An In-depth Guide to Boosting Customer Lifetime Value Using Social Media - Social Media Explorer
An In-depth Guide to Boosting Customer Lifetime Value Using Social Media
An In-depth Guide to Boosting Customer Lifetime Value Using Social Media

Are you using your social media presences to keep your customers engaged with you so that they make more purchases, more often, over time?

What are the best ways to turn your social channels into customer lifetime value (CLV) boosters, and how do you calculate and track those efforts?

As we all know, social media offers marketers remarkable power. But let’s be honest – In all likelihood, you are not effectively maximizing the customer lifecycle optimization potential that your social efforts can deliver.

In this article, we’ll discuss what CLV is and why it’s critical to identify, calculate, track and increase it. Then we’ll take a look at exactly how to do that via your social channels.  

What CLV is and Why it Matters

Customer lifetime value is the amount of money that your average customer spends with you over the course of his or her lifetime. It’s useful to track, because when you know this, you can project the revenue that future customers will send your way, a figure that you can use as a break-even benchmark when compared with customer acquisition costs (CAC).

Taking CLV into account can completely shift how you think about customer acquisition. Rather than brainstorming ways to acquire customers and figuring out how cheaply you can accomplish this, a CLV calculation helps you reshape your thinking into brainstorming ways to optimize your acquisition spending for maximum sales value – rather than simply more new customers.

Considering it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than it is to keep an existing one, it’s an incredibly valuable metric, as it’s inseparable from your customer retention strategy.

According to a 2014 study from predictive analytics firm Implisit, on average, leads captured on B2B websites take an average of 75 days to convert, peer referrals take 97 days, and social media-driven leads only take 40 days to convert. So at least the nurturing process for selling to new sales leads is shortest when social plays a role in B2B product discovery. The 2016 PwC Total Retail Survey, moreover, strengthens the idea that social plays a key role in building positive brand sentiment, which is pivotal when you’re trying to retain customers.

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Referencing CLV as a metric that you try hard to maximize is vital if you want to increase profitability and retention, because it reveals the true (estimated) ROI on customer acquisition. Segmenting your CLV calculations can likewise help you identify which channels produce the most profitable customers.

It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of measuring ROI based on people’s initial purchases. You should be optimizing your marketing activities in terms of the lifetime value a customer contributes to your business. And you should be using your social channels to drive those CLV metrics up. Here’s how.

Incorporate Social Media Activity into Your Loyalty Rewards Program 

Encourage your customers to engage with you on social media by rewarding them when they do so. Award points to members who follow selected social accounts, redeemable for discounts on the products they already love.

Since 90% of loyalty program members desire communication from the programs in which they participate, give it to them on the channels you want to promote. Empower them to engage with your brand and earn points where they spend their time anyway. The bonus here is that since you’re inevitably already hitting your loyalty program members via email marketing, adding a social touch-point primes your members to build an omnichannel relationship with your brand.

The icing on the proverbial cake here is that once your loyalty program members have followed you on your social channels, your brand will keep popping up in their feeds, keeping it in the forefront of your customers’ minds.

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Of course, you can do this all automatically. Antavo, for example, is a loyalty-marketing platform that rewards the social media behaviors you want to encourage. Your customers can complete the action you want them to take, receive points and redeem awards – all in one place. You can even give them choices with stepped levels of reward points for each action, so they can determine what’s comfortable and worthwhile for them.

Offer Discounts to Specific Segments via Social Ads

Creating separate buyer personas and pushing out tailored content which will resonate with each audience and drive them to action has the potential to jack up your sales by 124%.

You’re segmenting your audience, right? Let’s take that concept one (strategic, profitable) step further. With a social selling intelligence tool like Leadfeeder, you can track your site visitors so you know which products, or categories of products, or content topics, they’re most interested in and therefore likely to purchase when targeted.

Anytime someone engages with your website, Leadfeeder does the homework for B2B companies automatically. It integrates with your CRM, empowering you to segment your audience based on their behavior on you website. Then, you can target each segmented audience with social ads and create both upsell and reengagement discount offers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn.

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For example, if Leadfeeder tells you that that customer companies A and B have visited your website six times in the last two months, consistently lingering on Product Q, but have not returned in the last week, it’s time to target them with a Facebook advertisement specifically for Product Q.

Does your CRM tell you that both customers bought Product Q a year ago, and it’s time to restock? Up those click bids! This is a highly focused ad, since you already know who they are, what they want, and how far along in the sales funnel they get before converting. Capitalize on this knowledge.

Provide Top Customer Service Across all Social Channels

We’ve reached the stage where we need to go beyond a 24-hour response promise and a cheery smile. Customer expectations regarding service via social media have skyrocketed: 32% expect a response within 30 minutes and 42% within the hour.

And it gets even more intense: of the survey respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as they do during standard business hours.

Thankfully, the technology is now available to take your customer service to the next level and provide exactly what your customers are seeking. Conversocial is an automated, comprehensive customer service platform that streamlines not only direct customer communication but also internal ticket assignment and escalation procedures. Ultimately, this means you can achieve higher productivity, faster decision making, and the big prize: the opportunity to demonstrate superior customer service in comparison to your competitors.

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In addition, Conversocial offers preventative customer service by automatically finding indirect product or brand mentions on Twitter and Instagram. This way, you can proactively resolve issues before they spin out of control. And of course, it integrates with your CRM so you can track all of your touch-points within a single system and review them at a glance.

Feature Your Customers in Your Social Posts

Everybody wants to feel important. And since 87% of consumers want meaningful interactions with brands, but only 17% believe that brands deliver on those interactions, marketers have some work to do here.

Two-thirds of your audience believes that their relationships with sellers is one-sided – they want more recognition and warm feels from their brands. Give it to them.

Last year, for example, Coca-Cola marketed personalized soda bottles, but they didn’t stop there. The entire world went crazy for them, and Coke – being the marketing geniuses they are – capitalized on the momentum by encouraging people to share pictures of themselves drinking from their personalized bottles. The pictures stormed social media, and Coke pushed them along by featuring, highlighting and promoting them, ultimately making their customers feel like a million bucks, and (bonus alert!) transitioning Coca Cola’s customers into their advertisers.

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In another example, online course sales platform Kajabi is uber-successful at making their customers feel like superstars by featuring them on their social channels. Their #KajabiHero Facebook campaign highlights their customer successes and explains to potential users how this “hero” utilized the platform to bring in significant profits. This strategy allows Kajabi to simultaneously achieve two goals: “pulling their weight” as far as the brand’s responsibility to engage the customer, and exponentially increasing the traffic to their social channels. Win-win.

Invite High-Value Customers to Join a Group for Superfans

 If you’re in B2B, LinkedIn might be a better host for your VIP fan group than Facebook, but regardless of your ideal channel, a great way to drive engagement from loyal fans is granting them exclusive and/or early access to sales promotions, pre-launch sales or special events.

The women’s fashion brand Zig Zag Stripe did exactly this and sold $6 million worth of products in six months. Their superfan Facebook group boasts 45,000+ members and was established as the antidote to the brand’s diminishing engagement on their main Facebook page.

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Zig Zag Stripe’s fans feel like they’re part of an exclusive group, and they enjoy giveaways and prizes for recruiting their friends into their “private, closed circle” of discounts and deals. The kicker here is that every brand has the ability to open a (free!) closed Facebook group and sell directly to the group.

Soldsie software allows you to take this strategy to new heights, as it allows you to post your products to Facebook or Instagram, empowering your followers to purchase simply by commenting. Items are then automatically added to the customer’s shopping cart, promoting easy checkout.

Increase CLV by Channeling the Power of All Your Social Channels

Maximizing your customer lifetime value in relation to your cost of customer acquisition is challenging but achievable. Get creative; implement one or all of the methods mentioned above and untap the full power of your social channels to incrementally increase your CLV.

Focus on the lifelong relationship you’re building with loyal customers and reshape your thinking to focus on maximum lifetime sales value of each customer. They will thank you for it, and so will your bottom line.

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About the Author

Cynthia Johnson
Cynthia Johnson is an entrepreneur, speaker, columnist, and business advisor. She is currently the Director of Brand Development at American Addiction Centers, previously Managing Partner at RankLab (Acquired by AAC Holdings, Inc. 2015), and Founder at Ipseity Media.

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