What’re the first few things you do after waking up in the morning? Is one of those things checking your mobile device? If so, you’re not alone. According to a Deloitte Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 61% per cent of respondents also claimed to check their phones within five minutes of waking up each morning.This statistic shouldn’t be surprising. With 2.307 billion active users on social media in 2016 (31% of the global population!), our world is more connected than ever before. No matter where you are, thousands of people are available right at your fingertips.
For businesses, this interconnectivity provides an opportunity to connect with customers in ways that simply weren’t possible before. Each time your customers pick up their device, they have the opportunity to start a digital conversation with your company. Whether it’s through direct messages looking for support, reviews shared with their network, or referring a friend to your website, customers can interact with your brand 24/7 through a variety of digital and social medias.
As social media continues to permeate every aspect of the shopping experience, it’s quickly developing into a tool that is all about building relationships with your customers. These relationships offer an engaging experience that builds trust with your brand. Joel Comm, NY Times Best Selling Author and Social Media Guru, said it best:
With this in mind, it’s clear that social media can play a huge role in your customer retention strategy. So what better way to engage your customers than by integrating your social media strategy with your rewards program? Since your rewards program is designed to improve customer retention for your store and social media is a major driver of customer loyalty, the two are an obvious match. Through a combination of rewards for social actions, social promotion, and social analytics, you too can find success by engaging your customers more than ever before.
Let's find out how!
Incorporate Social Media Actions Into Your Rewards Program
Involving social media actions is one of the easiest and most engaging ways to create a better customer experience for your program members. With so many users on social media, giving your customers the option to earn rewards for social actions they perform on a regular basis will make them feel like reaching a certain points balance is attainable. These achievable milestones will in turn increase the likelihood of them participating in your program.
In addition to high engagement rates, involving social actions in your rewards program will increase the likelihood that your brand is shared across your customers’ social media networks. The impact of this can be huge: 33.2% of social posts reach up to 999 people, while 24% of social posts can reach up to 5,000 people. Through social sharing, you are tapping into the digital networks of each of your customers, which can result in global exposure for your brand and rewards program.
In order to create the best possible experience for your program members, choose to reward social actions that make sense for your brand. Encouraging customers to earn points by sharing your products on a channel that most of them don’t use will cause frustration and low redemption rates. Instead, find a way to incorporate popular channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram into your rewards program to give your customers more opportunities to earn points in ways that make sense to them!
The possibilities for rewarding your customers based on social actions don't end there. You can take it beyond simple follows, tweets and shares by incorporating out of the box social actions: awarding points for geolocation, hashtagging across platforms, or even sharing a photo using a company-branded filter on Snapchat.
Social actions are a win-win: finding ways to integrate popular platforms into your rewards program will create a more engaging experience for your customers, while also resulting in more exposure for your brand.
Use Social Media to Promote Your Rewards Program
With so many users all over the world, social media is an incredible resource to help you create awareness about your rewards program on a global scale. Once you’ve determined which platforms your target audience is most likely to interact with, you can begin sharing rewards content that’s been designed with your audience in mind.
Social sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Snapchat are releasing improvements to their platforms everyday, and these changes give you countless ways to communicate the value of your program on social media through a combination of creative and visual content.
For example, Instagram Stories allow users to “share photos and videos in slideshow format”, disappearing within 24 hours from their original post date.
This is an incredible tool for businesses who want to share visual, interactive content with their followers. Take Ben & Jerry’s, for example. To build buzz around the launch of their dairy-free product offering, the ice-cream giant took to Instagram Stories to both showcase their product and build excitement around the upcoming release. This campaign also kept followers coming back for more information on Ben & Jerry’s profile leading up to the release.
You can do something similar with your store’s rewards program. The disappearing feature of Instagram Stories is a creative way to share a “teaser” of a new rewards program feature or redeemable reward, helping your customers feel like they’re in-the-know before anyone else.
Another unique tool for building buzz around your rewards program is an interactive Twitter Poll. Twitter Polls can be used to gain feedback from your customers in real-time, which can be extremely valuable in designing a rewards program that actually meets their needs. Not only do they provide valuable feedback, Twitter Polls also create buzz for followers who have yet to join your rewards program. When your followers see members engaging with the program on social, they’ll want to know what all of the hype is about, too!
Companies like Airbnb use Twitter Polls to engage with customers who are using their services in real-time. This feature benefits Airbnb in two ways:
- it allows them to start a conversation with their customers
- It gives them insight on how to position their locations or “services” to potential customers moving forward
For rewards programs, this feature can be leveraged to find out what kind of rewards customers would like to see in your store moving forward, or the reasons why they like being a program member. This information not only gives you feedback, but also puts your members’ feedback in front of potential customers. This visibility builds trust between your shoppers and brand, and validates a new customer’s desire to join your program.
In addition to creative ways to showcase your rewards program, social media provides easy access to your content as a brand by making it simple for you to link customers back to your web page. From there, there are countless ways you can convert your followers to program members through engaging, visually-delightful calls-to-action. Sephora is a great example of this at work:
With a clear link to their rewards program and an easy-to-understand value proposition on display (500 points for completing a purchase) customers can quickly understand what they have to gain from joining the rewards program. This reduces the barriers and makes Sephora’s rewards proposition extremely desirable.
No matter how you choose to do it, the most important thing to remember when promoting your rewards program on social media is to cater your content to the platform you’re sharing on. If you’re sharing the right message in the wrong place, the value of your program won't be understood. When you’ve determined where your customers are, how to engage them in conversation, and how to position your program creatively, you’ll be on track to promoting your rewards program effectively!
Use Social Media Analytics to Improve Your Rewards Program
You might have designed your rewards program to better engage your customers, but how do you know if you’re achieving your goal?
One of the ways social media can be leveraged to improve your program is through analytics. With powerful tools like Hootsuite Analytics and Buffer, you can monitor your social performance and analyze key metrics in real-time. These metrics will not only give you insight into what content your followers are engaging with but will also help you determine why.
Let’s say you are running a rewards program in the cosmetics industry, and you are designing a social media campaign that features one of your products as a reward. Tracking the results of this social campaign has given you an indication of how interested your members are in redeeming the new reward, and engagement rates are low. This may mean that members of your rewards program are not interested in this reward, reducing the likelihood that they will want to participate in the program.
In this situation, you may consider running a social campaign that features a bestselling product as a reward. This reward will motivate customers to perform more actions that will result in redemption, such as sharing your brand on Facebook, following you on Instagram and Twitter, or referring a friend. Performing A/B testing on your social campaigns and tracking the results through analytics will allow you to make data-driven decisions about what members want from your rewards program and what they simply don’t “like”.
A Rewards Program Worth Sharing
With social media, your rewards program can become more effective than ever before. Social media platforms act as promotion tools with global reach, while providing countless ways to reward your customers for brand engagement. In addition, your social analytics act as market research, allowing you to cater your program based on member behavior.
It's no secret that a rewards program and social media go hand-in-hand. Now go make an impression on your followers!