Do you WOW your customers? A company that creates a positive brand experience for their customers, particularly one that goes beyond consumer expectations, is richly rewarded by increased brand loyalty and expanding profitability.
Social Media offers companies the perfect platform to enrich the customer brand experience and empower the customer to help the brand meet its key business drivers.
Social Media not only offers another touch point for consumer brand interaction, it also enables companies to create the ultimate brand experience by wowing their customers beyond their typical brand expectations. Companies who don’t offer a social media touch-point to their customers risk of loosing valuable customers and potential profits.
Last week we spoke about finding what makes your brand stand out from its competitors. Now find out how social media can help your brand to WOW your customers in 5 keys steps.
1. Offer Them Something Exclusive
Online consumers are demanding. In order to be willing to interact with brand’s online they expect to be offered something beyond what they can experience offline. Offering your social customer’s something that goes beyond their physical purchase leaves them with an enriched brand experience and typically develops a stronger attachment to the brand.
Wowing your customers can be done by offering them access to exclusive online competitions, games unique to their social media profiles, or special offers and discounts offered exclusively to online fans. Exclusive social media posts not only keeps them engaged and motivated but it helps to develop strong brand loyalty when customers feel they are being rewarded for their extended brand interaction.
Burberry is a great example of how brands can engage with their online audiences. The culmination of Burberry’s social media use was seen last September with the unveiling of its 2012 collection exclusively to its Twitter and Instagram followers right before it hit the runway. The show was also live streamed on Burberry’s YouTube channel and shared behind-the-scenes footage.
Since then, Burberry’s following has grown to over 800,000 on Twitter and over 11.6 million on Facebook, while it’s YouTube channel has received over 12 million views. Was the return on social media investment worth it? I am sure Burberry think so; their profits rose 21% in the 12 months since the launch of their social media strategy.
2. Offer Your Followers a ‘Behind-the-scenes’ View
Sharing videos, images and your brand story provides consumers with a clear picture of your brand, shapes their perceptions of your brand identity and humanizes your brand thereby helping it build stronger, lasting relationships.
Sharing these intimate details offers a sense of inclusion to consumers, reaffirming their affinity with the brand and its values. Brands such as Ford use their social networks to share information with fans about the history of the company and their plans for the future, giving fans a sense of inclusion and understand of the brand.
The Four Seasons has created individual Twitter accounts for each of its local hotels from New York to Sharm El Sheikh. The Four Seasons Twitter accounts interact with followers and share their pictures. In addition to a friendly and ‘human’ approach to its interaction, the accounts also share tips on places to visit in their respective cities. The social media team is a direct reflection of customer service that you’re going to find inside any Four Seasons hotel.
3. React and Respond
Online consumers like to share, be it a compliment or a complaint. By providing a brand with a social media profile you are giving your customers the space they need to share their experience. Critically, your customers are already in a position to shape and influence each other’s experience of your brand by commenting on their own pages.
Having a centralized space that encourages comments allows you to monitor and addresses your consumer’s reaction to your brand much more responsively. Letting your customers know when you appreciate their positive comments, or quickly trying to address and solve their negative experiences allows you to offer them enriched experience of your brand beyond the point of sale, giving your customer a renewed sense of value.
Remember, be it positive or negative commentary, the online customer can spread the word far faster and with far greater reach than those offline. Managing their online commentary can be key to maintaining strong customer loyalty and increased profitability potential.
Social Media channels are fast becoming the customer-query space of choice. Utilizing Facebook and Twitter to provide customer service has proven to be beneficial for both customer and company alike. Addressing customer queries promptly in a visible space displays to the world the importance of your customers to your brand.
Dutch airline KLM recently launched their 24/7 customer support on Twitter and Facebook. Customer queries are answered promptly in real time at no cost to the customer and without valuable time wasted on call-waiting.
They used a highly engaging “Live Replies” campaign, on the day of launch when they responded to tweets with a small army of staff in an airplane hanger holding up signs!
4. Showing Them You Value Their Suggestions
Customers are very comfortable in offering suggestions via social networks. Not only do brands receive relevant feedback but they often also receive ideas for new products.
Brands such as VitaminWater used a Facebook app to ask their fans for feedback and suggestions from which they developed a new flavour for their product mix. This is a win win situation. Fans feel relevant, valued, appreciated by the brand, and the brand ends up with a new product for their mix.
5. Reward Them For Their Loyalty
Brands like USA Network reward their five million+ online fans and followers by allowing them to earn points for simply watching videos, chatting, playing games and reposting content to Twitter and Facebook. Rewards can be redeemable for tangible and virtual goods, like show-branded merchandise and goods such as gift cards for major retailers.
What this means for businesses.
Online consumers are demanding. And they want more than ever before; more experience, more engagement, more rewards and more reasons to connect with each other and brands through social media.
By leveraging social media, a company can add to their consumer’s overall brand experience in a meaningful way and a customer that has been wowed can become fierce brand advocates for a company. Loyal online customers can help meet key business drivers for a company, like better customer support, faster innovation and increased demand and awareness.
The voice and value of social media positively influences purchase behavior, adoption rates and brand perception. It helps to build the consumer’s affinity with the brand and can create a highly targeted branding experience. Consumers become willing advocates and brand champions for the brand they love.
• Does your brand strategy incorporate online marketing / social media?
• Are your customer’s wowed by your online branding activity?
• How are you building brand loyalty online?