How to Build Lifelong Customers on Social Media

By: Sofie De Beule

June 26, 2014

How do you keep customers for life?

Many businesses simply don’t put enough effort into keeping their customers for the long-term. They treat them with indifference after investing so much time in acquiring them as a customer in the first place. While alternatives are just a quick online search away, companies usually take their current customers for granted.

However, engaged, loyal, and even lifelong customers are often the greatest ambassadors for your brand. Increasing customer loyalty is a continuous battle to leverage your biggest asset, your existing customers. Go the extra mile, nurture your relationships with your customers on every level, and become a 100% customer-centric business.

Let’s take a look at some tips we have compiled that will knock your client’s socks off well into the future.

Provide Excellent (Social) Customer Service & Don’t Forget to Say “Thank You”

It’s amazing how providing excellent customer service and simply saying “thank you” can help you achieve your business goals. Give every customer the VIP treatment and approach each individual customer as a potential “customer for life”. Although your company needs to think about its bottom line as well, earning your customers’ appreciation by solving their issues in real-time or proactively reaching out to them with a one-of-a-kind offer is your biggest competitive advantage.

Earn your customers’ appreciation.

Showing your gratitude requires dedication. People value genuine politeness beyond compare. To make your message of appreciation really resonate, make it personal. Use all the information you have compiled about your customer in the past to communicate a sense of sincerity and deep caring. Do customers regularly order from your web shop? A small incentive and “thank you” note, such as a personalized discount on the items they like, will keep them coming back.

But what about unhappy customers?

The single, most important thing is to thank your displeased customers whilst they’re complaining about you on social media. Tell them how grateful you are they chose to do business with you. Carefully explain to them how you will fix their issues. Why exactly should you put the most effort into a “lost cause”? While most unhappy customers simply take business elsewhere, you have now created a new opportunity to win over what potentially could have been a dead end or lost relationship. You won’t believe how much you’ll gain from it!

Thanking your displeased customers is an opportunity to potentially win over what you thought was a lost relationship.

Here are some simple ways of showing your gratitude:

  • Thank people whenever you are replying to a tweet.
  • Always add the person’s first name when possible.
  • Show your personality!
  • Go the extra mile on your customer’s birthday. Birthdays make you feel special, but really treat your customers like it’s their birthday every single day. Zappos, top- notch, world-class leader in customer service, actually built their entire culture around it.

Important Side Note: Don’t underestimate people’s ability to spot a disingenuous “thank you”. Only say things you mean, or simply don’t do it.

Follow-Up with Meaningful Conversations & Ask for Feedback

When it comes to keeping your customers for the long haul, prioritize for your customers needs. Evolve with changing expectations, and have your answer ready, before customers have had the chance to switch to your competitors, instead of being blindsided by consistently focusing on revenue growth.

While your earnings are crucial to make your business grow, listening to your audience really stems from a long-term strategy to help your business thrive. Customers are your number one go-to source for inspiration because they identify the most with the user experience of your products. Involve them in the process to not only demonstrate you care about your customers, but also to keep your business alive and running while optimizing your products.

Don’t simply monitor the issues customers are facing, but also ask proactively for feedback. Social media provides you with easy access to instant feedback. Involve them in the process of the testing and design of new products. Organize surveys and polls. Publish photos of new product ideas and packaging to visualize and compliment the entire process.

Customers want their voice to be heard. Social media is the perfect place to gain instant feedback.

In 2013, Lay’s organized a first-ever competition to produce their newest chip flavor by asking people’s opinion in the “Do Us a Flavor” competition. America rose to the challenge with a whopping 4 million flavor submissions that were then narrowed down into 3 hugely popular entries.

Due to the massive success of the contest, the company extended the campaign to social media by asking people to send in more flavor suggestions through Twitter and the Lay’s Facebook page. This example goes to show businesses should work to make customers even more passionate about their product by asking them for their feedback. By adding the contest element and incorporating a fun and unique story, people simply won’t stop talking about it on social media. So keep the conversation going, ask them for their feedback, and don’t forget to make it a part of your company’s story.

Keep the conversation going on social media. If you have something really interesting to share, people won’t stop talking about it.

Not Everyone Can Be a Lifelong Customer

Not everyone can or should be a lifelong customer. Keep you finger on the pulse when it comes to keeping a customer satisfied. Monitor closely to understand how you can keep your customer pleased, and target your resources on social media to the right points of need. Always nurture relationships with care. If it simply demands more effort than what you stand to gain, then reconsider how far you are willing to go.

Don’t forget that it’s not about being a perfect company, it’s about being a human company. The best way to humanize your brand is to be authentic, genuine, and show you greatly appreciate your customers. You don’t have to strive to be perfect. Your little flaws will make your brand or business more real. There’s no better way to tell your story than through social media.