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Gaining And Retaining Customers With Social Media

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We’ve all seen the metric that it costs 5-8 times as much to acquire a new customer than it does to generate new business from and existing customer. Whether your actual cost is closer to 5x or 8x, it is still a sizable investment nonetheless and the key reason why we are all looking for new tools to grow existing customer business while reducing new customer acquisition costs. At the risk of repeating what we’ve said in earlier posts, social media is an effective tool to achieve these objectives. Whether your using LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, on other sites frequented by your customers, social media gives you the ability to easily communicate with your market while being able to immediately measure the impact of your efforts.

Below we discuss a few social media metrics we like to monitor. For the sake of this post we have divided them into Retaining Customers versus Gaining Customers metrics, however most of the metrics are applicable to both activities.

Retaining Existing Customers:

Reach – Reach measures the spread of your post, message, conversation (i.e. your content) through the social media world. It is a very fun number to watch as it will frequently exceed your expectations with your Reach quickly growing into the hundreds, thousand or tens of thousands. However, Reach is simply an aggregate of everyone who has seen your content. It should be viewed as your potential social media audience and be used to determine percentages for engagement actions such as click-throughs, re-tweets, comments, likes, etc. — #of clicks/ Reach = % of potential audience that has engaged.

Engagement – Engagement attempts to measure just that – how engaged are those that are viewing your content. While Reach is the fun metric to watch, engagement is by far the most important. Are customer commenting on your content, sharing posts, retweeting, engaging you directly, opting in for additional information or moving from your social media pages to your web site. In effect, is your audience reacting to your content and how so? Are they doing what you want them to do – leave a comment, click a link, etc.? By paying attention to what content generates the most desirable reaction/ engagement you’ll be able to fine-tune your overall social media strategy.

Reviews and Return Traffic – Exceptional customer service is a tried and true way to keep existing customers. Monitoring what customers are saying about your Company/ Brand can help you address any customer dissatisfaction and promote exception customer satisfaction. If comments are trending negative and you’ve seen an increase in unfollows or hidden posts you know that you have a problem. Similarly, Return Traffic metrics can help you determine what content works best to achieve your desired level of engagement or, if returning visitors are dropping, help signify that a potential problem exists.

Gaining New Customers:

Growth in Likes and Follows – Around since the earliest days of social media, Likes and Follows provide a direct measurement on the effectiveness of your social media campaigns. While those new to social media will likely see an immediately influx of new Likes or Followers from existing customers, more seasoned users will be able to use these two measurements to identify the arrival of new potential customers. Of course, new customer Likes or Follows are only beneficial if your campaign is successful in moving them to the next level and they engage with you.

New Group Members / Participants – Paying close attention to who is involved in discussion groups on your brand or commenting on content will help you identify new potential customers. However, it is important to realize that not every social media situation lends itself to making a sales pitch. In some situations, inserting yourself in a conversation can be more detrimental than beneficial so choose your opportunities carefully.

A few additional comments to close out this post. As we’ve discussed in earlier posts, social media is frequently referred to as “free marketing” but it does come with the cost of having to create content, post content, monitor comments & replies and review & analyze the metrics discussed above. Having a person dedicated to managing your social media channels will contribute greatly to increasing engagement and the overall success of your social media campaigns. With 40% of social media users expecting a response to questions posted within one hour, not having the staff in place to meet this expectation can doom your social media efforts. Lastly, you will want to make sure your potential audience is engaging you on business related issues. It is not uncommon to see content posted just for the sake of posting content. If you are unable to use your social media content to engage your audience on business related issues you must change your content or redirect your resources to another marketing tool.

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