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Insight, Action and Engagement - Rolling out Loyalty Programs using social media

Posted: 01 April 2015

Loyalty programs have undergone a pretty major makeover in the last few years. The appeal of loyalty stays evergreen but the nature and medium has evolved, and still is at a lightning speed rate. As recruitment, marketing and everything in-between move over to the social side, it's not surprising that company loyalty programs have had to take a good, hard look at themselves.

We all know that (click to tweet) customer acquisition is a chunk more pricey than retention, and there lies all the reason you need to get a loyalty program in place pronto. As an engagement and action-driving tool, it still very much holds its own but it all comes to diddly squat if you don’t go social with your program. Yep, (click to tweet) if there was ever a match made in heaven it’s the loyalty program and social media. The latter fosters every kind of interaction and behaviour that a LProgram could dream of, so imagine what the results of this dream team pair up could be!

The mighty Loyalty Program - Same principals, new medium.

This migration from plastic cards to mobile wallets and social profiles is all about enhancing what a loyalty program can deliver. Before thinking that moving your loyalty attempts to social will revolutionise your engagement and action aims, think about the principles of the loyalty program and how in-tune with them you are. Here’s your LP hit list - a rundown of principals and to-dos. How does yours fair?

  • Don’t just reward for purchase - Social is about increasing exposure and building relationships so reward for participation above all.
  • Prompting action and behaviour - What’s the rate of activity across your campaigns? Are a select few winning rewards? Are your audience hitting and quitting (following an action and abandoning interaction)?
  • Increase your value and company culture reputation - Go beyond offers and coupons, what’s actually valuable to your audiences?
  • Are your desired actions easy to follow through on? Avoid long, complicated forms and requests.
  • Build relationships and brand advocates - Retaining consumers and community is way more important than finding new leads. Put your loyal followers first, deliver for them as well as the newbies.
  • It’s better to give out a series of smaller, ongoing prizes than one big one that only a few consumers can have a shot at.
  • Don’t be scared of exploring your social options - Experiment with QR codes, mobile wallet solutions and SMS. Be where your audience are.

Why and How to go social with your Loyalty Program? - The Big Qs.

Rolling your loyalty program out across your social media doesn’t need to be a pricey, time consuming endeavour. Your LP will need some socialisation savvy so be prepared to ask yourself the big questions, make some nip/tucks and really look into your goals and audiences. The benefits will be well worth it.

Big Question #1 - What are your business goals?

Your loyalty program’s social prowess needs to be aligned with your bigger business goals. You might want your customers to buy more products online, share their personal info with you or spread your brand voice, but how? If you’re looking for extra exposure, what actions can help you gain it? Well facebook shares and Retweets could help massively so how can you promote and encourage it? Tailor the rewards to the reasoning, if you just need a Share or Like then create a fitting reward for that action. Put some thought into the type of program you’re operating, point based are commonplace and effective.

As your program rolls out, you’ll gain invaluable insight that can help you tap into preferred channels and create content that is catered to their interests. Don’t be blind to these golden nuggets of inspiration trickling through.

Big Question #2 - What channels do I use?

This all depends on your consumers, goals and social savvy. A good loyalty program is the gift that keeps giving as the more its used, the more insight you can gather. And so the cycle of targeting keeps moving. The key tip here is to (click to tweet) keep in mind what channel best facilitates the desired action and aim.

The types of LP you can have are endless.

  • Looking to drive traffic to your site? Great, why not reward website visitors with exclusive ads or content located on key website pages? Facebook works a treat.
  • Want to reward your users for ongoing social engagement? So you should. Increase your organic reach by offering points for Likes, comments or retweets. Perfect for every channel from Twitter to Instagram.
  • Aiming to direct newsletter readers or website visitors over to your social media activities? Develop a loyalty ploy that keeps tabs on multi-channel engagement. A tool like Antavo works wonders.
  • Figure out what channels your current audiences like best by socialising your email list. Combine Twitter and Facebook with a competition and see what channels your database gravitate towards. And there you have your channel to target.
  • Hoping to get your hands on more customer data? Offer points in exchange for address, email or birthday info.

Big Question #3 - How do I measure my program’s success?

Monitor, measure and maintain. Yep, social media means you can get a fairly good overview of your ROI. Why work blind when you can have data at your fingertips? Most traditional LPs were centred around in-store, on-location offers and relationships but social media has widened that potential. More than in-person purchases, today’s aim is for engagement and social word of mouth. In short, getting your brand in the pockets and favours of your audiences.  It might seem a bit overwhelming but it gives you a chance to really understand the impact of fans and the success of participation in relation to your bottom line.

Measuring your impact can be tricky. There’s many ways to approach this, each working differently, so it’s really a matter of mix and matching what’s best for you.

  • Retention rate - How long do customers stay with you? Is there a pattern here, did they drop off as you rolled out a new campaign or have your competitors scooped them up with some savvy social smarts? Get looking into program vs. non-program consumers and see what the effectiveness of your efforts was.
  • Bad buzz - Negative feedback and responses are a sure fire hint at your campaign's success. Don’t ignore these comments, keep note of each comment and assess the circumstances. Is it linked to a team member’s tone? Is the program too pushy or making fuzzy claims?
  • Social Word of Mouth - If people are sharing your info and positively talking about you, great! Measure your retweet, Like and share frequency and be sure to recognise your key advocates. Set these numbers against recent campaigns to spot favourable formats.

Audiences and consumers demand and crave one significant thing from you - direct communication and engagement. A loyalty program delivers just that and then some. Yes growth, profit and exposure are the big business aims but what a good LM can deliver is worth more. You can’t put a price on top level engagement and great brand reputations.

Generally speaking, most social channels can easily adopt and breathe life into your loyalty program. There’s a heap of tools out there designed to help you on your merry way. Just remember that a good LP goes beyond promotions and coupons and delivers something of real value to its audiences.

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