Loyalty, Social

Social Loyalty Guide | Drive Engagement, Reach and Revenue

Libby Headon Digital Marketing Manager

 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.

Image of a pair of hands, cupped, holding a small heart pillow. Demonstrating the brand affinity that can be achieved through social and customer loyalty.

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]

Image of a hand giving a thumbs up, against a turquoise background with a shadow gradient to the right. On the folded fingers of the hand, are think post-it notes in yellow and pink, with the word 'LOVE' handwritten in red pen.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.’
  4. Distributing instant rewards to customers for sharing social stories: Showing customers your appreciation is absolutely vital to achieve loyalty, advocacy and drive revenue.
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Libby Headon Digital Marketing Manager
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