Using Social Media to Create Loyalty

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While the struggle to sufficiently measure the impact of social media to a company’s bottom line continues, many businesses are still exploring ways in which they can use social media and hopefully measure its impact. But as executives cry about effect on bottom-line and seek justification for allocating more funds to social media, let’s explore the even the face value of social media.

Social Media in Kenya Today

So here you are as a business; majority of Kenyans are what you would call youth, most are accessing internet via their phones, most of the time they spend online is on social networks, and this time is spent talking, sharing, discovering, discussing etc. As a business, you feature in these conversations because a number of these Kenyans who are talking are your customers. How you feature could be positive or negative based on your brand promise vis-a-vis delivery. So based on the online word of mouth by your existing clients, you are either winning new customers or losing existing ones and with that any chance of getting new customers. Given this scenario, you still find many executives throwing social media proposals in the bin because they do not have definite numbers by which it will affect the bottom-line?

Loyalty Loop

In a research that was just released on increasing spending on social media by businesses, the metrics which Chief Marketing Officers are focusing on were analyzed. While there is still difficulty in computing hard quantitative metrics as regards the bottom-line, softer metrics were becoming more popular among CMO’s. To quote; “Marketers are currently focused on customer relationship management and working to build these relationships on social media, not just on encouraging sales or higher revenue per customer. This is an interesting trend, as many businesses still struggle to show how these softer, relationship-based metrics relate back to the bottom line. But if companies can show how socially engaged consumers become loyal, repeat customers who share information about the brand via word-of-mouth, these softer metrics may become even more important.”

This brings to bear my point of creating a loyalty loop among your customer base. Through social media, you can build a community around your brand or product, a community that is active, influential and through experience, both informed about your product offerings and happy to do your marketing for you.

As a business executive, which is better: waiting until the industry has grown enough that all metrics can be related back to the bottom-line or building a community now and exploit its benefits as you go while being part of the leaders who will shape and refine what Social Media ROI will be going forward? All I know is this, I wouldn’t want to be in a group that has 10 followers and 20 fans at a time when your competitors are in the hundreds of thousands. Guess what, you will both be making use of the same ROI formula but only one of you will be getting the true returns on investment. A big part of that investment today is the time it takes to grow a community online.

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