is important to your customers to better help align your products, services, and future campaigns to serve their wants and needs (Hyder).
2. Utilize social management tools to also, “serve your customers where they spend their time” (Weinberg) and engage with them directly.
By social listening to customers online, organizations have the opportunity to directly respond to customer posts, either to thank them for their support or address any questions or concerns they may have. The direct messaging services now available on Facebook and Twitter also allow customer support teams to provide the ultimate live customer service experience by maximizing efficiency and effectiveness (Weinberg).
3. Identify and nurture potential brand advocates
Whether brands are listening or not, customers are talking about their experiences on social media with their friends and just like in person, word of mouth online speaks volumes for referrals. Pew’s December 2016 Online Shopping and E-Commerce report, found that, “39% of U.S. adults have posted on social media about their experiences or sentiment about brands” and “approximately 55% of Millennials and 50% of Generation Xers have done so” (Weinberg).
By acknowledging customer testimonials, it provides organic advertising that you can share to your social followings and helps identify your most engaged customers who can potentially become brand advocates too. Nurturing loyal customers into a brand advocates involves showing your appreciation for them and their time sharing their experiences with the brand and taking this relationship to the next level by rewarding customers for their enthusiasm (Hyder). This can be done through many forms such as sending these customers a small gift or coupon to show your appreciation, giving them members-only benefits and waiving the membership fees, or offering them an inside look at a new product that hasn’t been released yet (Hyder).
4. Give gifts
Hyder also suggests that regular gift giving to engaged and long-time customers, not only those who are potential brand advocates, will help build greater value for these customers with the brand and encourage their continued loyalty. These gifts again can be small and some examples Hyder gives are a “10% off coupon or an extended free trial”.