In social media, the best way to build a strong relationship between your business and its customers is to provide them with incentives for continued loyalty. With the continued growth of social media in business, there are endless opportunities to build strong bonds through rewards programs. The following are a few creative ways to incorporate rewards into your business model.
Stick it to Them
Make yourself familiar with the many check-in services that offer users rewards. Foursquare, Gowalla, GetGlue, and even SCVNGR provide its users with incentive for interacting with brands, locations and more – in the form of stickers, pins, points, or badges. Why is this so popular? Offering these different kinds of rewards generates some healthy competition between users on the platform. Everyone wants to win, and they want the benefits of being in the top spot.
When considering this opportunity for your business, you may want to develop your own creative rewards program. If your business receives a lot of repeat customers, you already have the foundation to build off of. Develop a collection competition that will attract users to your business, encouraging them to share with their friends. For smaller-sized companies, the already established deals-services are nothing to shy away from; these great tools get your name out there, allowing your customers to engage on a deeper level with your business.
A great way to boost the growth of your online community, is to offer online-focused offers. By doing so, you place the attention on your online customers while increasing the presence of your business throughout the web.
Incorporating this strategy into your company can be as simple as offering a discount coupon code to your physical location, exclusively to online users. This will not only increase the traffic to your site, but also drive sales to your store. Your business may even want to consider offering a discount within an email, to further improve your list of subscribers. Whichever route you choose to take, be sure to find out where your customers already are – that way you can meet them there and be sure your message gets heard.
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner
There is no better way to get your customers engaged and create increased buzz around your business than to offer free prizes to users who participate in contests. If you would like to go one step further, ask users to develop some kind of content that is required to enter. This will give your business plenty of valuable content to use, in addition to receiving some free publicity along the way.
When considering this as your next move to engage users, be sure that your prize is worth the hassle. If your grand prize is not all that appealing to your customers, they may not put in the effort in the first place – leaving your content creation campaign high and dry. Smaller businesses may see enough feedback and success just by simply awarding users something free for their simple act of interacting with your company.
Find Your Company’s Celebrity
Everyone dreams of making it big, but if that isn’t in the cards why not be featured in an advertisement? It’s a great way to get your customers involved in promoting your company – featuring them as part of your campaign! Take Doritos as a great example, asking users to submit videos as part of their most recent campaign – the video that was chosen would be featured on prime-time television. Dunkin’ Donuts also utilizes social media successfully, choosing one winner each week to be featured in their Facebook picture as “Fan of the Week”.
When it comes time to launch your campaign, be sure you lay out all of the rules and regulations in a clear, simple way. Having your audience understand what is expected of them prior to the launch, is the best way to avoid negative feedback. A great way to extend the success of this campaign is to announce that the user who receives the most engagement is ultimately the winner.
Put it in the Tip Jar
Build a strong relationship with your customers, by letting their voices be heard. There is nothing more satisfying than to have your suggestions taken seriously by a business you respect. Providing your customers with an opportunity to express what they would like to see improved or updated is a great way to build brand loyalty.
Starbucks is a great example of utilizing this form of customer relations. Their site “My Starbucks Idea” is specifically designed to act as a platform for their customers to express their opinions and offer recommendations to better the overall Starbucks experience. This tactic not only benefits the company, but it also sends a positive message to potential customers that this company implements ideas offered by their appreciated customers.
Show Your Thanks
It’s two short words, but they carry a lot of weight. Customers appreciate being recognized for engaging with your brand, and those companies who say ‘thank you’ generally see a lot more brand loyalty. It’s the easiest way to leave your customers with a positive feeling about your business, making their experience that much better.
Loop this into the above-mentioned “tip jar” tactic, utilizing some sort of feedback tool for customers to engage with one last time. Thank them for their time, and send small gifts on special occasions (i.e. “Happy Birthday”, or holiday-themed).
Ultimately, social media has once again changed the game for businesses. The opportunity to connect with customers on a deeper level has become very widespread, making it even more essential to utilize the tools offered to build a strong relationship. How are you using social media to reward your customers?