Using social media as part of your marketing strategy has always been considered one of the best tools for building brand awareness, but it is equally, if not more so, suitable for enhancing customer loyalty. Customer loyalty boils down to a simple equation: relationship equals interactions over time. Loyal customers are created when there’s a relationship between the customer and the brand, and nowhere is this easier than on social media where you have the ability to have more interactions more frequently with your customers.
There is no denying the value — a repeat customer means repeat business, and often over a longer period of time. When calculating lifetime customer value versus the cost of acquiring a new customer, it’s easy to see how incorporating social media as one of the cornerstones of your customer loyalty strategy is a worthwhile investment. Another upside of focusing on creating customer loyalty is that a devoted customer will also act as a brand ambassador, actively promoting your restaurant and providing invaluable exposure.
It can be helpful to consider social media an extension of your customer service. Using social media as part of your customer loyalty strategy reinforces the experience your customers have had with your restaurant, through every interaction you have with them after their visit until they dine with you again.
Engage in conversation
Use social media to encourage and engage in a conversation with your customers. Just as you would when they are in your restaurant, you want to show that you appreciate them, value their opinions and listen to their feedback. Your customers want to know they’re being heard and responded to quickly, so make sure you monitor your social media channels, replying to questions and comments.
With social media being there for everyone to see, this is the perfect platform to handle any negative feedback. Remember that your customers are paying attention, not only to what others have to say about your business, but also how you respond and deal with any concerns that might arise. Showing that you are paying attention and trying to quickly resolve issues is crucial in instilling confidence and creating loyal customers who trust your business.
Connect where they want to connect
In order to get the most out of your customer loyalty efforts, it’s important to know where your customers hang out online. Facebook and Twitter are obvious, but are your customers having conversations about your business elsewhere? You want to make it easy for your customers to connect with you, so make sure you have a presence wherever they might want to interact with you. Connecting with your customers on their terms also acts to reinforce your pursuit to provide excellent customer service at every touch point and your willingness to go the extra mile for your customers.
Another factor to consider is that of user-generated content. Each social media platform has its own strength. Using that to your advantage by encouraging content created by your customers allows you to build a community around your business and demonstrate that you value them.
Provide valuable content
If you’d like to know more how to use content to build customer loyalty, I’ve written a whole article on the topic which can be found here.
Show that you care
It’s important to remember that building loyalty is a two-way street. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship. Reward your loyal customers for their repeat business and offer an incentive for them to keep interacting with you on social media. Behind-the-scenes content, public thank-you’s, and exclusive deals or discounts are quick and easy ways to nourish your relationship with your customers.
Social media might make it easy to interact with your customers, but making sure those interactions are meaningful and works toward creating loyalty is hard. By continually listening, engaging in conversations, and providing value using content and great customer service, you’ll have a great chance of building long-lasting relationships with your customers.