By Jenna Lebel
The principles of customer loyalty have not changed in the past 30 years– incentivize your best customers and they will not only remain patrons, but they will also tell their friends about their experiences with your brand. We’ve all heard the age old saying that it costs more to acquire a customer than it does to sell to an existing one. While the foundation of loyalty hasn’t changed, the technology and tactics certainly have. Loyalty is no longer just about points, discounts, miles, and rewards. It is about the way new processes, technologies, and ideas regularly engage an individual with a brand. It’s about relationships. Social media has amplified the positive impact of loyalty marketing. Here are 4 truths about social customer loyalty.
Likes ≠ Loves
Just because someone Likes you on Facebook or follows you on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram does NOT mean they love. It doesn’t mean they are a loyal customer. It doesn’t even mean they are a customer at all. People can easily shift loyalties with a click of a button in our global marketplace. The only way to guarantee a loyal customer base is to create unbreakable bonds through meaningful interactions. It can start with a Like, sure, but it can’t end there.
Exceptional Customer Service Is No Longer A Choice
Social media has raised the stake for customer service. Thanks to social media, consumers now have high expectations. They’ll spend more when they get good service and bail on purchases and companies when they don’t. A study from American Express earlier this year shows that Americans will tell an average of 15 people about positive experiences and 24 people about their poor experiences. The survey also found that of the people who have used social media for customer service in the last year, 80% of them say they’ve bailed on a purchase because of a poor service experience. Offering exceptional customer service on the social web is no longer an option, it’s a necessity.
It’s More Than Your Traditional Loyalty Program
According to eMarketer, the average American belongs to over 18 traditional loyalty programs. Points, discounts and coupons are great for rewarding your best customers, but they don’t help in forming deeper relationships with those customers. Social media can help a brand identify and interact with those loyal customers. Incorporating social media into an existing loyalty strategy is still a relatively new practice. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a few brands and retailers who have attempted to add social and mobile layers to an established loyalty program. MGM recently enhanced their existing loyalty program, Mlife, with social and mobile elements. MGM partnered with Visa and Topguest to expand their loyalty program to appeal to increasingly social and mobile users. Members will now get customized offers, specials and content based on their mobile and social activity, as well as their purchasing activity. In addition to the targeted, relevant offers, members are rewarded with credits for interacting with MGM across the social web.
Social Loyalty Will Be Even More Important In 2013
In 2013, social loyalty will become even more of a focus for digital marketers. In addition to more brands expanding their loyalty programs into social, we’re seeing other trends that indicate a stronger focus on loyalty in 2013. Facebook Collections is going to put “Want” and “Buy” buttons right next to “Like” and “Share” making it that much easier for brands to convert their most loyal fans. New social ad targeting will allow marketers to target, reach, and connect with their existing customer database and form deeper, more meaningful relationships with them.
What are your truths about social loyalty? Share in the comments section below.