Presentation: The Power of Loyalty in Social Media

Picture of an angry face
Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

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?

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.