Presentation: The Power of Loyalty in Social Media

This afternoon I was pleased to have the opportunity to present at Sprinklr‘s Social @ Scale event in Toronto, as part of an impressive lineup of speakers featuring Mitch Joel, Keith McArthur, Di Gallo, Mathieu Legace and Tara Hunt.

In my presentation – entitled The Power of Loyalty in Social Media – I posited that social media presents an opportunity to drive significant ROI through customer loyalty. That means shifting from one-way advertising to focusing on customers.

I focused on several insights:

  1. Social media is a two-way channel, but over the last ten years social media marketers have increasingly shifted to focus activities on one-way interruption – applying old techniques to new channels, which is exacerbated by updates on networks like Facebook. We need to not only promote, but also protect brands in social media – which means reassessing the advertising-only approach.
  2. Communities form post-purchase, but most marketers are focused pre-purchase. When you force a community to act as a new acquisition channel in that way, you dilute the community.
  3. There is a significant opportunity to drive post-purchase loyalty, advocacy and re-purchase through social media.
  4. The potential for ROI through loyalty is significant and the opportunity is present, as responsibility for functions that drive loyalty are increasingly falling to the CMO.

If we accept these insights, we have an imperative to re-assess our approach to social media:

  • We need to focus our on-channel social media activities on our existing customers. That means:
    • On-channel content – both planned and real-time – should focus on the community of people who are generally existing customers
    • Community management – at scale – becomes a priority with a view to protecting  both the brand and customers’ connections to it
    • Social media support becomes more central to an organization’s social media activities, and shifts from a cost centre to a strategic marketing tool

At the same time, I emphasized there is a place for sales in social:

  • Off-channel content (again, real-time and planned) via paid (posts promoted outside brands’ communities)
  • Couponing and contesting (still key reasons that many people connect with brands)
  • Re-purchase and new product launches

This is a shift from the way that many companies are approaching social media nowadays. This is a challenge to marketers to think differently and shift away from business-as-usual.

What are you seeing in your role – is it time to shake things up?

  • 40deuce

    I almost hate to use the cliche and say “social media is about relationships and not selling,” but it’s so very true. Especially when it comes to talk about loyalty. 
    People connect with a brand/company that they can actually perceive having a relationship with. And what do people connect with? Conversations, not ads (although if you have a great ad we still may love it). But you’re absolutely right in saying that many brands have brought their old thinking of always be pushing purchase messages into social media and it’s just not going to work. Especially when it comes to talk about loyalty.
    It’s much cheaper for a company to retain a customer than to gain a new one. So why would an already customer need to see your selling messages? They’ve already bought from you. Now they need messages that make them want to stay a customer of yours. There’s still too many companies that don’t get this.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • parkerwills

    Loyalty is the ultimate reward for things that gets right over in the social platform!! And also grabs the attention of the audience too!!

  • allpointspr100

    To help with the planned stuff– use an editorial calendar! They help so much, Dave. 
    ____________________________
    Jamie I
    All Points PR
    http://allpointspr.com

  • allpointspr100

    That’s the beauty in social media, it can generate some serious brand loyalty, if it’s done right!