The Internet is peppered with blog posts about how to generate leads and get more customers through social media and rightfully so; it’s a fantastic topic worth talking about. But I rarely (if ever) see posts about how to use social as a means to retain current customers.
That’s astounding to me, especially considering what an amazing tool social media can be for surprising and delighting your current customers to keep them coming back! Soooo, I decided to do something about it and this post is that something. Enjoy.
The statistics vary quite a bit, but the consensus is that it cost four to 30 times as much to attract a new customer versus retaining a current one. Even on the low end of the spectrum, that’s HUGE!
So how can you use social to retain customers? Let’s take a look at five ideas for using social media to keep your customers coming back for more:
1. Use Social Media as a Customer Service Tool
Okay, I admit this one isn’t really “creative.” But if you do nothing else, for the love of dog, monitor your social media accounts to provide customer service and support.
More and more, people are taking to social to complain about a bad experience (which happens even to the best of businesses from time to time), and they expect a response. Don’t believe me? Go to Twitter and search “#complaint.”
This poor gal apparently created a Twitter account just to lodge a complaint! All five of her Tweets were about this issue and she stated in one of them that she’d been waiting over a week for a response through other channels.
I’ve protected her identity because, well, I don’t really know the rules and better safe than sorry.
Anyway, do you think Anonymous here would rent a car from Avis again if she didn’t get a response? (For the record, Avis did respond and provided a customer service email address for her within 24 hours; I checked.)
In many cases, a prompt response to rectify a bad situation can earn you a customer for life. Showing genuine concern and remedying a bad experience often leaves a more lasting impression than if everything had gone well in the first place. Embrace these opportunities.
Monitoring social media for complaints can also be a great indicator of a serious organizational problem. If you’re dutifully watching your social media accounts and notice the same or similar complaints consistently popping up, there’s an issue you need to address.
2. Create a Check-In Campaign on Facebook
When someone checks into your business, Facebook will send you a notification; ignoring those is a huge wasted opportunity. Basically, someone likes your business enough to share with their friends that they’re patronizing it. These people are sharers by nature. Harness that and use it to your advantage!
Try this: every time you get a notification that someone has checked into your business, leave a comment in their post and tell them, “Hey, thanks for stopping by [insert your business name here], we hope you had a great time! If you send us a direct message saying “I want a surprise,” you might just get one!” or something along those lines.
Then follow up with a coupon for a small discount off their next visit. Think about it, you’ve rewarded them with an incentive to come back, given them another reason to check in again, and chances are (because they’re sharers, remember) they’ll tell their friends what happened and encourage them to try it for themselves.
Admittedly, this method is going to be a tad labor intensive as there’s no real way to automate this process. For small businesses this may be a challenge to keep up with. But keep in mind, you don’t have to be Johnny-on-the-Spot and send the post right away. Have one of your employees dedicate some time at the end of each day look for check-ins and make the comments.
If you get to the point where it becomes a full-time job to keep up with all your check-ins, that’s what we’d call one of those “good problems.”
Record how many messages you’re sending out versus how many coupons are redeemed and judge if the promotion is worth it. My guess is that it totally will be.
3. Feature Customers on Social Media
People love to be recognized. Featuring your customers on social media is a great way to honor your most loyal patrons and show new ones that you care.
Imagine asking one of your customers if it’s okay to feature them as the “customer of the month.” Get their permission, snap a quick photo, make a nice template for a “Customer of the Month” image, and slap it up on Facebook or Instagram or wherever.
If we did one, it might look like this:
Personalize it in the post with some details about your regular customer, like what they order, or that they pop-in every Wednesday morning like clockwork, whatever the case may be.
Do you think that’s something they would share on social media? I know I do! That’s amazing PR for your business and it didn’t cost you a thing.
You may even have customers come in inquiring about what it would take for them to be the Customer of the Month. If you have enough interest, feature a customer of the week or day!
4. Create Follower-Exclusive Specials
Entice your Fans to keep an eye on your Page by offering Fan-Exclusive deals that are announced only on social media.
If you do run a promotion like this, my advice is to make it easy for your customers to take advantage of it. Don’t require them to print something out or search for the post for proof. Just have them mention that they saw the post and give them the deal.
Again, make sure to have your employees track how many of these discounts are given out and you can gauge the success of these campaigns.
5. Use Social Media to Announce News and Specials
Got a hot new product or running a time-sensitive deal? Make sure your customers are aware of it by posting it on social media!
For something like this, you should consider paying to promote it, especially on Facebook. You want to make sure this reaches as many of your fans as possible, which an organic post simply won’t. But, don’t fret; you won’t need a huge budget for this. It’s pretty amazing how much increased reach you can get for just a five or 10-dollar boost.
Even if you’ve never done Facebook advertising, this is a super easy task. You don’t even need to create an ad, just boost the post with a few clicks.
After the post is live, click the “Boost Post” blue button in the bottom left of the post. When the pop-up appears, choose the “People who like your Page” option for the audience, choose your budget, how long you want the boost to run, and you’re done.
Remember, if people have liked your Page, they’re interested in your product or service. Use this method to stay top of mind and give your customers a reason to come back.
Don’t worry about giving a discount to a customer that’s already going to come back either. If they’re repeat customers and following you on social media, reward them! This is another way to create not just repeat business, but customers for life and brand ambassadors through word of mouth advertising.
We’ve gone over five ideas to use social media to retain your current customers, but really the opportunities are boundless. You have a direct line to you customer base when they choose to follow you on social. Get creative and put your own spin on these ideas or come up with some of your own (and if you do, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section).
Just remember that social media marketing entails more than generating new leads; it can also help nurture your current customers and leave them craving for more of what you have to offer.