Customer Retention: How to Use Social Media to Gain Customers’ Loyalty
More than a decade ago, when I was still in school, I fell in love with the spy comedy-drama Chuck starring Zachary Levi, which you’ll be seeing in the upcoming Shazam! from DC, in the titular role. Chuck was very funny, but it was also somewhat quirky and even then, I remember being the only one in my circle that regularly watches the show. It wasn’t exactly a hit over in the United States and that in 2009, the show was in danger of being cancelled before fans swoop in and helped organize a campaign with the sandwich chain Subway, which was featured in the show, and actually saved Chuck.
You can’t see me right now but as I’m typing this, I have to admit I teared up a little bit reminiscing about all that. Chuck was the first TV show that I followed from day one and with how pop culture fandom has grown so suffocatingly toxic in recent years, it’s nice to remember a time when passionate fans are actually capable of doing something good. This kind of loyalty Chuck has inspired in its fans is the kind of thing that brands should be looking to cultivate, which should be easier now thanks to the proliferation of social media.
The relationship between brands and their customers
The current relationship between brands/companies with their fans is probably at the most reciprocal compared to at any point in history. While the public has had some power over a company’s decision, most notably concerning the ‘New Coke’ fiasco of the 80s, I daresay that customer’s voice are stronger than ever, even when it’s about something that are comparatively small. When 2017’s Avengers: Infinity War was made available to stream in Netflix, the streaming service was forced to change their description of Thanos from an ‘intergalactic sociopath’ to ‘so-called savior’ after visible backlash.
It’s small but this is the kind of thing that I’d like to see brands do more as it shows that they’re actually listening to what people are saying over on social media. The Thanos debacle actually started from a Twitter uproar and is an example of how social media can have a way of amplifying things. It’s wrong for brands to simply focus on follower counts and the number of likes when it comes to social media as they can be a very effective tool to cultivate customer’s loyalty as long as you use them properly, as explained in the following.
Don’t just talk, but listen and respond
Naomi Osaka is now the number 1 female tennis player in the world and she also has two Grand Slam titles under her belt at the tender age of 21 but those aren’t the things that have endeared her to the tennis world. No, it’s her weird, dry sense of humor and the fact that despite the increased attention and pressure on her, she still takes time to reply to comments on her Instagram account. As I’ve hinted when I said that relationship between brands and customers being more reciprocal than ever, it’s important to use social media for a two-way dialogue as it was meant to be.
Depending on how big of a business are you, you might not be able to respond to every comment and queries thrown your way but you should always try to do so. It would also be a good idea to respond to mentions of your brand from other people’s account, even in just a small way. You don’t even have to limit yourself to your own social media account. Try going to Quora every once a while and see if there’s any question related to your industry that you can help answer.
Show the world what you stand for
It’s boring when brands insist on using corporate speak for every part of their social media interaction. It is important to remember that at its core, social media is used for casual interaction and while there are professional standards you have to uphold, it’s also important to allow some of your brand’s personality to shine through. Showcase your values and interests to remind everyone that there is indeed a living, breathing person behind all of the corporate speak and show the world what you believe in.
Cause-based marketing is in vogue right now, as can be seen in Nike’s ad with Colin Kaepernick and Gillette’s #MeToo ad railing against toxic masculinity. If there’s a good cause that you truly believe in, it doesn’t necessarily have to be political, try to show them in your social media account. It might be a good idea to tie this with what you’ve been doing in terms of corporate social responsibility. If this is too risky, simply showing a behind-the-scenes footage of how your company works and the people within them could be an alternative.
Quality, not quantity and post relevant content
Shitposting, pardon my French, is a social media trend that’s been on the rise in the past few years. There are various explanations for this term, but I take it to mean the act of posting somewhat worthless and absurd contents in a high frequency meant to confuse the audience. Poorly photoshopped memes and non-sequituur jokes that make absolutely no sense belong in this category. They’re not all unfunny, sometimes the sheer absurdity of it all is what actually makes it hilarious but it’s fair to say that they tend to be a complete waste of time.
This is the kind of thing you should always avoid as a professional enterprise. While you need to prepare a strategy that allows you to post contents regularly, quality should always be a priority. It’s also okay to share or post a joke every once in a while but you want these jokes to be something that is actually relevant to your industry. Still, the main goal is to make use of your expertise or experience in your field to provide something of tangible value to your audiences.