Socially Connected Loyalty Program Members Are More Valuable in the Marketing Funnel Published-Oct 26, 2016
The concept of engagement loyalty and socially connected loyalty program members is a powerful one these days. The value these members bring to a brand is multi-dimensional, offering various benefits.
Chirpify CEO Chris Teso participated in a discussion of these themes in an interview with Loyalty360.
Can you talk about the potential impact of socially connected loyalty program members and how brands benefit from having them?
Teso: The recent study from our customers has shown that socially connected loyalty program members benefit the brand across three main areas. First, they spread the word on social media increasing participation and encouraging new customer acquisition. Second, they are more loyal to the brand and are less likely to shop from a competitor. Third, they shop more often and spend more with the brand. In a nutshell, socially connected loyalty program members are more active in every phase or segment of the marketing funnel.
Can you talk about engagement loyalty and how it can be a powerful tool for brands?
Teso: Engagement loyalty extends the definition of a loyalty program beyond traditional spend and get to reward loyal customers for their engagement and participation with the brand. Engagement loyalty creates a value exchange where consumers feel appreciated across their brand interactions, regardless of channel. It does so by listening for pre-determined social media and messaging actions, applying rules for response, and converting customer’s in-stream. End-to-end engagement loyalty platforms offer the ability to automate responses at scale; moderate responses to selectively reward consumers based on user and/or post specific criteria and proactively surprise and delight customers with rewards.
A recent ROI study conducted by a Chirpify customer of its loyalty members who participated in their engagement loyalty program revealed some very interesting trends across customer activities. Specifically, several important differences were observed between socially connected loyalty members and non-connected members. Socially connected members were shown to have higher Net Promoter Scores, higher trust in the brand, and are less likely to buy from a competitor, spending more with the brand.
How can brands influence loyalty program members to become socially connected loyalty program members?
Teso: We encourage brands to have a strategy with specific tactics that inspire loyalty program members to connect their loyalty accounts to their social media accounts. Brands will frequently send an email to their loyalty program database, encouraging customers to link their accounts. This “socialized” email often gives customers the option of several different social media networks, which in the process, helps inform the brand as to which social channels its most loyal customers truly favor.
A reward for participating with the email and linking the accounts works very well. Other brands activate their members by running campaigns that auto-respond to consumer’s engagement on social with a link to connect. Some brands reward customers with points, others offer entry into exclusive giveaways, but in either case, make sure it is something that your customers will appreciate and feel is commensurate with the ask. We also advise brands to make sure there is an organic element of the program so others can see this action online and either join the program or connect their accounts as well.
How should brands recognize and reward socially connected loyalty program members? Teso: We encourage brands to identify those behaviors they want to reward for – whether it is checking into a new location or posting unique content – and reward members for that. In addition, we encourage brands to take a surprise-and-delight approach where they proactively reward socially connected members for positive, unsolicited advocacy of the brand.
What are the main benefits that a socially connected loyalty program member receives from and gives to a brand?
Teso: It’s clear to many brands that this group of people is most loyal to the brand and, as a result, the brand is most loyal to them. Consequently, socially connected loyalty program members are rewarded liberally for their positive brand interactions and brand advocacy. While rewards vary greatly from brand to brand, we have seen rewards as varied as points, discounts, member-only events, and exclusive content. These members also are apt to receive early access to promotions, new products, and more. In exchange, these loyalty members give the brand significant earned media through their social sharing and advocacy. Indeed, a recent survey by one of our customers revealed that socially connected loyalty members share more often on social media and have higher Net Promoter Scores.
What are the keys for brands to keep customers engaged, especially in the case of Marriott, in between stays?
Teso: One important way brands can keep customers engaged is to make sure they know what customers value most about the brand and the loyalty program. While we found in our customer’s recent study that points tend to be a desired commodity among loyalty members, non-point items, such as an added service, early access, or free upgrade, are becoming increasingly popular as well.
Once a brand has identified what these desired rewards are, it is powerful to use them in carrying the relationship forward by activating campaigns on their marketing calendars. For example, Marriott has a surprise and delight program that rewards its socially connected loyalty members on the date of their loyalty program anniversary with Marriott Rewards points. Whereas a sports retailer we work with rewards customers with points toward gear for participating in regular photo contests. This user-generated content features beautiful pictures of customers outside in their gear; the program positively reflects this brand’s products in what amounts to a mini customer testimonial. In both cases, these brands can keep their customers engaged when not on the property or in the store.
Sourced By: loyalty360.org

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