Since it costs far less to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one, marketing strategies that focus on incentivizing current customers are more than welcome in any kind of business. That’s why loyalty programs are not going out of fashion.
These rewards programs offered by companies to customers who frequently make purchases are traditionally associated with in-store shopping. But, with the growth of social media networks and development of e-commerce, loyalty programs haven’t lost their significance. More than ever, they serve as a catalyst for the so-called super fans. Considering the number of people using social media nowadays, it’s obvious that social networks are the future of loyalty programs.
So let’s see what social media can do for your loyalty programs.
Ask for Opinion
According to research, 90 percent of loyalty programs members want interaction with the program, they’re in. They want something more than just loyalty card. They want engagement, so use your social networks to ask your audience how you can adapt your offers for them. People like being asked for an opinion. Of course, this may seem like a double-edged sword at first because people can leave negative comments, as well. But think of it as a two-way communication opportunity which, if well-managed, can help improve your business. If you listen to your customers, you can learn valuable and direct insights about your program.
If I didn’t check-in, did it really happen? – That’s the real Hamletian dilemma of the modern age. People love showing their friends or followers where they go and what they do because it helps build their social currency. So, make sure you implement this in your loyalty program offer.
Reward Facebook or Swarm check-in with points, badges or discounts. The reward doesn’t have to be material – sometimes becoming a Mayor of the local coffee shop on Foursquare is the sufficient motivation. And when people brag about it – it helps spread the word about your business.
Use Game Mechanics
You may have noticed people love playing games. Competing against others and ourselves is something that is bound to human nature. Using game mechanics in your loyalty program drives deeper participation. Air Canada used this in their “Earn Your Wings” campaign. They awarded flyers badges as they finished specific challenges (different badges for different airports, etc.) and converted them to air miles. Top badge winners were announced on official website. This simple game translated to return on investment of 560 percent for this program.
The psychology behind this is simple: the thrill of close competition attracts people’s interest and makes them involved and encouraged to do more.
Organize Social Media Contests
Considering the above said about “gamification” of your loyalty program, have in mind that people also love contests and giveaways. Whether you go for a Facebook quiz or simple share-to-win giveaway, make sure your prizes are something people would want to win. Remember that all this serves as a promotion for your brand, so why not make visa gift card a prize? This is a double win because it promotes your brand and your loyalty program. Plus, it’s certainly more appealing than giving away generic promotional material.
Encourage social sharing
The concept is simple – every time someone shares some content from your website to their social networks, they get points. This way customers become marketers for you. The best thing about it is that’s quite easy to encourage because it’s not time-consuming and requires very little effort.
It’s even easier when your content is worth sharing – meaning it’s informative and/or amusing. Through social sharing, you can increase word of mouth mentions of your brand. This is valuable because consumers think of a conversation with friends or family as the most trusted source of information. Positive brand mentions on social media increase your credibility among both new and existing customers.
Another way to make your customers feel special is to reward them when they recommend your business to a friend. Since an average person has 634 friends or followers in their social network, it’s a significant group of potential customers you can indirectly approach. Simply find a way to show your appreciation for people who endorse you. This way, customers become advocates for your brand on social media and help spread previously mentioned word of mouth. The more people someone brings you, greater the reward should be. Whether it be points, special badge or a chance to test a product first, make sure it gives people feeling of exclusivity.
Social media development changed the game of business, for sure. Although the concept of loyalty programs was introduced long before social networks, the concept had to change and adapt to keep up with developing technologies. So it did, and it got better. But the very core of the loyalty program idea stayed the same – it’s still a step beyond promotions and competitions.
The audience nowadays is more demanding than ever, confirming that old (slightly changed) saying – loyalty is a journey, not a destination. Bear in mind that engagement is the biggest indicator of customer’s loyalty. So go ahead and use the audience you already have on social networks to reach the maximum potential of your loyalty programs.
So, that’s the guide about social media loyalty programs.
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