What is Social Loyalty?
Social loyalty is a term used to describe expressions of genuine fondness and support for brands by consumers, both offline and on social media. In a way, it’s a combination of traditional word-of-mouth promotion, shared both face-to-face and online.
Word-of-mouth is one of the most sought after forms of promotion. Why? Because it is the most trusted. And with 70% of U.S. consumers seeking out opinions before making purchases, it’s key to driving sales. [Mintel, 2016] Read more about consumer trust in Why Word-of-Mouth is so Important and How to Earn it.
The traditional word-of-mouth definition limits the reach to spoken or verbal communication. Whereas social loyalty incorporates the potential reach of stories shared by 1 billion daily Facebook users, with an average 338 friends – each.
To demonstrate the potential power of this new phenomenon, imagine 10 Facebook users decided to share social loyalty stories about your brand. Their highly-trusted recommendation can reach over 3,000 people and raise brand awareness. Taking unique user reach into consideration, let’s say a modest 5% of the people reached, converted to sales of $10. That’s $1,500 in sales revenue, from 150 new customers – from just 10 shared stories.
Social Loyalty v.s. Other Social Strategies
Many businesses have a presence on social media and invest in a content strategy. But without an investment in social advertising, this content only reaches an average of 2% of fans. [Wordstream/Social@Ogilvy, November 2016]
Promoted posts are a great way to extend reach. For example, a budget of $10 could help you reach thousands of users (depending on your campaign duration and targeting). But consumers see or hear hundreds of brand messages, every day. Leading to a reduction in ad recall and increase in ad blocking. [eMarketer/AdWeek, July 2016].
By combining social advertising and social loyalty, you can achieve greater results. In fact, research by the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) found that word-of-mouth amplifies the effect of paid media by 15%. [WOMMA/Brains On Fire, 2014]
This amplification is likely due to differences in trust. Research shows that trust in brand content is in decline. Whereas trust in word-of-mouth and user-generated content grew from 67% to 78% in 2015 – 2016. This surpasses trust in content created by academic experts, well-known online personalities, influencers, and celebrities. [Edelman 2016 Global Trust Barometer, Slide 46]
The difficulty with social loyalty is that it is not easy to generate. There’s a heavy reliance on customer good-will, to promote your brand for you.
How to Build Social Loyalty
In ‘A Complete to Social Loyalty,’ we explore the following 4 activities, that are key to generating social loyalty.
- Social Listening: Customers are giving us public and open feedback about our brands on social networks all the time. Responding in a timely, effective manner to both positive and negative brand interactions can have a massive impact to ROI.
- Identifying and engaging with influential and loyal customers: This is key to maximizing the return on your social media efforts. Once you’ve identified these groups of people, you can establish meaningful relationships, that evolve into loyalty and advocacy.
- Socializing the customer journey: Discover some great examples of how businesses can tailor customer experiences for social-sharing. Find out more in ‘A Complete Guide to Social Loyalty.’
- Distributing instant rewards to customers for sharing social stories: Showing customers your appreciation is absolutely vital to achieve loyalty, advocacy and drive revenue.