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Loyalty exists when an existing customer chooses to do business with you even when a cheaper, more convenient or even higher quality option is on offer from another company. - Simon Sinek
There are plenty of cute cats, and indecipherable hashtag campaigns out there, but not all social media is white noise. Channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all rich sources of customer information and provide brilliant communication tools for supporting and delighting customers.
In other words, it's is a serious business asset for building and maintaining customer loyalty.
Consider the following:
Sharing content and delighting your customers means you continue to benefit from the investment you made in obtaining them in the first place as they renew licences, upgrade and cross-buy from you.
You also benefit from free media as happy customers turn into promoters. 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family more than all other forms of marketing. Delighting customers to such an extent that they undertake word-of-mouth marketing on your behalf provides you with the kind of marketing that money cannot buy.
There are several specific ways you can use social media to delight customers, which we'll get to shortly, but first it's important to understand the spirit in which you undertake these activities.
More than what you do, delighting customers is about how you make how you make customers feel.
Hubspot highlights communication and education as core ideals for delighting customers:
Personal is better than impersonal
Teaching is better than neglecting
While the benefits are good for business, delighting customers shouldn't come from a purely mercenary place. The idea is to build lasting, trusting relationships by being personable and likeable, or even better loveable, as both a brand and as individual members of the company.
The first thing to consider when delighting is your buyer personas. You need to know where your customers are likely to be, and what sorts of conversations and questions they are having.
It's important to pick the right place for different strategies of delighting people. Facebook is great if you have lots of followers already interacting with you on your page. However, if you are only just building your community, achieving personal interactions might be easier on Twitter where people can respond quickly and easily and find topics with hashtags and mentions.
You also want to consider your style of interaction. LinkedIn is professional and business focussed making it ideal for industry-insider tips, whereas Instagram is better if you're looking to post pictures of your office Christmas party and develop a personable brand.
Finally, remember that while social media is an incredibly useful and versatile tool, it's not the only one at your disposal for delighting customers.
Be sure to pick up the phone now and then, or, even better, send a hand written note. Above all, find out how your customers want to be loved and delighted and do just that.