It’s been years of listening, creating content, engaging with customers and fixing problems– all through social media. And, on the back-end of it all, marketers strive to create value by making sense of the connection between emails and sales and from social and website visits. It isn’t easy and there’s no one solution. However, there is a next phase of social media marketing that may tie this all together, and create a funnel to the brand’s best customers: social loyalty.
The next step in the evolution of social marketing – beyond advertising, listening and before that building – social loyalty presents unique opportunities for those brands that ‘get it’ first. Here’s why:
Real-time marketing is getting crowded and outdated
During every major event, hundreds, if not thousands, of brands have something to say that relates to them. And while the ‘winner’ is the one that continues to be talked about for a couple of days, there really isn’t ROI for a funny tweet. Seventy-seven percent of marketers say that they are not successful in tracking the ROI of their content programs, and in all reality, consumers are looking and ready for more.
Building, listening and advertising are good foundations
Yet, social media must go beyond being a brand hobby and deliver real conversion results. Consumers want to be surprised and delighted; to be understood and not sprayed at. And that’s the purview of traditional loyalty programs. By bridging consumer expectations to tangible rewards and results, brands can create and benefit from social loyalty.
The evolution is possible and a competitive advantage
Most brands already have programs running across channels that simply need to be connected. That provides the ability to quickly gain competitive advantage while delighting loyal customers in the way that they prefer to communicate.
The ultimate goal of social loyalty is to get a complete view of your most engaged customers, know their preferences and reward pre-defined behavior. Brands that excel at social loyalty have done so by:
- Connecting email and social handles. A brand’s social media followers and fans are likely to include happy, loyal customers. They have done the work to identify and group these consumers. The most popular way to do so is by socializing an existing email list, where customers are encouraged to take a specific social action which helps the brand connect the dots between their social handle and information in the CRM.
- Finding out which social channels customers want to use to communicate (hint: it can be different for different consumers). Many brands already analyze and report on which channels perform best in terms of engaging customers. Successful social loyalty initiatives push that to the next limit by adding some sort of conversion. For example, by creating a program that allows consumers to exchange personal information for an offer.
- Determining a social currency, or value around the actions a consumer takes, specifically on social that mention the brand. Whether they are talking directly to the brand, to their audience or recommending something to a friend, successful marketers are prepared with a variety of ways to surprise and delight people for their action(s).
- Have measurable goals that they consistently measure against. Instead of vanity metrics like engagement and social channel growth, these brands lean towards metrics that illustrate business impact like member acquisition, dollars spent per loyal customer, and brand reach.
Consumers are looking for quick acting apps, instant rewards, and a return for their engagement. You can either hire an army of community managers or create an automated, evergreen program that listens and rewards consumers for their actions, and ultimately gives you business insight that you can reference moving forward with marketing initiatives. With technology this is now possible, collapsing data silos to get a more holistic customer perspective while automating customer personalization and outreach.