At a recent customer experience event I went to I watched a presentation from a well known global brand entitled “Stop delighting the customer”.

It was a good title for a presentation as it got everyone in the audience to sit up and take notice – surely businesses should  focus on delighting customers in order to develop loyalty?

The main point of the presentation was that satisfying your customers, instead of delighting them, will increase loyalty in a way that is financially sustainable for a business in the long run.

Many big brands are attempting to use social media as a tool to delight. They monitor Twitter streams and pay more attention to comments from those consumers who are connected to larger social networks, or have higher Klout or other social scoring metrics, and they attempt to delight them. And there is nothing wrong with this as enaging with influencers in the right way can be valuable to your brand or business.

However, consumers aren’t slow at catching on to this and as more and more people leverage this treatment it could come at a cost to the business.

Consumers could build networks to leverage against better services that they haven’t paid for. A free upgrade, a better room, or a reservation at a booked out restaurant perhaps.  Already some hotels offer preferential treatment to those guests with a high Klout score.

All these things come at a cost to the operating business, particularly if they don’t have an engagement strategy for harnessing influencers to benefit their brand. If that’s the case, they’re just giving away freebies and hoping for some kind of return.

So while targeting influencers is an important part of your social media strategy, it is important to think about embedding social media in a way that improves customer satisfaction as a whole in order to get the most value from your social media activity.