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Strategy

Use Social Media as the Retention Tool It’s Meant to Be

You're using social media wrong and it's harming your business

Adam Fout
August 07 2019

Customers don’t want to be treated like robots—they want to be treated like humans.

Are you treating your customers like human beings?

If your only customer service interactions take place in real life, you’re missing a huge retention opportunity and ignoring a stark fact about modern life—most contemporary human beings (i.e., your customers) are spending significant amounts of time on their social media accounts (an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes a day—the fall of society is imminent, folks).

If you’re treating your social media account like a mere billboard on which to post product announcements, you’re likely not only damaging your brand, but actively discouraging some of your best customers from remaining so.

More from PostFunnel on social media:
What Do Your Consumers Really Want To See On Your Social Channels?
These Social Media Mistakes Will Cost You Your Clients
Asking the Experts: What Social Media Channel Should You be Focusing on Next?

Who Follows Your Social Media Accounts? Mostly Customers

The average person, assuming a 30-minute commute, 8-hour workday, and eight hours of sleep, spends 20–40% or more of their leisurely awake time each day on social media. If you knew that your customers were spending that much of their free time hanging out in a physical location, you’d want to be there.

And in effect, you are—you’ve got a social media presence, and your customers are actively following you. Some of them even deliberately visit your brand’s page to see what’s going on (instead of waiting for you to pop up in their newsfeed).

Now if this were happening in person, you’d spend as much time as possible talking to them, asking about their experience with the brand, asking about their lives, getting to know their wants and needs, and generally treating them like decent human beings with whom you’d like to form a long-lasting relationship. And if they were complaining, you’d listen to those complaints, respond with empathy and understanding, and work hard to fix the problem and help them feel better.

Some organizations on social media just haven’t figured that out yet.

Poor Engagement Sets the Stage for Poor Retention

Your customers come to your page and they see advertisements disguised as blog posts. They see long explanations of new products or features or services. They rarely see posts that are actually trying to engage them and get them into conversation. Worse, brands put out posts designed to increase engagement (polls, giveaways, and the like), but then don’t follow best engagement practices.

Here’s a scenario: someone votes in a poll and gives carefully considered explanation of why they think the brand should do this or stop doing that, and the brand replies by liking the post (with no comment). Or worse, by commenting back and saying “Thanks for your feedback!” or “Cool!” or “Neat!” or “Wow!” or something equally meaningless.

There’s no actual engagement. There’s no conversation. There’s no attempt to have a real human interaction. That’s because the brand is using social media as an advertising and sales tool when in reality it’s predominantly a retention tool.

Your social media accounts are far and away being followed by existing customers, not leads. This means you should be using this incredible tool to get to know your customers, not to sell them stuff! Your existing customers don’t want to be constantly sold to (and frankly, your prospects don’t want that either). They want that human touch, and they crave it more on social, where the minutiae of nonverbal communication is absent—requiring that brands go over the top with their engagement to show their human side.

If your customers are spending hours on social media and seeing your brand in their feed from time to time but not being interacted with or reached out to in any meaningful way, how do you think they’ll feel about your company? What kind of effect do you think that’s going to have on retention?

Social Media is a Retention Platform Above All Else

Forging a strong relationship with your customers is key to long-term success. In the digital era, every conversation about customer retention should include some mention of social media. If retention specialists and social media managers aren’t talking regularly, you’re gonna have a bad time.

One of the biggest changes retention marketers can implement is to take a hard look at what’s happening on social. Are you using social listening tools to observe what your customers are saying, and responding quickly? Are you monitoring your social accounts 24/7 and reacting quickly to engagement with thoughtful, intelligent, caring comments? Are you trying not just to reply to engagement, but to spark conversations and strengthen existing relationships?

Sit down with the person in charge of social and see how this is lining up with your retention campaigns. When social and retention align, customers start to feel like they’re being treated with dignity and respect, and retention rises. Accomplish this, and you’ll do more than just increase customer retention—you’ll make your customers feel like human beings.

Good luck out there, marketer.

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Adam Fout

Adam Fout, resident content and brand sorcerer at BlueSteelSolutions, guides brands through the mystical process of creating website and blog content that enchants customers and entices leads. He also writes fiction in his free time at My Website

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