Generate Loyal Customers and Sales via Social Media
* Leverage social media tools based on your customers’ behaviors. If your customers tend to be conversationalists, for example, you might want to sign up for a Twitter feed or a Facebook fan page to engage them in conversation, said Cohen. By focusing on your best customers and not every person that you possibly can, you can set up an advocacy structure that can take off, added Ertell. Victoria's Secret, with 3 million Facebook fans, is an example of a retailer that's effectively leveraged the viral power of the “share” function of Facebook, Ertell said.
* Provide news about new products. Consumers who are following your brand through social media are interested in what you have to offer, said Ertell. Recognize these people with information about new products. This won't cost you anything, and could drive sales, he added.
* Focus on initiatives that'll demonstrate success. For retailers, that may mean implementing ratings and reviews programs on their websites more so than creating Facebook fan pages. It's harder to build up that longer-term community and get value out of it from scratch, said Cohen.
* Track your social media efforts. Return on investment for social media can be measured, said Cohen. Tools available offer keyword development, data collection, supplemental research, and insight summary and recommendations. Key performance indicators that should be considered include:
- share of voice;
- customer satisfaction;
- brand favorability and awareness; and
- attribution of revenue.
Dell, for example, is sharing deals and links via Twitter. All sales from those links are attributed back to Twitter.
The numbers behind social media
ForeSee Results’ Ertell added some data points from a recent whitepaper he wrote to demonstrate the power of social media. (The whitepaper was based on a survey his firm conducted of 10,000 visitors to top 40 retail websites.) The first takeaway was that Facebook is far and away the most popular social media site for consumers. On average, consumers interact with or are “friends” with one to five brands on Facebook.