The owners of Snapchat – Snap – posted their first earnings figures as a public company this week.All eyes in Silicon Valley will apparently be watching, as it’s going to give good insight into how the company is likely to perform in the long-term, particularly as Facebook is constantly snapping at its heels.At their recent F8 conference, Facebook definitely put a question mark over Snapchat’s future when, believing they can take the technology to another level, lifted Snapchat’s core features and offered it to their user base of nigh on 2 million.(Though apparently, it’s believed Zuckerburg has had his eye on crushing Snapchat ever since Spiegel supposedly snubbed him back in 2012. It may only be a couple of minutes since you both left school, but you’re not on the playground now, boys!)
Of course, public company earnings are only a small part of the bigger picture: a lot of the success of these social media giants is based on market share.
And that doesn’t appear to be good news for Snapchat. They have already seen a slow in growth after having saturated the USA – their core market. Plus, Facebook owned Instagram launched its own version of Snapchat ‘stories’ last year, which is currently taking over the market.
Then, of course, there is Mr. Spiegel apparently upsetting people again. A whole nation, in fact, when rumour had it that he claimed he didn’t want to ‘expand into poor countries like India.’ Ooops!
So yes, Facebook and its Instagram sidekick seem to be taking the lion’s share of the market at present. They are clearly offering the best user experience because their popularity wasn’t even dampened by the fact that they were recently accused, in the Aussie press, of targeting insecure young people in order to push advertising.
And so as not to make them feel left out, we have to at least mention poor Twitter, the social media platform that’s unlikely to cause any waves, as they are barely getting a look in: they seem to have acquired an inability to attract more users.
Users are fickle
In this game of social media cat and mouse though, market share could really go any way in the blink of an eye.
Users can definitely be a fickle breed, especially amongst the young. I recall a conversation about Facebook with a teen some time ago, that was met with rolled eyes and a scoffing ‘Facebook is for old people’ (which, rudely, apparently included me!)
And Snapchat actually does still claim that their users are young and keen to engage.
The problem is, all it needs is for one or the other of the leading social media players to bring out some new-fangled, must have technological feature and any users with the time and inclination to learn something new won’t think twice about switching allegiance again, especially if it will make them even cooler and trendier amongst their peers.
Can social media and user loyalty go hand in hand?
The thing I want to know, then, is this: if Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter and the like can’t bank on customer loyalty for any length of time, is there really any feasible way businesses can use social media to help increase customer loyalty?
Believe it or not, even though the industry leaders out there have a negligible hold on their consumers, social media actually offers the rest of us the opportunity to drive engagement and ultimately, customer loyalty.
Savvy marketers know that customer loyalty is established – and re-established – every time a consumer interacts with a brand.
The way we approach these interactions is vital in creating a positive user experience and maintaining strong relationships with existing customers.
We have to remember that a loyal customer isn’t just someone who buys from you more frequently than most: a true loyal customer will make your business their first port of call without even considering the options that may be on offer from your competitors.
Each time you interact with consumers, you are giving yourself the opportunity to reinforce the satisfaction they have experienced. And this is where social media comes into its own.
If you emailed your customers with the same frequency that you post on Twitter and Facebook, there is every chance that it wouldn’t take long until that ‘unsubscribe’ flashed up in your inbox.
But with social media being the perfect platform for conversations, it is the perfect opportunity for you to support and assist customers and gain that all important consumer feedback, all of which helps to contribute to increasing a customer’s sense of loyalty (whilst simultaneously helping to drive recommendations and lead to new business).
Remember though, relationships are a two-way street, particularly in the fickle world of social media and so you have to give to receive: you can’t just expect customers to interact with your brand and increase exposure for your business if you don’t take the time out to give them a shout out and make your relationship mutually beneficial.
Yes, it takes time and thought, but get it right and social media really can help you set the stage for higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Of course, this has to be part of a wider strategy to create a positive user experience using multiple strands of your business, not just your social media presence. For a more detailed insight into a tactical approach to building your army of loyal customers, talk to The Monachie Project team today.