Article

Emma Smith
Emma Smith 26 November 2013

How to use social sharing to build customer loyalty: lessons from John Lewis and Higgidy

What we can learn from big and small (budget) brands about using social sharing to build customer loyalty.

It’s that time of year again when you can’t switch on the TV without being bombarded with Christmas adverts. From the latest gadget available from Argos to all the party food you could ever need from Marks and Spencer, brands are product pushing as if their year-end bonus depended on it.

 

But there is growing evidence of a shift away from product advertising and towards more emotive advertising. As digital channels become a core part of advertising strategies, retailers are creating more memorable, shareable campaigns that will attract chatter and interest on social media sites. Building shareability and customer loyalty has become key.

 

John Lewis’ Christmas advert is a prime example of this. The “bear and the hare” is the latest in a series of Christmas campaigns which focus on the feeling that giving and receiving a gift from their store will give, rather than on their product range.

 

It’s an approach that’s paying dividends. As of last week, the 2013 John Lewis Christmas campaign had achieved 15,000 mentions by people admitting to getting emotional at the advert, with 133,000 social media mentions in the first weekend of its release alone. This compares to last year’s 221,000 total Twitter mentions in November.

 

The good news for those of us on less extravagant budgets is that you don’t have to have £7 million to achieve results or increase customer loyalty. In fact you can punch well above your brand weight just by harnessing the shareability of social media, as proven by one of our favourite Sussex brands, Higgidy.

 

Higgidy is a family-run business that makes excellent homemade pies, quiches and slices. Earlier this year they took advantage of National Picnic Week to launch a cost-effective promotional campaign called the “Higgidy little summer picnic.’ The campaign was run entirely through social media, with the aim of growing awareness and getting more people to sample their products. Higgidy customers were encouraged to enter a competition to win a summer picnic for one, with a branded Higgidy cool bag, quiche vouchers and other foodie treats from partner companies as the prize. Another prize was offered for the best Higgidy picnic picture, which further encouraged social sharing.

 

Over the course of the campaign, Higgidy increased their Facebook fans and Twitter followers, welcomed over 70,000 new visitors to their website, and added over 30,000 new sign ups to their newsletter. The campaign is now a finalist in the Chartered Institute of Marketing “Marketing Excellence” awards.

 

Rather than aiming to simply increase sales in the short-term, it’s important to build loyalty with your customers and give them a reason to interact with you. As John Lewis and Higgidy show us, success lies in harnessing social media with memorable and sharable campaigns.

 

For advice on how you too can bring your brand to life and build customer loyalty, why not contact us?

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