The sales funnel is the process through which marketers and sales professionals lead potential customers with the goal of convincing them to convert or to make a purchase. Within these sales funnels are various touchpoints, which can be defined as any encounter in which the business and its customers interact. There are many instances when such interactions can occur, like when a customer views a company’s television commercials and billboard advertisements, or when a purchase transaction is made at the point-of-sale in a store.
With the expansion of the Internet in recent years, social media has emerged to become one of the most important tools that businesses can use to interact with their customers. Although they were largely seen as useful in creating exposure for brands and for promoting products and services, social media platforms have also proven to be indispensable when it comes to forging customer loyalty.
Beyond the distinctly linear sales funnel model, there is also what is known as the loyalty loop model, which highlights how customer loyalty is built and re-built at every interaction or touchpoint during the sales process. This means that even after making a purchase, a customer will always re-evaluate their decision to continue patronizing a brand, product, or service. The role of marketers is to keep a company’s customers loyal so that they don’t consider any alternatives down the road.
Social media presents an opportunity for companies to develop a constant stream of content that can help assure customers that they made the right decision to continue patronizing the brand. If delivered with clear, consistent, and compelling messages, social media content can become an integral part of your overall marketing efforts.
The following are some of the best practices you can follow to leverage the power of social media content and to use it to increase customer loyalty.
Interact with your customers
It may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of social media managers do need to be reminded that customers like it when companies or brands interact with them on social media. Show how much you appreciate your customers by responding to their questions and messages or by commenting on the photos they share. This may be time-consuming task, but it really pays off. Also make it a point to respond to all customer complaints. Always be respectful and demonstrate genuine willingness to help.
Reward your customers
Your fans and customers are important to you, and you can remind them of this fact by offering rewards through your social media channels. Coupons, discounts, and contests, are just some of the things you can dole out on a regular basis to keep your followers happy.
Get content partners
Build partnerships with other companies or brands to maximize your exposure to potential customers. A bookshop, for instance, can partner with a children’s literature author to promote the writer’s new books. The two parties can cross-promote each other’s brands on their social media channels, and they can also mount special events and campaigns to highlight the partnership. For example, they might consider giving books to charity or launching a book-reading campaign for kids.
Turn your followers to brand ambassadors
Followers often bring their loyalty to the next level by becoming ambassadors for the brand. Fan pages of sports team, for instance, can ask their followers to wear their official jerseys and to post pictures of themselves on their own social media accounts. This demonstrates how you can engender loyalty by encouraging your customers to create user-generated content featuring your brand.
Show your customers that you care about what they have to say by asking them to review your brand. Don’t worry about receiving criticism or negative feedback. Consider bad reviews as an opportunity to discover not only your strengths but also your weaknesses so that you can take the necessary steps to make your products and services better. Again, answer such comments politely, and demonstrate your readiness to take on the challenge of making improvements.
Show your human side
Small, random acts of kindness shared on social media can demonstrate the human side of your brand. Sending small gifts to deserving fans can really mean a lot to your followers. Or how about sharing photos from your company’s charity event and family day or pictures of your office pets? There are a lot of things you can share on social media that can surprise your followers and make them really feel good about being part of your community.
Remember, creating a continuous cycle of positive customer experiences is key to building customer loyalty. Social media is one of the best tools you can use to achieve this, so make sure to use it wisely.