Why Social Media Communities Aren’t Cutting It!

I am not arguing against the benefits of customer loyalty communities.

In fact, most of the Fortune 500 brands are working hard towards cultivating a huge network of loyal customers online. Generally, this activity of community-building happens on social media channels, where brands build pages and platforms for attracting and retaining those loyal customers.

However, many brands develop a myopic view around their quantified and categorized loyalty group, which starts limiting their ability to reach a larger group of customers. Here are three considerations I wanted to share for building any customer community strategy:

1. Social Media Isn’t a Customer Loyalty Platform
Basically, all our social media platforms should be our last option (and not first) for creating the customer loyalty programs. The truly loyal customers don’t need to be continuously incentivized towards liking and adopting a brand. These customers are already convinced, condemned and supporting brands throughout their public and personal social media platforms. Actually, a brand’s customer loyalty programs on social media should not be focused on loyal consumers at all—it should be focused on those who are not loyal towards their brands.

2. Customer Loyalty Has More Reach
When social media is no longer about driving brand loyalists, but instead about converting unsure customers to less uncertain customers, the question arises: How does a brand reward and promote loyalty? This question is very different from how a brand creates loyalty. And, it requires a brand to think beyond its social media platforms, into the universe of social media.

All the loyal fans of the brands are already talking, sharing and engaging on behalf of the brands. But the question is, how are they being found, tracked and incentivized? Right now, there are a variety of platforms and tools that are looking towards individuals for brand reviews. Nowadays, brands have started hiring these strangers to promote their products and frequently, they get disappointed when a few weeks or months later this stranger (an influencer) promotes another similar or competitive brand.

3. Incentivize the Talkers
The important aspect that most brands need to consider is how to incentivize and promote their current brand evangelists, i.e. loyal customers. For truly building that community, a brand doesn’t need all of them on the same platform. Instead, they need to be engaging and responding to them where they already are present and encouraging them to endorse on their behalf.

What if instead of paying a social media influencer that has no brand experience to promote a product, a brand paid a current consumer loyalist to promote a product? Incentivizing the current follower & fan base of a brand is one of the best way for driving new customers, new engagements and more individuals converting to your brand.I would recommend to leave social media for the non-fans.
So Get Connected to the Right People, at the Right Time and obviously for Right Reasons.

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