Instagram has over a billion active users. Seemingly, this makes the platform a perfect place for brands to find their target audience. However, it also means that no matter what type of business you’re in, you probably have innumerable competitors vying for the same audience on Instagram.
A brand’s ability to build a productive and profitable space of its own on Instagram depends on how many active followers it has accumulated on the site. Getting new customers to care, let alone engage with your brand, is always a challenge. Many marketers on Instagram invest in social signals like Socialboss followers to build up a firm follower count and leverage the benefits or social proof and loyalty of potential customers. The task of engaging customers gets easier when you concentrate on establishing an active and responsive follower count.
An active, engaged organic base of followers helps build social proof that highlights your customer retention ability as a brand. Social proof left by real followers serves as a natural incentive for new audiences to follow your account. It gives authenticity to your brand story and identity.
That’s why concentrating on building a returning customer base is a great Instagram marketing strategy for strengthening your brand’s credibility and customer trust. Focusing on keeping existing customers happy and loyal to your brand will boost your reach and exponentially increase your engagement and conversion rate. Hence, customer loyalty is a must-have for your small business to establish a successful brand presence on Instagram.
But What Is Customer Loyalty?
When a customer returns to a particular seller for their products and services, this buyer is considered “brand loyal.” Customer loyalty is an essential proof indicator, but it is also a means of ensuring there are actual conversions and sales coming as a result of an online account.
When it comes to Instagram, its direct sales feature is much like Facebook’s marketplace. Although actual buying through Instagram is not available in all countries, the site provides the provisions for shopping through tags and call-to-action (CTA) buttons. Customers can directly checkout on Instagram after making their purchases. Building customer loyalty involves creating strong interpersonal relationships with your target audience so that the customers are motivated to return to shop with you.
How Can You Build a Loyal Customer Base for Your Small Business on Instagram?
If you want customers to keep coming back to your brand, you have to connect with them in authentic and meaningful ways. This applies to businesses of any size or category. As a small business, there are some things you can do better personally on social media platforms like Instagram to build brand loyalty and the perfect customer experience with your business.
Here are nine tips on how to build your customer loyalty.
1. Focus on opening a dialog, not just broadcasting messages.
Of course, you are a business account and you must showcase your services and products, but Instagram is a two-way communication platform. Hence it’s essential to listen to your audience as well.
Never be satisfied by just broadcasting your schedule and advertising your wares. Engage with your existing and potential customers to establish a sense of connectedness, trust and credibility.
2. Be responsive and accessible for your customers.
As a small business, you have to work hard to establish confidence with visitors. Give them a reason to try you out by providing personalized and swift customer support. A great brand is always responsive to questions and comments on social platforms. Your job is to respond in the shortest time possible, politely and courteously.
If responding manually to every customer is not possible, or you can’t frequently check the account, consider investing in automated responses that tell your audience that you will follow up shortly. Although it’s vital to engage with as many of them as possible, it’s also essential to let them know that you see and acknowledge them. Being responsive assures customers that you put your clients first and that you care about their needs.
People are more inclined to be loyal to a brand that makes them feel respected and welcome. A brand that engages with its customers has more chances of building strong brand loyalty.
3. Highlight positive customer reviews.
What is the best way of convincing a customer that your brand is worth investing their trust in? A firsthand account of another customer’s experience with you, of course.
Share reviews left for you by genuine customers. Tag them if they have used Instagram checkout to purchase your products. Let potential customers check out endorsements of your account to be assured of your authenticity and quality as a seller. You need this all the more if you are selling exclusively through Instagram, as your customers do not have too many options to find a second opinion about your business. Establish your social proof by reminding current customers why they are happy with your brand and let potential customers make up their minds about you by posting reviews and endorsements now and then. Share this on any other social media site you may have an account on. Ask your customer to share their thoughts of you on their walls too. Remember to ask your customer’s permission before tagging them or creating a post about their shopping experience with you. This will only reinforce brand loyalty.
You can ask your customers to write about you and post stories, reels, or regular posts about their experience shopping with you. Remember to thank your customers when they do publish their opinions and reviews about your small business. Showing appreciation only strengthens your communication with your customer base, and it works to reinforce your brand loyalty positively.
4. Incorporate user-generated content in your strategy.
User-generated content (UGC) is known for creating brand loyalty better than other forms of content. When consumers upload photos and videos using your brand’s products, more substantial social proof is made for your business by content created third party, by your existing customers.
Consumer psychology is such that they consider displays of products more authentic and trustworthy than direct advertisements explicitly designed for the products. So ask your client base to tag your business and take permission to share such UGC. This will drive engagement rates up for both you and your users too.
5. Update your audience frequently.
This does not mean offering up all information on social media. But you can indeed provide some news of:
- upcoming events
- behind the scenes stories
- expansions and changes of address
- products and service updates
- contests, campaigns, and giveaways
Your customer retention rates will rise if you make your clients feel like they know your company. Keep them updated and in the loop about your business practices. Communicate to create ambiance, anticipation, and a receptive environment for your brand.
6. Collaborate on compelling content.
Most professionals collaborate with social media influencers to showcase their products, videos, and behind-the-scenes stories. IG users prefer to get all information about a brand and its products from influencers rather than from direct advertising put forward by the business.
Keeping this in mind, collaborate with micro-influencers to create content that gives your users product information, product testing previews, brand reviews and related advice.
To find influencers who can create favorable public opinion and real audience traction for your brand, look for:
- Instagram users who are relevant to your brand image.
- influencers who are truly comfortable with your brand, as live broadcasts have a better brand loyalty creation rate.
- specialists who understand the ins and outs of your industry and are able to predict target audience behavior.
- influencers who have a good audience history and have successfully created high customer engagement and retention rates.
- influencers who are not afraid to product test themselves, as this builds trust and credibility for your brand.
7. Stay true to your brand values.
Customers will return to you if they feel you’re a trusted business. And trust is built on consistency and stability.
This does not mean you cannot experiment with what you want to sell and how. However, it is crucial to stick to certain business ethics and principles. Brand loyalty is, for many customers, about identifying with your brand values. The right audience for your business will also want to align with your beliefs and brand values. You can educate your existing and potential customer base about your business values by:
- creating content that showcases your brand values (perhaps the environment, or ethical business practices are your thing).
- supporting causes that align with your business values (a reforestation or recycling campaign).
- collaborating with content creators and influencers who share your principles (don’t work with someone who does not use non-biodegradable products if that’s what you do).
Create posts that may not be related to your products but keep your audience informed about your values. You might post content that initiates dialogue about the environment or about advancements in medical science. Let your audience, both new and old, identify your products with those very ideas and buyers will be automatically drawn to your products and services.
8. Be genuine!
The best way to retain a loyal customer base is to be authentic about who and what you are. Whatever you choose to advocate for and present to your audience, don’t just do it because you think it might work. Really discover what matters to you and your brand.
Consumers will always be more inclined to purchase from you if they believe you’re honest. Communicating with your audience, too, should be based on authenticity. Returning customers look for value-driven businesses that value authenticity and honesty.
9. Adapt to an ever-changing platform—but be patient.
Customer loyalty needs time to build. The key is to be patient as you spread awareness of our brand. Think of using features you can set up using the Facebook and Instagram seller interface like dynamic ads, “try before you buy” offers, discounts and recommendations for subsequent purchases. Let your customers have all the convenience of shopping from a new brand, including easy returns and exchanges.
Also, keep in mind, the Instagram is constantly updating itself and bringing out new features. Keep yourself up to date and use new features of the platform to your advantage frequently. Some exciting features you can use to build brand loyalty include: Going live, Dynamic carousel ads, Promoted posts, Shoppable tags, and CTA buttons in your bio.
Building customer loyalty is an art. It requires continued efforts from your end, no matter how new or old your client base or how large or small your business. Give your customers the best reason to choose you and return to you—every time. Connect with your audience, be responsive and attentive to their needs and prerequisites. Study your audience’s behavior and preferences, and let every customer have an individualized and memorable experience with your services. No one can build brand loyalty overnight, but it does not take long to break it. Build customer loyalty by implementing intelligent marketing strategies that promote your brand while keeping the customer at the helm.
In the end, good customer loyalty is built on trust and communication. You must be dynamic and flexible in your marketing approach. At the same time, you must provide quality service and a great shopping experience for everyone. If you’re looking for more tips on using Instagram to tell your brand story and transform your customer experience, subscribe to the TopRight blog! Or connect with me on Twitter and on LinkedIn. You can learn more about how to bring simplicity, clarity, and alignment to your brand’s story, strategy, and systems in our best-selling book: Marketing, Interrupted.