Every company wishes for brand loyalists like Apple attracts. Airlines use frequent flier programs to try to increase loyalty. Local restaurants and coffee shops use stamp cards (buy 10 and get one free). Social media can also be used to increase brand loyalty if we first identify what makes someone loyal to a brand.
Loyalty vs. Repurchasing
There’s a difference between brand loyalty and repurchasing. Frequent flier programs and stamp cards increase repurchasing, but do not necessarily increase brand loyalty. Without those programs would people still purchase from those companies? What if another product of similar quality was offered for a lower price? Probably not. Which is why we see people using sites like Priceline and Expedia to check for the best prices.
Increasing repurchasing behavior using social media is not the same as increasing brand loyalty.
People become loyal to brands which connect with them on an emotional level. Most Apple brand loyalists buy from Apple because it makes them feel cool and knowledgeable. It also has an us vs. mainstream (or used to) emotional connection. By buying Apple, you were one of the people who “gets it” and you connect with other people who are the same. If you want to increase brand loyalty, you first have to figure out how to connect at an emotional level with your customers.
Using social media to increase brand loyalty means looking for ways to connect with your customers at an emotional level, not just giving them great content or answering questions.
There are many ways to create an emotional connection with your customers. One way is to help build a community around your brand. Look at Harley-Davidson. People buy the motorcycles because they enjoy riding them. Those people enjoy riding with others who also enjoy the bikes, so Harley-Davidson helps connect its customers by organizing rides. Lego does this as well by providing an online community where Lego enthusiasts can connect and share what they’re doing. There may also be an issue or problem that your customers often face and by providing information you may be able to help.
To use social media to increase brand loyalty, look for ways to help connect your customers, as well as ways you can help them with common problems or issues.
More than Promotions
Building loyalty is about more than sending out promotions or advertisements. Using a stamp card or coupons may help increase repurchasing behavior, but it won’t help you connect on an emotional level. You need to get customers excited about your brand and what it stands for, which means you need to actually stand for something. Think about the emotional feelings that you want your brand to convey and what you can do to help communicate those ties with your customers.
Social media can help increase brand loyalty when you get customers excited about your brand and what it stands for.
How do you use social media to increase brand loyalty?
(image by Aaron Worsham)