Social media platforms may have been originally intended for communication purposes, but in 2021, social media has the power to go way beyond that.
While Facebook users stay tightly connected with friends and family no matter where in the world they live, businesses can now connect with them, too. Instagram users can instantly share the evidence of how great their day was with their social circles, and companies can target relevant ads to them accordingly. Twitter users can instantly tell their followers their latest thoughts on the hot topic of the day with a single Tweet, which provides brands valuable data they can use to their advantage.
Social media has become one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools in existence for businesses all over the world, and amazingly it has managed to retain its original purpose of providing the average user the best way to personally communicate and stay intimately connected to their online social circles.
Social media marketing for businesses isn't merely a passing trend, either. This form of marketing is so advantageous that it's undoubtedly here to stay. There are many benefits to launching social media marketing campaigns as part of your overall advertising strategy if you're looking to connect with prospective customers. But did you know that you can also use social media to enhance your customer loyalty rewards program?
When social media is integrated into your rewards program, your loyal customers will naturally get to know your brand on a deeper level, which can lead to increased sales. The more consumers engage with your brand on social media, the greater your online presence will become since your loyalty members will start to digitally introduce your brand to new customer pools. In this article, we'll look at what you can do on social media to benefit your customer loyalty rewards program the most.
What's Your Social Media Strategy?
Increasing customer loyalty is a surefire way to grow any business. Customer loyalty rewards programs have proven to be one of the strongest ways to retain customers and keep them loyal, so if you haven't launched a loyalty program for your store yet, now is the time. Bear in mind, however, that simply having a rewards program in place won't necessarily help you stand out from the competition. Many B2C businesses have established customer loyalty rewards programs and because of it, the typical consumer has upwards of twelve memberships. Integrating your social media presence with your loyalty program can be a defining factor that truly will set you apart from the other stores in your niche market, and even B2B businesses are getting in on the action.
You're going to need a strategy if your goal is to use social media to specifically benefit your loyalty rewards program. In order to develop a strategy, you'll need to understand your goals. Are you trying to increase the number of followers? Are you aiming to get one of your posts to go viral? Are you hoping to influence consumers? Or are you strictly promoting your brand to increase exposure? Perhaps you want your social media accounts to immediately funnel viewers to your web or eCommerce site?
Once you zero in on your exact goal(s), you will be able to launch a fruitful strategy, and a great place to start is to first identify your customers' platform preferences. Consumers hunting for the latest trends in fashion, for example, will favor Instagram. Whereas hobbyist consumers who love DIY projects will spend the majority of their social media time on YouTube watching tutorials.
Whichever platform you pour your efforts into, be sure to include your loyalty program's clickable sign-up link in the header of your profile and make sure the enrollment call-to-action procedure is clear. It helps to use attention-grabbing colors and verbiage, and if you're offering an exclusive incentive to reward new customers just for signing up for your loyalty program, make sure that is clearly advertised as well.
Does Your Social Media Voice Match Your Brand?
Whether you realize it or not, your brand has a distinct persona. There are brands that are energizing and motivational, like Nike, Clif Bar, and Crunch Fitness. There are brands that are spiritual and relaxing, like Gaia, Young Living Essential Oils, and Earthmonk Clothing. And there are even brands that suggest a dystopian future is eminent, like Doomsday Press, SurvivalPrep101.com, and My Patriot Supply--yes, there are consumers out there who did not hesitate to buy a 25-year supply of dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Had these brands not presented themselves as the answers to the end of the world, survivalist consumers would never have found them.
What persona does your brand present? What defining characteristics are apparent? If your most loyal customer had to describe your brand, what would that person say? These are questions you can ask yourself to gain a fresh perspective of how consumers perceive your brand. Once you truly understand the impression your brand leaves in the minds of consumers, you can tailor your social media voice to match.
Your social media posts speak to the users who see them, and one of the most powerful places to use your brand's voice is in the caption section of every post you make. This area is where your social media voice can shine the most, and even more importantly, when you craft engaging captions, you can spark conversations in the comments below. The more engagement you generate, the more popular your posts will become, especially on Facebook and Instagram.
Fine tuning your social media voice isn't just for B2C companies, either. If you're interested in introducing your brand to other businesses and promoting your customer loyalty rewards program to businesses that could be your future customers, then using social media is a great way to make those valuable connections.
When Will Your Online Community Grow?
Social media platforms are today's town square. In fact, social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are considered even more public than a literal street corner when it comes to dispersing information. Increasing brand exposure has never been easier than it is currently, thanks to social media sites.
But if you want to grow your online community, you'll have to do more than just publish posts. You will also have to directly interact with your social media followers. Interacting can be as simple as using the caption space to ask your followers questions. Responding to a portion of commenters' comments is important, too, and if any customers DM you with questions or complaints, you must be sure to promptly reply. When you engage with your followers, your online community will grow as a result. Unsure of what to ask? Try asking your followers about their preferences and how they would like to receive notifications from you. You can also ask them about the kinds of rewards they would most appreciate from the customer loyalty rewards program itself.
One of the greatest benefits of engaging on social media is that it helps you build direct relationships with users. For social media users who interact with your brand, the experience of commenting and engaging becomes personal. They will openly share their thoughts, ask questions, offer suggestions, and answer the questions you pose in your posts. In addition to boosting the popularity of your posts--the more popular a post, the more users will see it--when you engage with users, you are essentially able to collect valuable consumer data based on what users are saying and doing in response to your posts. Just remember, effectively socializing on social media requires a time commitment if you want to build meaningful relationships and successfully convert followers into customers.
As you develop, launch, and monitor your social media campaigns, your online community of followers will naturally grow. Not only will your followers see your social media posts, but every time a follower "likes" or "shares" a post, they will end up exposing your brand to their own social circles. This has the potential to connect your business with social media users who might not have otherwise heard of your brand. You can even increase word-of-mouth mentions on social media by coming up with clever hashtags for your loyalty program that members can use to earn bonus rewards points. When you use a specific hashtag with a clear CTA (call to action), you'll increase engagement while spreading the word about your brand, and you can easily review the mentions. You can even create a social currency to reward followers for following through with the CTA.
What Can Social Media Do for Customer Loyalty?
One of the most remarkable aspects of using social media to expand your business is that social media offers an excellent way to gather consumer opinions and integrate the feedback you collect into your efforts to improve customer relations and customer service at your company. With social media, you can listen to customers on a whole new level. When you use your social media platforms as if they're open-source focus groups, you can gain valuable consumer insights and data that can be leveraged for future promotions.
To track and automate social media hashtag engagement in order to allocate bonus rewards points as promised, you can use a social ID on social media. The social ID will identify any online brand engagement for you, and automatically link that engagement back to your loyalty members' existing customer records within your loyalty program software.
Depending on the specific loyalty rewards program platform you're using, you may or may not have to take additional steps to ensure that social media engagement is properly triggering the allocation of bonus rewards points for your loyalty members. For instance, you may have to ask your loyalty members to connect their social media accounts to your digital loyalty rewards program so that when a user hashtags your brand, products, or services correctly, your rewards program will pick up the activity automatically.
An advanced model of this system would include linking the customers' social IDs to the CRM records that are tied to your eCommerce data so that your loyalty program can track the conversion rate, i.e. the percentage of social media activity that converts to members earning-and-burning rewards points. In essence, this advanced model would give business owners insight about their social media ROI and the loyalty program's impact on financial success.
If you're looking to launch a customer rewards program to connect with customers, build loyalty, and promote your brand, then Loyal~n~Save is for you. Our digital rewards program integrates classic scan cards with a full-customizable mobile app to help you attract, engage, and retain customers in an automated way that will free you up to do what you do best--run your business. Our loyalty solutions suit businesses of all industries. Contact us today to request a live demo and learn about how launching your customer loyalty rewards program on our platform can grow your business.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.