Loyalty programs are incredibly popular. Target, Starbucks, Macy’s and Nordstrom all have one, and for good reason. They’re used as a customer relationship management tactic, and they give you access to customer information while giving your customers a reason to shop with you!
Basically, the loyalty program is usually a card you swipe when you buy something that gives you access to discounts you wouldn’t get otherwise. Giant gives you gas points for free gas. Boscov’s gives you a minor discount on your purchase.
But how can these in-store programs transfer to social media, or vice versa? Actually, it’s not that difficult. A little bit of creative thinking can go a long way here.
Exclusive Loyalty Offers
Exclusivity is the name of the game when it comes to loyalty programs. It wouldn’t be difficult to include a section for people’s Twitter handle. Then, instead of a blast marketing campaign where hundreds of e-mails are sent out, send out an offer over Twitter!
For example, anyone who buys so much and uses Code X can get an extra 15% off their purchase. Or, recommend this program to a friend and receive a $10 coupon to our store. Having a loyalty card for your store could be the offer that sets you apart from your competitors during the cutthroat holiday season, especially if you tie your loyalty program into their smartphone with a platform like Perka. Your customers can get rewarded with loyalty offers from their very own phone while they’re in your store!
Let’s face it, Amazon had a fantastic idea when they allowed people to post their own reviews online. Even if I’m not purchasing an item from Amazon, I’ll still look up my product there and see what people are saying about it. Allowing people to post their own reviews of your product or store online is good for two things: It allows your customers to have an honest view of your products, and it allows you to see what areas should be improved.
Events that showcase your customers are generally a staple of any CRM program implementation. It’s great to have a small way to do customer appreciation, but how many people get to see the “Weekly Winner” or the most recent person to complete the hot wings challenge? Post those pictures online and use them to help fill up your feeds (assuming the person pictured has given the OK).
Target Current Customers
Of course, you don’t have to target all of your customers. The 80/20 rule applies here as well, with about 80% of your business being generated by 20% of your clients. Since you have a loyalty program, get them involved. Offer an online loyalty version, since they can’t always swipe their cards online. Have people enter a contest; the winner could get a big prize based off of a YouTube review of a new product line!
What’s the Point?
All of this is great for the company, but how does this actually translate to value for the customer? There are some smaller companies that have figured that idea out.
Take Ipsy, a monthly makeup subscription service, as one example. You sign up, pay $10 each month, and receive a selection of makeup. They’ve gotten popular very quickly though, so you’re put on a waitlist until they can work you in. Ipsy allows you to “Skip the Wait” by liking them on Facebook, following their Instagram feed, and convincing some of your Facebook friends to sign up as well.
They also offer points for existing customers for things like posting pictures of their products on Instagram and Twitter, which you can then redeem online for products. Essentially, it’s a social media based loyalty program! They aren’t the only ones, either — Lancôme has also been working on a similar practice since April!
Obviously, there are a myriad of ways that social media can mix with loyalty programs. There are no tried and true ways yet, so experimentation is your best bet for success. After all, this is uncharted territory; nothing is off limits yet¡