Social Media

3 Reasons to Engage Loyal Customers through Social Media

Posted by Anna Hutson on June 30th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

Recent research from eMarketer and ROI Research further substantiates the evidence around cultivating and growing a loyal fan base on top social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as being an integral part of sales success online.  Social media fans and followers display heightened customer loyalty to brands they follow on social media sites (as indicated by the study).  In 2011, according to eMarketer and ROI Research, 34% of US social network users were more loyal to brands they 'liked' on Facebook versus brands they did not 'like'.   Similarly, 46% were more loyal to brands they followed on Twitter versus brands they did not follow.

The bottom line is that engaging and retaining loyal fans through social media is becoming more and more essential to the success of brands online.  In fact, 50% of Twitter and Facebook users also said they were more likely to talk about, recommend, or purchase a company’s products after they began following them on social media.  Furthermore, loyal customers are not only more likely talk about your brand, but also to influence purchases by others, according to a study done by BzzAgent.

eMarketer 2011

eMarketer study, June 2011

3 Reasons Why it’s Smart to Connect With Loyal Customers through Social Media:

  1. Loyal customers turned brand advocates are most likely to share opinions via social media: According to BzzAgent, advocates are two times more likely to share brand and company information on social networks than the average web user. Social media is also their first choice of outlet for sharing their brand insights and opinions.
  2. Loyal customers turned brand advocates reach a wider audience than the average internet user: Advocates are three times more likely to share brand and company information with someone they don’t know (think potential customers!). With the likelihood that advocates will share their insights via social media, it’s important for companies to be on social media to capture the conversation and recommendation (e.g. company owned and managed social media profiles).
  3. Loyal customers turned brand advocates influence purchase behavior in connections: The study also found that advocates are 70% more likely to be seen as a source of reliable information, and are 50% more likely to create content that influences a purchase.  This means that not only do advocates reach a wide audience on social media sites, but their opinion is valued more highly than that of the average internet user.

So, how is your company using social media to engage with and create loyal customers?  Instilling a loyalty program within your company takes time and resources.  However, the long-term benefits include free promotion and word of mouth advocacy for your brand.  The first step towards cultivating such a program is to engage your audience through social media and assess the opportunities and outcomes within reach.  With the ability of advocates to influence and reach a wider audience and network of potential customers, engaging and maintaining your loyal customers is absolutely worth the effort.

4 Responses to “3 Reasons to Engage Loyal Customers through Social Media”

  1. Anna
    Your statement, "Social media fans and followers display heightened customer loyalty to brands they follow on social media sites. " does not follow from rest of the data and recommendations you present.

    It is highly likely that people who are already fiercely loyal will engage with the brand through the social media. They are also likely to speak up and advocate the brand in the social media just like they do through traditional channels today. Social media is yet another channel for these hitherto loyal fans.

    Joining the social media channel does not suddenly increase their loyalty (although one could argue that it creates commitment and consistency bias and hence after joining the fan page they become more loyal but the research you quote does not provide data on that).

    -rags

    • Anna Hutson says:

      Rags -
      Agreed, thank you for the comment. The statement does read ambiguously. The research findings presented in the full eMarketer study that I summarized are in alignment with your thoughts, showing that users who followed a brand on social media sites displayed increased customer loyalty in comparison to brands those users did not follow. There are many reasons as to why this occurs, one being that those already loyal will seek out a brand to engage with on social media. I completely agree that just participating in social media does not guarantee you loyal fans (although this is a prime opportunity), and one of my recommendations is that while it's smart to engage because of this opportunity, it does take time, resources, planning and is wise to assess those opportunities and outcomes beforehand.

      Again, thank you for reading and I appreciate your thoughts!
      Anna

  2. The biggest advantage to connecting with loyal fans on social networks is that you also have the chance to get your brand/message promoted in front of their connections, even if they aren't brand loyalists. When someone shares something on Facebook or Twitter, it is broadcast to their entire network, including potential customers. That peer recommendation is very powerful.

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