by Oliver Brainerd
Do any idiomatic phrases ever smack you in the head with how odd they sound? Like, what do brass tacks have to do with basics? Beats the beets out of me.
On a basic level, the most profitable marketing in your toolbox comes from customer relationships. And the most profitable customer relationships are repeat customer relationships. You’re on the receiving end of this a lot. It’s a true thing that a lot of advertising has a component of attracting new relationships, but if you think about the brands you respond to well yourself, odds are you are a repeat buyer. They don’t need to bring into their audience because you’re already there. From that point, examine how you feel about new ads you see from your favorite brands. If you’re happy to see advertising from your favorite brands, or you’re at least not annoyed, then your brand crushes are doing something worth learning from.
There are a lot of tools you can use to keep in touch with your existing audience and customers. Right now, we’ll talk about customer retention through social media, because social media is cheap and available. It also lends itself to interactions based on genuine relationships with customers. People get on social media to keep in touch with friends and family. If you can create a positive association with your brand, you dramatically increase your odds of doing repeat business with your audiences.
It’s a mercenary attitude, but that’s why it’s important to get your branding solid. People look forward to hearing from brands that share their values.
Customer Retention Through Social Media
What is Customer Retention
Let’s talk really quick about “What is customer retention?”
Customer retention is when customers return to you to do business.
- You’re a house inspector, and a whole lot of realtors keep working with you.
- You’re an auto broker, and every couple of years people get a new car through you.
- You produce hand lotion. As soon as you implement a subscription model, everyone who jumps on that and doesn’t cancel is an example of customer retention.
Like so many powerful ideas, this is a simple idea, but not an easy one to implement. It’s simple to say that your ultimate goal is repeat business. Getting those repeat customers is easier said than done.
Customer Retention Strategies
Any customer relationship strategy has three elements:
- Get their attention
- Keep it
- Follow up
The foundations of a solid customer retention strategy rests on two pylons:
- Your product is good
- Your brand is relatable
By instinct, we figure that a good product or service is the only thing you need to get right to make people notice you. That’s only half true. People also need to understand why you’re doing business. A brand built on a customer’s values and interests is the other half of the machine. A relatable brand gives your customers a reason to want to do business with you, and not with the hundred other people also putting all their energy into making the most solid product or offering the best service they can.
A note about this word, “relatable.” Relatability in branding isn’t about creating a brand with universal appeal. That’s a mistake business owners make sometimes: trying to create a brand with universal appeal. That doesn’t work. So, what does work? Create a brand that a certain group of people really enjoy. Strong feelings equate to strong actions.
You’re setting yourself up to retain customers if you put energy into making a brand that speaks to the people who share your values. This also means honestly representing your own values.
An essential and easily neglected stage in any customer retention strategy is a good system for follow-up. You can make the prettiest advertising in the world, but you’re creating more work for your future self if you don’t have a system for getting back in touch with people engaging with your social media marketing.
Again, simple but not easy. Get their attention–keep it–follow up. Those are the main elements of a good customer retention strategy through social media.
Executing that strategy is something else.
Customer Retention Process
A solid customer retention process needs two things:
- Immediate attention
- Prolonged patience
Since the purpose of a customer relationship process is contact with human beings, you need to meet them where they are. And people tend to be two things: impatient with what’s in front of them, and dawdlers about anything not right in front of them.
Social media is a good tool to build your customer retention process around.
Like so many marketing tools, social media has a lot of flexibility. After working at it for a while, you’ll figure out the best way to use the platforms to represent your brand. Until then, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Bring all of your social media in line with your branding. That’s an essential first step in your customer retention process. People tend to favor one or two social media platforms over others. If someone doesn’t like using Facebook, they’ll look you up on Twitter. Avoid confusion: make sure all your social media accounts look like they belong to your business.
- Post regularly so that people can keep up with your brand. Anyone who engaged one time with your social media did it because they liked something they saw. If you consistently share content in line with your values, then you will raise your odds of retaining that engagement.
- Follow-up with people who engage with your social media content. Some businesses employ a full-time customer relationship manager whose sole job is responding to engagement on social media advertising. Consistent engagement with customers makes them feel like part of a community, and that is the most powerful marketing tool you can build.
How to Gain Customer Retention through Social Media
Meet people where they are. Those are your watchwords in the current marketing landscape. People are less and less interested in what anonymous corporations have to say. This helps you to have a professional brand–that inspires confidence. It helps you to build brand awareness that encourages genuine anticipation in your customer base. Also, it sounds kind of corny, but you want people to like you. If they like you, they’ll be excited to do business with you in the future.
ARC Creative Co. provides social media packages that help you create a relatable brand. Talk to one of our representatives about social media strategies for both acquiring new customers and customer retention. Schedule an appointment here.