Using social media in a loyalty campaign is a great way to interact with your loyal customers and build exclusive value for them. The goal of this kind of campaign is to reward your current customers, frequent buyers or to entice customers away from competitors because they get more from you. This can take the form of a discount card, some kind of point system, to keeping a list of your best customers and having an event in their honor.
Creating, marketing, and following through with this event or program is the point in this campaign. You want people to have the desire to be your loyal customer because if they are they’ll be part of an exclusive group that gets XYZ benefit. People love exclusivity, it makes us feel special.
Before you start using Social Media in your loyalty campaign
Audit, Verify, and Plan.
Audit your existing loyalty program (if you have one, if not, start with making one). Make sure that you have everything in place and that it’s working properly. Listen online and see if people are complaining about it, if they love it, or just not saying anything at all.
Verify that everything is working in regards to rewards, any related online tools, and partners involved. People are very vocal online and as you start engaging and spreading it to them you run the risk of a backlash if everything’s not working right. That’s why listening is so important, it will clue you in on any major troubles.
Plan how social media will play a part in this campaign. If you know your plan inside and out you should be able to start seeing where the campaign can be enhanced by social media. Look at your existing resources like customer database, email lists, mailing lists, etc. and decide how you’re going to let them know you’re online (that part should be easy).
Figure out how you’re going to deal with different groups online and how you’re going to interact, deliver deals or awards, etc. to them. You need have all of your offline or traditional ducks in a row first before applying the social media aspect to it.
If you don’t have a loyalty campaign or program and want one then you’ll need plan what you’re going to do. Don’t jump in and make it up as you go. Figure out how you’re going to split up your groups of loyal customers (afterall, treating different customers differently is important), if you even need to, and how you’re going to reward them, what’s going to fit with your business, what’s affordable, etc. First plan it out, then figure out how you’re going to apply social media to it.
Setting up a Social Media Loyalty Campaign
When setting up you need to find out who is already using the platforms you’re on. Twitter and Facebook make it easy because you can search by their email address and find them. After you have found them that’s when you will want to figure things out like do you want to address them based on the platform they use or based on what kind of customer they are or both.
This can get very complicated very quickly, but so long as you have it planned out and stick to the plan you’ll be just fine (unless it’s obviously failing horribly and needs to be re-worked).
Giving exact specifics on this one will be hard because loyalty programs vary so much. How and what you do will depend wholly on your customer, your business, and what you setup. So here I’m going to go over the same 3 platforms we’ve been discussing and give some general ideas and info on each.
Twitter – The newly launched lists are going to be incredibly useful here and you will definitely want to make your loyalty lists private. Here you can reward your Twitter using customers by sending them exclusive deals. If you have your loyalty program broken up in stages dm them links to exclusive events and more. Use this channel to engage and deliver extra value to your loyal customers.
Another option you will want to look at is loyalty based on what they say. You might have 1 customer who buys a ton of your products, yet never really mentions you to their friends while someone who buys very little (maybe due to finances) but loves what they get and tells everyone on a frequent basis.
Look for these people that are helping to build the awareness of your company and driving traffic to you and think of a way to reward them. Make it appropriate and engage these brand advocates because they will be incredibly helpful to you.
Facebook – Using Fan pages to give exclusive deals to your fans is always a good idea, but based on the amount of your users on Facebook, how you have your loyalty program structured, etc it may not work well for that particular purpose. Instead think about private groups.
Depending on where the customers fit and how your plan is structured you might want to consider having private groups for the various levels. This can also be done on LinkedIn with private groups. It all depends on how big your customer base is, type of program, type of customer etc.
Your Facebook fan page can also be used as a great information portal about your loyalty campaign to help get people interested.
Blog – The blog isn’t the best way to deliver exclusive content or offers to your loyal customers, but it is a good place to talk about the program itself. If you have levels, break it down and explain the levels. Make people aware of what’s going on with the program and if you hold events related to it talk about it. Use it as a platform for awareness of the program and as a way to entice people who might be considering you.
Managing a Social Media Loyalty Campaign
Here your biggest challenge is going to be managing who gets what if it’s split up into different groups. You might want to get multiple people involved and have them manage a certain group of people or have one person who knows it all inside and out working it. Depends on how your loyalty program is setup.
You’re probably going to have a lot of ups and downs in the engagement levels and when things are rolled out. You might want to consider creating totally separate accounts / groups that are specifically for this purpose. People are spending more and more time online so making the delivery of info, deals, etc more convenient and giving it to them where they are will always help the perception of your company.
Monitoring a Social Media Loyalty Campaign
Whatever you end up doing and how you end up running it you need to monitor it. Use links that can be tracked and monitored, use discount codes or services that can be tracked and the results tallied. You will want to know how your work is paying off.
If none of your loyal customers are buying stuff using your exclusive offers or whatever they may not think the offers are anything special. If your results aren’t that great look at the offers before throwing the social media applications out the window.
ROI is a valid metric under the right circumstances here. You’ll be able to determine how effective your program is, what kind of repeat buys you get, etc. from your loyal customers. Part of loyalty is rewarding the customers so they will buy more from you so financial metrics will be used as part of the overall metrics used.
Other impact metrics should also be employed to see how people feel about the program and your company, how the message is being spread, etc. This is going to be tricky and require some fine tuning because depending on how you’ve structured it some parts of the program may use ROI as a measurement, while others will need impact since there are no direct financial gains.
Communicate with and get feedback from these loyal groups to find out what they think of the company. Find out what makes them tick and want to buy from you. This is one area where what you do will have more than one use. Here you can not only target your exact audience, but certain portions of your audience and find out exactly what they are thinking.
Talk to them and find out what they want in a loyalty program and what would incite them to buy more and use the offers and such you give them. Once you have this setup and you know who your loyal customer are online, who your gold members are, etc you can take these same lists, groups, profile, etc. that you have created to get VERY valuable feedback.
Knowing exactly what your customers want and why will help you deliver something they want to keep buying and keep talking to others about and the value of that continues to grow over the years with each cent of repeat business you get. Don’t think of your loyalty campaign as just a way to reward your customer but also as building inroads to make your business better too.
Thoughts? Feelings? Input? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters
This is post #4 in a 5 part series about the basic types of marketing campaigns and social media’s place in them.
1. Social Media for Lead Generation and Acquisition
2. Using Social Media in an Awareness Campaign
3. Using Social Media in a Brand Marketing Campaign
Image by Nick J Webb