5 Ways Retailers are Finding Business Value in Social Loyalty

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By Chris Mike, Chirpify
These days, retailers spend a lot of time obsessing over letters, specifically CAC and CLV. Most know these terms as shorthand for customer acquisition cost and customer lifetime value. Both are key concepts and incredibly important metrics if you operate a retail business.
What more and more brick-and-mortar business operators are discovering is that social media is not such a good tool for acquiring customers, but it can be an incredibly powerful tool for retaining them. The social landscape is changing rapidly. It is becoming increasingly difficult and more expensive for brands who turn to social looking to find new customers. But if brands looked at social through a brand loyalty lens, the pathway to increasing customer lifetime value gets much clearer.
It is likely that many of a retail brands’ best customers already follow them on social channels, visiting their website and/or receiving their newsletters. This is a great place to start implementing a loyalty strategy. Social loyalty programs are designed to make it easy for a brand’s best customers to be recognized and rewarded for their social actions. By doing so, retail brands can effectively drive both visit frequency and average ticket size. And that translates into higher CLV.
Here are a few ways retailers can get up and running with social loyalty programs that increase CLV.
1. Get your best customers (social fans, followers and newsletter subscribers) to become a “Social VIP” by connecting their social accounts. This will give the brand access to a wealth of data and will enable them to recognize when the customer does something of value for the brand in social. Provide an incentive like a coupon or an invitation to a VIP-online event to connect their accounts if you want to increase your conversion rate.
2. Identify a small number of actions you always want to reward customers for–perhaps it’s a Facebook check in or an Instagram post from the store. In Twitter you might want to reward consumers for using a specific hashtag unique to your brand. These actions will create the foundation of an “always-on” social loyalty program.
3. Correlate rewards to these social actions (often also called triggers). Rewards can be anything from a coupon redeemable during their next visit, to a promo code for a discount online, to points if the brand happens to have an existing points-based program. To keep it feeling fresh, mix up the rewards over time. Having a variety of rewards will surprise and delight customers and build brand loyalty.
4. Layer in special promotions. Give VIPs the opportunity to engage with the brand’s seasonal campaigns. As they do, they will create earned media in the form of valuable impressions.
5. Measure and optimize. Make sure to understand what rewards are working best and what social platforms and actions are driving the most engagement. Armed with this data the retailer can optimize the program, increasing CLV.
Brick- and-mortar retailers are turning their focus to social loyalty, increasing their branded engagement rate by 8x. Participation within retail loyalty programs when social media is included has been proven to help brands acquire 45% more customers. This is a new funnel into the bottom line. Consumers are ready for it, and it’s time to deliver. Whether you have an existing rewards program or not, a social loyalty program can help create long term value and business dividends.
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