Keeping customers has always been harder than acquiring them in the first place. And with the nearly unlimited options now available to consumers, brands have to work that much harder to attract and retain consumer loyalty. Luckily, Social Media Analytics eliminates the guesswork of how to approach that task.
This is Part 5 of our Complete Analytics Guide series. This series will form a comprehensive Social Media Analytics Guide, with in-depth discussions about the following facets in the coming weeks:
- What is Social Media Analytics
- What is Social Media Monitoring?
- How to Analyze Social Media Analytics
- Competitor Analysis & Executive Reporting
- Customer Retention & Community Management <Currently Viewing
- Crisis Management & Response
Each section will explore how to use Social Media Analytics tools to achieve specific brand goals and maintain optimum brand health.
Connect and keep them coming back
Walt Disney never experienced social media, but his advice to “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends” applies to both online and offline brand efforts.
Everything we’ve talked about in the first few posts of our series is centered around understanding consumers – which is not only the key to attracting them, but to keeping them as well.
You’ve got to be more than a brand – you’ve got to be a friend; your store – whether brick and mortar or ecommerce site – has to be a destination. You’ve got to use Social Media Analytics to provide an unparalleled customer experience, because that’s what breeds loyalty.
And there are several ways to do that.
Encourage and recognize participation
One great way to keep consumers coming back is to involve them in the process in some way – your Social Listening should give you an idea of what makes sense.
Consider the fan art highlighted each week on Talking Dead, the Walking Dead’s after show. AMC didn’t just decide to showcase local artists and put out a rallying cry – they saw that fans on social were already sharing their creations. They simply gave them an incentive to make and share more – a moment in the spotlight on national television. The chance to see their own artwork featured keeps fans tuning in.
Lane Bryant, for another example, created a microsite for their #ThisBody campaign, complete with verbiage for their followers to borrow for comments if they like. They know their followers care about body positivity, so they created a way for them to talk about it – along with empowering videos of plus-size models and performers to inspire conversation.
The only “right” approach is the one that works for your customers. That’s why audience analysis is so paramount. Unless you know what’s driving the various segments of your audience, you can’t offer up the content that speaks to them. And something as simple as a hashtag can provide a sense of community.
That sense of belonging to something special is how you create brand loyalty. Of course it’s not just online activities that matter. Social media is nothing if not a mirror for all your brand puts out in the world – and that includes the experience you create for consumers offline.
When shoppers have a great experience at your store, they share it on social media. So too when they have a bad experience. You’ve got to use all the insights coming at your brand to decide how best to exceed consumer expectations, and get them talking on social media.
You want your fans to be so dedicated they are thinking of you even when they’re not shopping. You want them to feel so “seen” they share everything on social. Every time they wear that shirt they bought at your store as they’re running to Starbucks for a latte. Every time they play your brand’s newest board game with friends. Every time they visit your restaurant.
Your job as a brand, to encourage interaction, is to reward it – even if it’s just with a shout-out and thank you.
It’s important to get this right, and not to ignore those taking the time to engage with your brand – because everyone is watching.
The good, the bad and the influencers
One huge benefit of real-time Social Analytics is catching complaints and addressing them quickly. Not just because anything left unaddressed has the potential to go viral and cause a serious crisis – which we’ll talk more about in our next post – but because it leaves consumers thinking you don’t care. Your customers feel underappreciated, and your prospects think, “I’m glad I’ve never shopped that brand.”
Conversely, the way you manage customer service online could encourage casual fans to become loyal – because they’re impressed with the way you care about your customers. This is the whole point of analytics – to deliver insights you can use to improve consumer perception of your brand. So you’ve got to know what consumers are saying, and most importantly how they feel.
Sentiment Analysis shows you where consumer passions fall on a scale of -100 to +100, so you know where to focus your energies. With highly negative posts it’s important to smooth things over to avoid a domino effect, but you want to pay attention to highly positive posts as well.
Those raving about your brand are potential influencers – and they’re the ones who inspire other shoppers most. If you recognize their devotion and reward it, they’ll stand by you and even do part of your customer service work for you. Stance socks has discovered this with their Punks & Poets, noting their loyal influencers often step in to manage cranky social customers before customer service can engage them.
So using social data to identify influencers doesn’t just boost your brand’s ego – it offers a potential extension of your customer care department. And one consumers trust far more readily than anything that resembles traditional marketing tactics.
The perks of engagement
Loyal customers and influencers should always get a little something extra for their devotion – and your analytics will tell you what that should be. Just as AMC recognizes the creative efforts of its Walking Dead fan-base, your Social Listening will tell you what matters most to your audience.
It could be access to a VIP area, or a special app, that offers the best discounts and rewards to these important customers – or anything else you can imagine. Whatever you do, don’t assume. You might think your customers care most about free carry-on bags – to use an airline example – when what they actually love most is first class upgrades. You’ve got to use your psychographic information – attitudes, opinions, behaviors – along with Sentiment Analysis to get to the root of what drives them.
At the same time, you want to be engaging your social communities to constantly cultivate new influencers. So how do you do that?
One way is to involve your audience in product development – so they have a stake in making a purchase and promoting your brand to their friends on social.
When 7-Eleven wanted to create a new Slurpee® flavor, they looked to Social Analytics to see what their audience had to say. By narrowing their messaging to a specific segment of consumers who would most enjoy a new flavor, they uncovered an opportunity already happening in the wild.
Slurpee lovers were enjoying their drink with Watermelon SOUR PATCH® candies – inspiring 7-Eleven’s new SOUR PATCH Watermelon-flavored Slurpee. In addition to a great new flavor they already knew their customers would love, 7-Eleven saw 2x the engagement rate of prior campaigns, and a lift in engagement overall.
When consumers feel their opinion matters, they’re more likely to feel loyal to your brand. But remember that loyalty is never guaranteed.
Take nothing for granted
Real-time social data is critical to keeping your brand on track – because consumer preferences change quickly. If you take your audience’s love for granted, you can easily lose it when something new comes along to grab their interest.
That’s why you’ve got to keep a constant eye on what competitors are doing, and what content and channels have your audience most engaged.
Always look to your analytics for guidance. Just because everyone else is jumping over to Snapchat doesn’t mean you have to if your audience is all about Facebook. But keep an eye on other channels and content types to be sure there isn’t an unexpected segment you could be interacting with, or to know right away if things with your core audience suddenly change.
Every single person interacting with your brand is part of your community on social media – and they need to feel that way. If messaging isn’t personalized, if engagement isn’t acknowledged and appreciated, they have plenty of other options. On the flip side, you can’t afford to alienate anyone. So be sure you’re using your Social Listening Tools to understand every nuance your audience offers up on social media, and putting those discoveries to good use.
When our series wraps up next week, we’ll talk about what happens when you don’t – it’s not something you want for your brand. Don’t worry – we’ll tell you how to prevent it, too.
Ready to put our suite of Social Media Monitoring Tools to work? Reach out and we’ll get you started. And don’t forget to read the rest of our Complete Social Analytics Guide series.
Image from Roland Tanglao