This got me to thinking today about how brands can really leverage social media to enhance customer loyalty. I’m not just talking about the occasional coupon you send to just your facebook fans or twitter followers. But true engagement and interaction with your social media fans/followers in a personal way. People tend to post personal information and opinions over social media channels. They don’t often send you an email to tell you exactly what is on their minds, but they share it via social media. If you have been granted access to this by a social connection, then why not doing something far more personal with that information then what you would do by typical email. At any given time you are privy to knowing the pleasures and irritations of your customers as well as the comings and goings (thanks to location based utilities such as Foursquare and facebook checkin).
I was reading my monthly issue of Colloquy today when I read about this awesome campaign by KLM airlines – KLM Suprise. Using information shared over social media sites, KLM launched a campaign that would surprise travelers checking in at the Amsterdam airport with a customized gift. Some examples are as follows:
- One customer traveling to New York had posted that he would miss his favorite team’s biggest soccer game of the year. The airline surprised him at check-in with a Lonely Planet Guide to New York which highlighted the best bars showing soccer games.
- Traveler posts that he is excited about using his iPad on his upcoming KLM flight so the airline surprised him with a voucher for iPad apps.
- Traveler posted something relevant to his upcoming birthday so the airline suprised him with a glass of champagne.
Pretty awesome isn’t it? I’m pretty sure that if this happened to me, I would be tweeting and posting all over the place of my experience. This is exactly what happened to KLM. There was such a huge viral response to this campaign – people posting photos, videos, tweets and re-tweets. It certainly had a positive effect on the brand. It’s long been known the power of word-of-mouth and social media proliferates this to the extreme.
Now, I’m not suggesting that everybody start buying their customers favorite bottle of wine or sending them movie tickets cause they are discussing what movies they want to see over facebook – but I am suggesting that marketers start thinking about ways that they can really leverage social media to enhance customer loyalty. So many marketers are still using social media as just another marketing channel – a quick and cheap way to push out information about themselves, the next promotion or the new product. Are you having a dialogue or a monologue over social media?
Its been reported that 80% of consumers follow fewer than five brands through social channels. Social media can really be used to influence customer loyalty and some of the smart brands are figuring this out. They will be the ones to remain on the short list of consumers brands they choose to engage with over social media. What are you going do to make that list?