The Connections Between Social Media and Brand Loyalty
Many of us are subject to brands from a young age; either by advertising or friends and family, influencing us for a future of consumerism. By the time we’re old enough to make consumer decisions, we are already somewhat aware of which brands we wish to associate ourselves with, proving that customer experience not only applies to active customers, but potential ones too.
In recent years, social media use has exploded, resulting in brands taking to these social platforms to market their brand.
Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a company that doesn’t use at least one of the big three – Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. However, it takes more than simply having a social media presence to influence brand loyalty. Here we take a look at some of the main ways brands use social media to influence brand loyalty.
Have Regular Interaction
An active brand is a successful brand, therefore maintaining a constant social presence and interacting with your customer base is the first step to amassing a loyal following.
The way you interact with customers online will lay the foundations as to how others will interact with you in the future.
A great example of this is from Samsung. One loyal Samsung customer got in touch with them on Facebook, with a request for a free galaxy s3. This customer explained that he owns many Samsung products, and even included a drawing of a dragon hoping this would improve his odds of receiving the handset.
Unsurprisingly, Samsung declined. However they did send him a picture of a unicycle-riding kangaroo as consolation.
After the interaction went viral on reddit, Samsung saw the potential to build some brand brownie points and sent him the phone, even customizing it with his artwork!
Needless to say, this loyal customer was very happy and is most likely still buying Samsung products. Samsung, (having displayed their brand as customer-friendly) have likely benefited from increased brand awareness and a spike in social shares from this impromptu viral campaign.
People love customer-centric businesses that are always on the lookout to offer new and exciting deals to their customers. Be that business!
Build Exemplary Customer Service
Customer service is one of the cornerstones of your brand and building it takes time, resources and dedication. Many brands spend a significant portion of their revenue on their customer service, lending credence to the fact that it is an essential practice.
A brand’s image can be easily defined by what their customers think of them. Teletext Holidays for example have an active presence on trustpilot, however they receive more 1 star reviews than 5, (37% to 34%) giving the impression that their customers are having many more bad experiences than good – casting a negative light on their brand.
A brand with bad customer service is like a boat with a few holes in it; it floats, but if more appear and they’re not fixed, people are unlikely to want to get on board.
However, negative reviews are not a bad thing. They can actually provide an opportunity to showcase your brand in a positive light. Don’t fight the feedback. Brands need to make sure to be on top of their reviews – responding and offering support to the negative experiences, whilst not forgetting to offer gratitude to the positive ones!
To ensure that no mention of your brand slips through the cracks, it is important to have a program such as Mention in place to track all mentions of your company on both the web and social media.
Reward their Loyalty
Offering free goods and discounts to your services can be a rather effective method when it comes to retaining customers and increasing ROI – whilst at the same time providing potential customers with an enticing reason to start using your services.
There are many ways to implement customer rewards. Depending on your business, some will be more effective than others. The general consensus is that mobile rewards tend to be the best method for retailers to encourage spending.
According to Collinson Latitude, 59% of UK consumers would likely use a mobile offer if they are made part of that brand’s loyalty program.” This goes to show that consumers are wanting to actively engage in smartphone based loyalty schemes, and are waiting for you to invite them in.
Devising the right loyalty scheme can be challenging as businesses need to consider how it will offer value to their customers, whilst concurrently driving sales and profiting the company.
Getting the audience to participate
Audience interaction may sound like one of those marketing buzzwords we all like so much, though it makes more sense when you apply the phrase to a real life scenario.
Imagine if you will, that your brand is a stand-up comedian; the audience is more likely to tell their friends about the act if the comedian has involved them somewhat in his performance, instead of simply performing for them.
The same can be said for your brand online.
Developing user-centric social media campaigns such as getting your customers to share funny pictures of your product for a competition, or developing a branded web series can be a brilliant way of eliciting word-of-mouth and social sharing. This can be a very rewarding method of customer acquisition, since your customers are doing the work for you.
Creating positive experiences
Many small businesses tend to believe that the key to brand success lies primarily in the success of their marketing campaigns or their presence on social media. Usually, it’s neither of these. Ultimately, brand success lies in creating a positing experience for their customers and perpetuating this ideal throughout every facet of the brand.
Positivity and passion is certainly required here!
GoPro is a prime example of a company that conveys positivity and passion through their entire brand. They have achieved this through maintaining a fantastic company culture and as a result, it has flowed into all aspects of their business – from customer support to marketing. This passion is then reflected back from their customers in the form of a loyal customer base who all share the same passion.
GoPro CEO Nick Woodman was quoted in saying that his brand was inspired by Red Bull, since the Red Bull brand is not about the drink, it’s about the extreme sports culture it has been built around it, using Red Bull as a platform to celebrate all that humans can accomplish.
This post was written by Mark, a digital marketing consultant with a penchant for customer loyalty.