How to Use Social Media Marketing to Increase Customer Loyalty

Many businesses make the mistake of believing social media are tools to win new customers. It’s certainly possible to win new business and new accounts with social media, but the focus of their use should be on building customer loyalty and engagement.

If you carry out some simple analysis in relation to a customer and the business they give you, you may be surprised at what you learn. For most businesses, the cost of acquiring a new customer is far greater than that of retaining an existing one. A term some marketers use is the ‘lifetime value’ of a customer. Their initial order may only be worth a hundred pounds to you, but if you look after them and develop a relationship with them, they could be worth thousands of pounds to you. Social media are the perfect way to build relationships with your customers. They are also great tools to keep competitors at bay.

If a customer trusts you and is happy with your products and services they are likely to stat with you. The only possible exception is the type of customer who is constantly looking for a better deal, and will move to a new supplier for a cheaper price. In the long run, these customers may not be worth the effort or cost of dealing with.

Using social media to communicate with and engage your customers is an efficient and cost effective way to build loyalty. In certain industries, you can establish yourself as an expert by using social media. If you can achieve this, customers won’t even consider looking elsewhere. In other industries, the fast pace of change means you need a constant dialogue with your customers, and the likes of Twitter and Facebook are perfect for this.

The following are three example of different types of businesses and how they might build customer loyalty using social media.

An Insurance Broker.

Using Facebook and a customer email database, the broker could communicate news and updates relevant to customers’ insurances. For example, as winter approaches there are precautions a customer should take to protect their home. A change in the law could mean the customer needs to update their auto insurance. The broker’s Facebook page would become a source of advice and expertise the customer returns to. When it comes to renewal of their policies, the customer is less likely to move away from this broker offering free advice throughout the year.

A Specialist Cycling Shop.

The shop owner could use Twitter to send news about cycling events around the world, such as The Tour De France. In between these messages, the owner could send brief updates on new products of interest to cycling enthusiasts. As well as building customer loyalty, the shop could attract additional sales by this regular customer contact.

A Pizza Restaurant.

Facebook could be used to offer discount coupons to customers. Flyers in the restaurant could entice customers to sign up to the restaurant’s Facebook page to hear about these offers. There are many different ways this could work in practice, but a very simple way would be to communicate a word the customers must say when placing an order. This simple system could be used to attract customers back to the restaurant over and over again.

Using social media for marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about the ideas above and how they might be used to build customer loyalty in your own business.

Improved Revenue From Existing Customers Using Social Media Tools

It costs more to attract new customers than to retain old ones. Customer loyalty is also beneficial for the company because repeat customers have a tendency to spend more and to promote your business to their contacts. It is therefore a good marketing plan to devote a substantial chunk of the company’s resources on ensuring that existing customers remain happy and satisfied. A happy customer tends to spend more. Fortunately, there are various social media tools available to make this task easier and more cost-efficient.

First, it is essential to provide customer service assistance through various social media channels. Facebook, Twitter and other similar services are accessible venues for airing out concerns and raising questions about the company’s products and services. Responding through these channels make interaction more convenient for the customers, and it also provides you the opportunity to make your presence known online. Good customer service always translates to customer satisfaction and higher revenue.

Social media tools also add value to the customer experience. Engaging them in constant dialogue fosters and promotes a more personal relationship with them. An open line of communication empowers them to provide positive feedback or even suggestions on how to make your company stronger and better. Customers are more comfortable with spending money on companies that they feel comfortable with.

Here are other great suggestions on how to boost revenue from existing clients using social media connectivity:

Have Them Spend More

Providing your social media followers and subscribers with exclusive promotional deals will help make them spend more. For instance, you can issue vouchers that will give a 10% discount for an accumulated one-time purchase of £100. This tactic encourages the customers to spend a total of £100 instead of the usual amount that they spend on your products or services.

Incentives for Frequent Purchases

Another method of encouraging repeat purchases is by offering freebies or incentives to followers who make frequent purchases. For example, you can give a 20% discount on the fourth purchase of the same product. You can also allow customers to accumulate points from every purchase and use these points to redeem interesting prizes. Customers love a good deal and are often willing to spend more in order to save more.

Introduce Other Products

Social media tools are great avenues for introducing other products and services to existing customers. All it takes is a simple photo or an interesting link. Without resorting to too much spam, you can use your tools to highlight certain services that would appeal to your client base. Start with products or services that complement the usual items that they purchase. The posts need to be relevant to the readers and should provide benefits that would interest them.

The Customer is at the Core

In any social media promotion that you will engage in, you must always remember that the customer should be the primary focus. Posts and promotions should always have the best interest of the customer at heart. They should always find value in what you are asking them to read or they will lose interest and simply move on. Resist the temptation of giving too much information about your company or the product you are selling. It is your responsibility to find a good balance between showing them what you want them to see and keeping them interested.

Businesses thrive because of the support of satisfied customers who keep coming back for more. Owners should learn to appreciate these repeat customers and give them more reasons to continue their patronage. Giving exclusive privileges through social media channels is a good way of making them feel valued.

Quick Tips: Creating And Managing Your Online Reputation

Contrary to popular belief, being able to take control of your online reputation is much easier that you might have previously expected. By following the simple tips provided in this article you can easily create a consistent brand message and online reputation.

Follow these 5 simple steps to staking your online reputation claim:

Step 1: Find Out Where You Stand Today

Before jumping in with both feet, you need to be sure of your current online reputation situation. Take an honest assessment of where you are at. You may have serious damage that you need to repair, or you may not have any reputation at all. Either way, you will need to find out where you are before you can begin to build on your reputation.

Conduct several searches for the various names that you might use. Search for your business name, your personal name or any other names that might be associated with your brand. You will want to focus on the first 2 or 3 pages of Google when conducting these searches. Most people who search online never look beyond the third page, so you won’t need to worry yourself about any results past that.

Compile the results of this search into some sort of spreadsheet or other tracking device. You will want to refer back to this information as you begin repairing, restoring or working on your online brand message.

Step 2: Decide What To Change

Take the time to look over the information that you have just gathered. Identify any of the negative results and mark those your highest priority. Second to that, mark those incidents of positive feedback as potential promotional material. One of the easiest ways to build a solid brand message is to simply promote the good information that is being shared about you by other people.

Step 3: Find Out Where You Shine

Of the results that you found, what sites were providing the most information? For example, of the sites that ranked the highest, were they social media sites or were they sites found within the blogosphere? Are you getting a lot of attention on Youtube?

Find out where the majority of the information about you is being shared. You will want to focus your own efforts in these areas.

Step 4: Strategise

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Be sure that you take the time to craft a strategy that works with the information that you have gathered thus far. If you have received negative reviews within the social network Facebook, then spending too much time on Youtube would be a strategy to avoid.

Build your strategy based around your areas of need. You might need to create more blog posts, press releases, videos or articles for directories. Whatever it is that you need to do, plan it out first.

Step 5: Execution

Planning is nice, but execution is everything. By now you should have a solid plan in place to take control of your brand message. If you feel that executing your plan is something that you are unable to do, then it is time to call in the hired guns. A reputation management company will help you to create content, promote it via the various search engines and help take control of your online brand messaging.

Taking control of your online reputation is a critical part of doing business in the 21st century. By following the 5 simple steps outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to taking charge of your reputation and building a lasting, professional image.

Top Tips to a More Successful Blog

The success of your blog is determined by the number of visits that it receives from your target audience. Your content needs to appeal to their interests, and they should know where to find you in the first place. Without your readers, you will end up wasting the information that you are posting. Being at the top takes a lot of hard work and creativity, and you should know how to maximise the tools that are available at your disposal.

Here are some tips on how to attract more readers and increase your website traffic:

1. Know Your Audience

You must have a comprehensive understanding of your target audience. Learn about the things that they desire and the type of information that they want to know about. Using surveys is a good way of gathering information about your target market. You can create an online questionnaire and ask for feedback. You can also consolidate comments from previous customers and readers and assess the types of posts that they are more inclined to comment on. Knowing what your readers want will make it so much easier for you to decide what kind of content should be posted on your site.

2. Use Social Media Tools

You need to utilise social media tools to reach a wider audience no matter how good your content may be. Having great content does not automatically gain you a wide readership or audience. Fans need to be able to share your content with their own followers and subscribers using social media plug-ins and share buttons. Most of the major social media tools including Twitter, Facebook and Google+ provide options for sharing.  All you need to do is to make these buttons available and visible on your web page.

3. Capitalise on Hot Topics

Once you have identified the general topics that interest your readers the most, you need to create multiple content revolving around these hot topics. Find different angles or points of discussion that pertain to the same basic concept or idea. If your audience is interested in planting corn, for example, then you can write different articles on how to plant corn, the challenges faced by corn farmers, the biggest misconceptions about corn farming, suggestions on how to maximise corn harvest, and earning from corn farming. The key is writing multiple articles on the same topic without being repetitive.

4. Harness the Power of Emails

It is a known fact that most readers who visit your site will no longer come back for a second glance. There is a big possibility of them losing the original link that they clicked on or simply forgetting about the name of your website. It will be your responsibility to attract these readers to be returning customers. Having them sign up or subscribe to your page using their email address is a great way of encouraging them to come back to your site.  Once they sign up, you will be able to email them links to your latest blog posts on a regular basis.

5. Guest Blogging

Take a look at the most popular blogs in your industry and you will notice that there are multiple writers providing content. There are a lot of advantages to having guest bloggers write for your website. First, it provides variety and fresh ideas for your site. You will also have other people promoting your website as they promote the content that they provide to you. You will also forge strong alliances and friendships with other bloggers and authors in the industry. Lastly, you do not have to provide articles and content all by yourself.

Applying these tips to your blog will improve the chances of increasing and maintaining a healthy traffic of loyal readers. Building your presence online using social media tools and tactics is a great way of boosting your business and gaining more customers.

How to Create Your Personal Online Brand

If you have a blog, a Facebook profile, a Twitter account or online presence of any kind, you are a brand, whether you like it or not. No matter what your field of choice, you need to leverage the internet to build your personal brand if you want to get noticed in this fast paced world of up to the minute updates and blogs. If you don’t have the first clue about how to build it so they will come, use these five tips to help guide you on your way.

What do you want your brand to say?


You are unique, just like everyone else. Most people gain understanding of who and what their fellow human beings are all about by categorising them using different labels. For example, if your online persona is fun and upbeat, you are labelled as, “the funny one,” if your updates and blogs are motivational in nature, you become “the positive one.” You have to think about what you want your personal brand to say about you, and then go with it.

Be you, all the time.

Consistency is key to building your brand, no matter who you are. That isn’t to say that just because you are labelled as the “funny one” you cannot post updates that are serious or well thought out in nature, but you need to be aware of your audience and why they keep coming back, especially if you are working social media angles. Above all, be yourself. If you are fake, you will be found out eventually.

Endure.

Building a brand is like building Rome, and Rome was not built in a day. Building a brand takes time. How much time, however, is in your hands. You are in control of your exposure. It could take weeks, months or years; it all depends on you.

Network, meet new people online and don’t be afraid to interact with them and ask questions. Remember, you are new at this and you don’t know everything. The more you put in to your brand, the more you get out of it.

Your first few posts or blogs probably won’t get much attention. It isn’t until your audience feels as if they know you that you become familiar, and eventually graduate into becoming a household name. Don’t give up. Be patient.

Photos can hurt (Obama smoking pot) or help.

Pictures are worth a thousand words and they say a lot about who and what your brand is all about. Be mindful of the photos you share or are tagged in online, because they are all absorbed as part of your brand.

Choose your words carefully.

Less is more. When blogging or even when updating a Twitter status, keep it short, sweet and to the point. The more superfluous and wordy your updates and blogs, the less likely you will be to hold the attention of a busy, bustling audience. Say as much as possible using as few words as conceivable. Summarise, don’t eulogise.

Be smart, be savvy, be consistent and you will find your brand is not only successful, but built as a labor of love as you blog from the heart.

Increase Twitter Exposure: Gain More Twitter Followers

Twitter is one of the best ways of promoting your business or profession. It is widely used by millions of people across the globe, and it is a great way of making people know about the products and services that you offer.

Your success on Twitter depends on the number of followers that you have. Each Tweet or status message can reach hundreds or even thousands of potential customers.

It is therefore essential to work on gaining as many targeted Twitter followers as possible. Here are some tips on how to successfully build a larger number of followers in Twitter:

Content

The most basic rule in using social media tools is to have great content. Even the shortest posts need to be informative and should appeal to your target audience. Give them a reason to want to keep reading. Make it a practice to provide useful information that they can apply to their lives.

Make Your Presence Felt

Tweet on a regular basis to make you visible to your followers, but never overdo it. It is irritating to find multiple tweets from the same person. Some people want their timelines clean, and flooding them with random posts will surely prompt them to “unfollow” you.

Personal Tweets

Unless you are a popular actor or a famous person, avoid posting Tweets about yourself or about insignificant things. Nobody wants to know that you are waiting in line at the local fast food joint. Nobody cares if you are about to sleep or about to bring your dog to the park. Followers want to read posts that will appeal to them. They should be the primary audience of your posts.

Interaction

Build great relationships with your followers by responding to their tweets, re-tweeting their posts, or sending direct messages. This encourages them to reciprocate and to respond in turn. Having a good connection with your existing followers is an effective way of making your presence known to their followers.

Profile

Take the time to write a comprehensive profile that gives an idea as to who you are and what you are interested in. The profile page is one of the first things that people look at before they decide to follow a user. Make yourself sound interesting, and upload a photo that best represents you or your business.

Follow Back

Like you, other people will try to build their audience. Some users promise to follow back people who follow them in Twitter. Use the “Search” functionality of Twitter and locate people in your niche market. Follow them and wait for them to follow back. Do note, however, that Twitter has strict guidelines and limitations on the number of users that you can follow.

Promote

Promote your Twitter profile by adding your link or username to your existing websites, social networking sites, email signatures, and calling cards. The idea is to have as many people know about your account as possible.

Peak Time

If your target market is limited to a particular geographic location or time zone, then it would be wise to be active during peak times. Posting status messages during lunch breaks and after dinner would increase the likelihood of your posts reaching a bigger audience. It will be pointless to post your Tweets at two in the morning when almost everyone is fast asleep.

Offers

Attract attention by providing discounts or special offers that are exclusive for your Twitter followers. This will make your account more interesting to them.
It takes a lot of hard work and effort to build up a big list of followers.

On a final note the key is to be committed to the task, you need to make sure that you update your page on a regular basis and you need to keep your followers interested. But once your mechanism is up and running, it will be much easier to reach out to potential customers.

Improved Search Engine Rankings Using Social Media

One of the best ways to improve website traffic is by gaining a good search engine ranking position from search engines such as Google and Bing. Online users who type in specific search phrases or keywords are provided a long list of related sites; however the vast majority only go as far as reading the first page. Unfortunately this can be the case, no matter how excellent your content may be and it can remain in obscurity, unless the website improves its search engine ranking method, with the aim of propeling it to the first page of the search results.

The “game” of optimisation used to be simpler; today webmasters can resort to a number of unethical means (such spamming) in an effort to gain top rankings. This can result in useful content often being difficult to find, as online viewers are required to click through a long list of irrelevant websites before finding the information they need. However recent updates made by the top search engines, have focused on providing “natural search results.” Google, for instance, recently released the Penguin update which aimed to reduce low-quality back-links, over optimisation, and illicit SEO strategies.

More than ever, it has become essential for writers and bloggers to provide online content that is both compelling and informative. It is also important to focus on building a strong network of natural back-links that serve as portals to the website. The more links there are out there, the higher the chances of a stray reader stumbling upon your page.

Here are some social media techniques that you can use to drive audience to your site:

1. Social Media as a Tool for Encouraging Back-links

Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are great tools for building strong links to your webpage. Google and Bing have both made confirmations that links used on these social media sites are used in their algorithm. Fortunately, both sites have made it easy for webmasters and writers to integrate their blog links into post creation. For instance, once new entry is posted, it is possible to have Facebook and Twitter post updates and inform followers. Google+ is another great way of reaching a wide audience base, the more “+1” votes recieved on a blog post, the more visibility it gets.

Optimal times for posting upon social media platforms exist for certain demographics; however another method is to post multiple times, although not excessively. Scheduling tools are also widely available online, which enable authors to have certain links posted repeatedly over a pre-determined period of time. This way, you can reach potential readers who have varying schedules of activity or may be in different time zones. Scheduling also spares webmasters from the monotony of having to manually create updates featuring the same links.

2. Social Media as a Source of Content Ideas

The concept of search engines is that users are looking for information, based on certain keywords and phrases. If your goal is to get many readers, then you will likely attract more people by writing about content that interests them personally. The more interested people are about your article, the higher the likelihood of them sharing your link with other users. Thus, it is beneficial, to entice readers to share through social media network,s while providing them with the content they crave.

Social media sites are also excellent places for finding ideas on article topics of current interest. They have become tools that provide information based on what the majority of users are interested in, at any given time. Twitter for instance, has an easy to use search bar and “Trending Topics List” that will give you an insight into what people are currently talking about and showing interest in. Use these methods to find topics that fit your blog portfolio and provide interesting information or insight that will attract attention and let potential readers find it by making it available online.

3. Encourage Social Media Following and Re-Posting

Social media is the best tool to encourage direct access to your website via links. While being very easy to use, readily available, widely accessible and in terms of the future, being relatively safe from any algorithmic changes that search engines may make, for instance calculating page rank. In other words, it would be wise for a blogger not to simply rely on search engines for page visits, but to maximise the usage of social media to attract a strong following.

Most social media networks provide sharing buttons that can be clearly displayed on a website. These can easily be attached to your blog, using codes that are obtained by visiting the social media platform support page. Having these buttons displayed visibly on your page will encourage readers to share articles or entries that catch their interest.

As a last resort, another approach is to directly ask for help from your followers. Adding simple phrases like “please re-tweet” or “please re-post” is enough to encourage other users to share your post. This is particularly true for well-written and informative content. However it is important not to seem desperate, as this may impact upon your followers.

In summary, social media tools can be used to drive attention and traffic to your site. However, the content of your site remains the biggest factor in attracting readers. Content, after all, is king. No matter how extensive your social presence is, poor content will not get a good mileage. The best way to maximise your tools is to become an industry expert or authority figure in the topics that you are writing about. Gaining credibility in your craft will result in more social media following and repeat visitors to your site.