Businesses in some industries may be able to survive with an endless supply of new customers, but most need to rely on repeat business to survive. Establishing a solid, loyal customer base that returns again and again is a huge test that many businesses can’t pass. Two common ways of addressing this challenge are content marketing and social media marketing. Here’s how you can use these two methods in connection with each other to build a stronger base of loyal, repeat customers.

Use social to share content

A company blog might be a great place to start with content marketing, but it shouldn’t be your only channel for content marketing. Your social media followers are likely to consist of people who aren’t readers of your blog and vice versa so multiple channels means a wider outreach. You can (and should) adapt longer form content from your blog into shorter chunks which you can share as social media posts along with a link to the longer piece for interested readers. In this way you can turn social media followers into blog readers.

Create great content

Duh. If you want to attract loyal customers, you have to be providing them with something they see as valuable. Shallow clickbait pieces and attempts to capitalize on trending subjects even when they don’t really have anything to do with your industry might get you “likes,” comments, and shares, but it won’t get you many loyal followers. Instead you should be using social media to add to ongoing conversations about various subjects relating to your field. You should be engaging in conversation with followers and competitors. If you’re truly adding things to the conversation, and not just parroting back what other content marketers have said, you’re on the right track.

Build a reputation

Creating good content is a huge part of achieving success with social media and content marketing but it isn’t enough. People are less likely to share your content with their friends if your brand isn’t seen as “cool” and reliable. As you establish a habit of only publishing high quality content and as you respectfully and promptly engage with people who comment below your posts, you’ll build a good reputation among social media followers.

Attract the right audience

One study of social media habits uncovered an interesting trend: the likelihood of a post being shared has more to do with who shared it than who originally created it. So while getting a lot of shares of your post is a good sign, it’s even better if those shared posts are shared by still more people and on and on until it’s truly gone viral. To do that, it isn’t enough to get just anybody to share your content, you have to be reaching the right audience. Here are a few tips for accomplishing this.

  • Follow only relevant accounts. Your business’s page should only be following other pages if they’re relevant to your industry and customer base. Your interactions on social media should be limited to engagements with posts by these followed accounts and your own content.
  • Tailor your content so it appeals only to your ideal customer. You may see fewer likes from your immediate following but you should see more shares and a greater ripple effect as it gets passed along further down the chain.
  • Identify and build especially strong relationships with influencers. If you’re active on social media, you’ll start to discover the individuals whose opinions carry a lot of weight with your ideal customer. These are influencers and the people you want to impress since the reach of your content will be dramatically increased if they’re the ones sharing it.

Get permission to text

The ultimate channel for maintaining a loyal customer base is SMS since it entails getting their mobile number and their permission to send text messages to it. You now have a direct line through which you can make exclusive offers that aren’t available to anyone not on your SMS list.