Nurturing the relationships your brand has with its customers is important for many reasons, not the least of which is customer retention.

Statistics show that acquiring a new customer can cost up to seven times more than retaining an existing one. So by incorporating tactics to keep your current customers coming back, you will reduce customer acquisition costs and improve your bottom-line.

Here are five tips for using social to improve customer retention:

  1. Cultivate relationships

First and foremost, you must build solid, honest relationships with your customers to keep them loyal.

Understand their needs, desires, likes and dislikes, and give them the content and experiences to match. Social media is the perfect avenue for discovering demographic and psychographic data about your customers, and using this data to inform your marketing strategy.

If you know your customers and engage with them on the topics they are interested in, you’ll build long-lasting relationships – relationships that result in those customers more frequently purchasing your product or service.

  1. Use the words they want to hear

The words you choose to use in your messaging can have a significant impact on customer retention.

For instance, your audience might be early twenty-somethings new to the job market. To keep this audience coming back, you might want to use professional language with a bit of an informal tone.

Using words that resonate with your target audience will create a positive image in their mind that they can relate to, and this will ensure your brand is top-of-mind next time they’re ready to make a purchase.

  1. Personalize your communications

It’s been proven that personalized content gets more engagement. Personalized emails, for example, deliver six times higher transaction rates than non-personalized.

On social media, personalizing your communications means having one-to-one discussions with your customers. If they ask a question on Twitter, answer it (don’t just point them to your FAQ page) – and bonus points for including their real name in the response. If they share a photo of themselves using your product on Instagram, take time to thank them individually and share this content with your network.

By personalizing interactions with your customers on social media, they will feel more emotionally connected to your brand, and will be more likely to remain loyal.

  1. Be consistent

Customers want to be loyal. But in order to be loyal to a brand, they have to know what that brand is.

If you brand’s messaging is scattered and inconsistent, your customers won’t feel a strong connection to your products and services. Tweeting about a technical industry whitepaper one day, a sports game the next and offering up a cookie recipe later in the week is likely going to turn your audience away.

  1. Show the love

As you engage with your audience on social media, you will likely begin to notice that a portion of your audience is more vocal and engaged than others. So why not improve the retention of this small but powerful segment by giving them the VIP treatment?

These vocal, engaged customers can be turned into brand advocates. Consider giving them exclusive access to content, sharing their posts with your network, or offering them incentives to purchase.

Advocates are not only highly engaged with your brand, and thus provide great retention, but they also often recommend your brand via word-of-mouth and improve customer acquisition, too.

Does your social media marketing strategy include tactics for customer retention? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!