What drives customer loyalty in the social media age, and what should you be focusing on to enhance your brand relationships online?
That’s the focus of a new report from social and community management platform Khoros, which recently surveyed over 1,600 consumers to glean more insight into what they’re looking for from brands, and the factors that drive their repeated custom.
And while many of the findings are what you’d expect, it’s worth noting some of the nuances and indicators here, which could help to shape your approach to social media and messaging engagement.
You can download the full report here, but in this post, we’ll look at some of the key notes.
First off, Khoros found that only a fifth of consumers consider themselves “brand loyalists”, with a further 59% of consumers having some level of brand preference, though they remain open to various pitches.
Which makes sense. With so much variety, and so many options now available via a quick web search, brand loyalty is getting harder to maintain, but there are ways in which you can maximize brand engagement, in order to keep your customers coming back.
So what are the key considerations?
A great product is the obvious leading response, as without a dependable, useful product, all your other efforts will be eroded over time. But aside from that, “dependable discounts” is another key factor, along with “custom rewards”, and the opportunity to provide feedback on products and experiences.
Online platforms can facilitate all of these, with the last note, in particular, being a central element of an advanced connective strategy. And with more people now leaning on messaging platforms to stay in touch, as opposed to social apps, DM options could be a key consideration here, while rewards and discounts can also be communicated to a broader audience online.
Which is also underlined in the findings:
“Brands can meet users where they are, in order to deliver messages with impact. For example, 42% of Gen Z consumers use Instagram to connect with brands, compared to 33% of non-Gen Z consumers. But 63% of Gen X would rather communicate on Facebook.”
The insights could also point to the potential of more exclusive, enclosed brand communities, through options like fan subscriptions, X Communities, Instagram Channels, and more. Maybe, by providing more exclusive engagement options for your most dedicated customers, that could be a good way to facilitate these types of opportunities, and drive better loyalty and retention.
The same also relates to this element of the Khoros report:
In this context, it’s interesting to note the rise of Reddit as a popular product research tool, with more and more people now adding “Reddit” to their Google searches in order to find more direct consumer insight, and avoid the paid-for and curated brand insights. Years of SEO optimization has gentrified a lot of the SERPs, which means that if you want to get real, honest feedback, you need to go looking elsewhere, with Reddit, and even on TikTok, providing more genuine insights into products, and their value and applicability.
Customer service, of course, is another obvious point, and it could also relate to DM use, though with obvious labor constraints. Some brands are leaning into DM bots to facilitate quicker responses for common queries, and with advancing AI models, that too could become a more viable pathway over time.
The Khoros report also looks at the value of brand communities, and how an active, engaged community can help to enhance loyalty.
There’s also something to be said for being more active online, and responding to fan comments and queries in all social apps. The more active you can be, the more you’ll understand the common pain points, which can then help to guide your thinking around what’s needed for your community efforts.
There are some interesting notes here, which point to the shifting expectations of consumers, and how brands can align with the latest connective trends to maximize loyalty.
And while the core elements remain pretty static, in great product and great service, the ways in which you deliver on such is always changing, which is important to note.
You can download the full Khoros “Customer Advocacy through Brand Communities” report here.