Social Media exploded into Loyalty Marketing with an unparalleled force, equipping companies with the tools and knowledge needed to build deeper relationships with their customers. Still, even with an arsenal of hundreds of thousands of “Likes,” “Followers,” and tweets, companies must remain cognizant of the fact that social media does not replace the traditional ways of delivering a true customer experience. Some companies have fallen into the Social Media vortex to such a degree that they are neglecting the core of loyalty marketing, leaving the majority of their communications to Facebook posts and word-of-mouth. It seems as though authenticity and personalization have been slowly fading into the background while generalized posts aimed at the masses grow increasingly more common.
I myself use social media daily and, therefore, companies I “Like” on Facebook are constantly inviting me to take a survey or post my feedback on [insert product or service here]. Still, I am not being recognized for the true value I bring to these companies and there is a great deal of opportunity to drive spending behavior that is lost. I recently took a survey via Facebook for a $5 Off Coupon at a local retailer, but I have never received any targeted or follow-up communications from this company since. Additionally, since data is not tracked back to the consumer, they do not know if I spent $5 or $500–and I wasn’t recognized for either.
Don’t Disregard Data Analytics
When personalized email, web and direct mail communications have been replaced with social media, customer segmentation and tiers are lost and your top spending customers are no longer receiving the attention they deserve. It is true that social media can aid in building one-to-one relationships between companies and their consumers, but only if it is used in conjunction with traditional efforts to build and retain your customer base. By utilizing customer feedback and tracking “Likes” strategically, this data can be directly tied back to the customer and used for analytics purposes to drive communications and marketing tactics.
Cons of Social Media Marketing
Time consuming – Social media is often described as an ‘online conversation’, so you’ll need to be constantly feeding your pages and profiles with interesting comments and links to keep people interested. You also have comments to monitor and respond to on a daily basis. Being consistently interesting and relevant all the time can also be difficult to maintain
Long time before ROI – Social media is a long haul strategy. It could be months, or even years, before you start seeing it translating into increased customer loyalty and sales
Dilutes brand voice – If you have more than one person posting messages on social media sites then this can lead to a mish mash of phraseology and tone
Risk of negative comments – If you use social media clumsily, there’s a risk of a public backlash and damage to your brand’s reputation
Loss of control – Anything you publish is open to comment and criticism. Providing an arena for people to post negative comments about your company is the stuff of nightmares for marketers
Social Media is a powerful tool and should be used responsibly while keeping in line with loyalty marketing objectives and methodology. It is not enough to post on Facebook and Twitter; there must be a strategy in place in order to realize ROI while still remaining true to your brand. The “Cons of Social Media Marketing” can be avoided with the right approach and know-how.
“Social media isn’t the end-all-be-all, but it offers marketers unparalleled opportunity to participate in relevant ways. It also provides a launchpad for other marketing tactics. Social media is not an island. It’s a high-power engine on the larger marketing ship.” – Matt Dickman, technomarketer.typepad.com