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How Can Social Media Help Drive Your Loyalty Program?

 

Social Media Loyalty Program
Most companies know it is better to keep your current customers happy rather than going out to pursue new customers. To keep customers happy some businesses have developed brand loyalty programs.

Loyalty Program Primer – What is it?

Rewarding customers is a common occurrence these days. Discounts for repeat purchases, gift cards with purchase and upgrades are all ways that merchants establish loyal customers. Rewards programs do establish brand loyalty providing, however, that the product or service that is being provided meets the customers needs. Loyalty programs have been around for a while and some people may remember getting encyclopedias or place settings at grocery stores. This offer not only provided brand loyalty but encouraged grocery shoppers to return so they could complete the set of what ever was on offer.

How do companies promote on Social Media?

Enter social media. Social media platforms are expanding at an exponential rate. Platforms such as Foursquare and Gowalla offer badges that some merchants honor. For example when a Foursquare user signs in at Starbucks, they may receive a Barista Badge and if customers become the Mayor of a Starbucks location they will unlock special features that will net them some discounts as a reward for their frequent visits.

Why do companies use Social Media?

Social media is being employed by mainstream businesses for many reasons:

  • It’s fast. There is little lag time between the implementation of a loyalty program, such as providing discounted or free products, and seeing the results of the program.
  • Huge networking opportunity. Consumers who use social networking sites are likely to share locations, likes and tips to friends who will also continue to share their feelings about a product.
  • It’s convenient. Business brands can set up a loyalty program and post it online and through social media sites to drive traffic to their online store, brick and mortar shop or site. The social media infrastructure built to host, promote and develop brand loyalty.
  • It’s popular.

How Can Loyalty Programs Benefit from Social Media?

To monitor what their customers are saying about the business. Happy customers are repeat customers and when they are happy they often say so on different social media sites. For example, after a recent vacation to San Diego, I posted a picture I took from the live Shamu whale show. Approximately ten minutes after posting the picture a response from the San Diego Zoo came into my Twitter feed. They were monitoring pictures and comments regarding the Zoo. Using the search bar at the top of the Twitter feed, they were/are able to see who is saying what about their business. In addition to seeing great comments about their products, business owners can identify complaints as well. Consumers may be reluctant to make a call if something breaks or goes wrong with a service or item but often willingly complain about it to their ‘friends’ on line. Social media avenues are an interesting way to see the good and the bad about your business.

  • To provide information to customers about their products and programs. A recent study of frequent flyers identified that they signed up for loyalty program to receive information and updates about upcoming sales and discounts. In addition, if they are receiving this information, then they will be likely to forward it and promote it for you as well.
  • To keep in contact. Getting back to the San Diego Zoo, I was impressed that they took the time to mention me and send me an update and continue to keep me informed of the happenings at the Zoo. Customer contact and personal attention makes consumers feel special and wanting to return.
  • To understand their customer. Information that is provided through the social media streams gives businesses valuable information and buying habits of their customers. Loyalty programs highlight the buying power of the consumer and using the loyalty program can be beneficial to business owners.

Social media is on the rise and using social media to promote a business is the next step. There are many options to use (twitter, Facebook, YouTube) and employing these platforms is a great way to boost brand loyalty and find what your loyal customers actually want.

This post was written by Laura Kelland-May, a freelance writer, blogger and social media neophyte. Laura realizes that social media was developed to speed up the sharing process. She writes consistently for ReliableWriters.com and has supplied content for countless websites, blogs and online travel guides.


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