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Improving customer loyalty by leveraging social media insights

Consumer Products Writer

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More than half of American adults online use two or more social media sites, Pew Research Center research finds. Meanwhile, 4As found that consumers are losing trust in traditional advertising, with just 4 percent of consumers believing that marketers behave with integrity, according to Ad Age. The juxtaposition of these two trends is the reason why consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands are looking to social media for improving the effectiveness of consumer interaction with the brands and driving loyalty.

Social media sources such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest help CPG leaders listen to, learn from and connect with consumers. Here are three ways that CPG leaders are expanding their use of data and analytics to augment their social media strategies.

1. Create real-time, omnichannel experiences.

Brands often leverage social media as a platform for initiating conversations. Thanks to the availability of cross-channel data, CPG leaders can now integrate experiences between platforms.

As an example, consider one snack company's recent product sampling campaign. On the night of the 2014 Grammy Awards, company promoted a hashtag on television that allowed consumers to request free samples through Twitter in real-time, according to Chirpify's case study. During this time, the brand gained more than 15,000 new Twitter followers and represented 5.3 percent of total Grammy impressions on Twitter. From this audience pool, the company delivered 20,000 boxes, its maximum for this particular campaign, to social customers.

Social media enabled this company to collect data and forge individual-level relationships with new consumers. Audience experiences transition seamlessly between digital and offline worlds.

2. Target social strategy for improving consumer engagement.

Thanks to platforms such as Facebook Custom Audiences, CPG brands can tailor their social media ads to specific shopper behaviors and needs. In the past, however, marketers have relied on "sample" data purchased from third parties to create these consumer journey pictures, a technique that, according to AdExchanger, yields success rates of just 20 to 30 percent.

With the increasing trend of loyalty programs and members' willingness to provide more information directly to companies, CPGs can lower cost and dependence on third-party data sources and ultimately have more complete, timely and reliable information about their consumers. One hand sanitizer company, for example, offers loyalty programs that uncover what consumers purchase and why, across psychographic and demographic attributes.

3. Understand purchase and consumption behavior.

Consumer insights enriched with social data at a high level allows CPG leaders to not only listen to and trend what consumers are thinking and feeling about their brands but to understand purchase and consumption behavior. In the fall of 2014, Nestle Purina PetCare's audience social sentiment reached 62 percent, the highest of any other brand during the same time period and twice the CPG-industry average of 33 percent, according to MediaPost. Social media, unlike any other marketing platform, empowers consumers to ask and answer questions freely and drive the conversation while presenting CPG brands the opportunity to be part of the conversation beyond simply trending sentiment and overall brand health.

By creating ubiquitous brand experiences, tailoring marketing messaging to specific customer needs and monitoring audience sentiment, CPG leaders are in a strong position to effectively nurture consumer engagement and drive loyalty. Consumer data in all forms plays a critical role in helping brands build two-way relationships with consumers. Success will come from a process that prioritizes listening, learning and acting with greater precision.

Build brand loyalty by customizing your message to consumers. Learn how on our IBM Consumer Products Industry Solutions Page.