A loyalty program is a great way to nurture current customers and increase sales, but without putting a spotlight on the program, membership numbers and engagement may stagnate. This is where social media can be a perfect companion platform for such an initiative.
Think of engagement between loyalty programs and social media as a two-way street - it's actually a huge mistake to keep the two separate, because there's always room for both to grow.
A loyalty program can bring awareness to your social channels, and help you build your following by offering points for following social media profiles. Likewise, social can be used to generate curiosity and send people over to your website to check out the loyalty program, sign up, and get more incentives to stick around.
Here are 3 things you can do to create a symbiosis between your program and social media and maximize the effectiveness of your loyalty program:
1. Amplify buzz around your rewards program
The very first thing you can do on social is build awareness for your program, among both new and existing members.
Every single time you introduce a new reward, feature or piece of content that's related to your loyalty program and make sure you're giving it a shout-out on your social channels.
Advanced move: If your rewards program already has tons of loyal members, consider creating a separate Twitter account just for your loyalty-related news, updates and customer service, similar to what Xbox Live Rewards and Starbucks Rewards have done. (This is a really fun way to share user-generated content related to the rewards program, too. People love sharing their rewards on social.)
The Starbucks team shows off their poetry skills while letting people know they can earn double the stars all week. The best part? Starbucks Rewards has its own separate Twitter handle to do all of this on! Image source: twitter.com/starbucksgold)
2. Show customers how and why they should join
Another important feature that's rising in popularity on social channels is video. Of course, video has been around for a long time, but live video is relatively young and brands are just now beginning to capitalize on Facebook Live and Periscope in order to bring attention to their brand and products in the here-and-now.
Inviting special guests or sharing video about new product releases are great ideas that'll interest your followers, and be sure to include some of the information (and benefits) that link the topics you're covering with your loyalty program and its members. The best thing about live video is that it can be saved and watched later, but while it's happening, it sends a notice to everyone in your network who's online. That has the power to grab many more curious eyes than a traditionally uploaded video.
Advanced move: Use live video to promote experiential rewards - if you're doing a giveaway for something like a behind-the-scenes tour, spa trip, or exclusive travel, be sure to let people know on live video.
3. Create better advertisements
If there's one thing we've heard a lot in the last couple of years, it's that customers want a more personal experience. Enough with the one-size-fits-all ads and offers.
A loyalty program is unique because members are often willing to submit personal information, like interests and preferences, as a part of the sign-up process.
A great loyalty program will go a step further and even offer a small reward in return for some extra information, allowing you to refine your targeting even further. Use that to your (and your customers') benefit and offer different types of rewards based on these preferences.
You're probably already using advertisements to introduce your products to new potential fans and customers, but try encouraging loyalty program sign-up by advertising to your current fans, too (exclusive offers for members, anyone?) And, of course, if you're running contests, special offers or giveaways, create ads for those, too, targeting a combined audience of current and future customers.
Advanced move: Export details from your loyalty program members lists and import them into Facebook target ads to your current members, as well as to Facebook Lookalike audiences, which can help you pick up some new customers. A great loyalty program like Antavo will let you do this with ease.
The right loyalty program lets you create customer segments based on specific data fields, so you can optimize targeted ads with that info.
Bonus tip: Make social media platforms the place for your loyal customers to give you referrals
Wouldn't it be great if customers could encourage referrals and be rewarded for it, just by sharing a product page from your website on Facebook? Then when their friends click through and later make a purchase, the customer who shared your Page gets rewarded, making it well worth their sharing effort.
A dynamic loyalty program makes this possible and we certainly encourage it, because referrals are the most powerful type of new customer you can get. In fact, they have a 37% higher retention rate than the customers businesses acquire through advertising.
Connect your social media and loyalty program with a referral system that works via shared website and product pages on social.
The final word
Social media has become a part of marketing, sales, customer service, PR... so why stop there. Putting your social media and loyalty marketing strategies together is a natural way to build each of those platforms for your business, strengthening the bond with your current customers while attracting new customers at the same time.