How Social Media Is Changing Customer Loyalty Programs

Social Media IconsThere is no denying the influence of social media on the way that we as human beings communicate on a daily basis. The impact of the digital age will be felt even more in the future if things continue on the same path that it is currently. Not only have we been put in contact with each other like we have never been before, businesses are making the most of social media networks as well. Since the majority of people in the country are constantly on social media sites at all hours of the day, companies have realized that they have a whole new market to reach. But how do they do it without shameless promotion? With social media sites like Facebook, companies from every industry are gaining from a new-found connection with their customers. Since people are constantly updating their activity streams and current states of being, businesses are also able to update their clients and loyal customers with special discounts, offers and marketing endeavors.

A really great thing about being able to do this is the fact that they can connect with their customers in a more timely manner. People are connected through sites like FourSquare, Twitter and Facebook and enjoy the intimate bond that can be formed directly with owners and managers of businesses. Social media networks open the doors to new types of customer experiences by connecting you with them when they are a few feet away from your stores. Many companies have interactive collaborations with social networks in order to bring customers special discounts and notifications of new opportunities at any given moment. Many social media networks are accessible by such devices as the iPhone, Android and Blackberry, which give companies a 24-hour window for advertising to the countless masses.

Sites like Facebook allow artists, like Alicia Keys, to reward the loyalty of their customers and fans by allowing them to listen to their new albums before anyone could even buy it. Not only does this provide an exciting interactive experience for the fans, but it allows for new ways of self promotion in the music industry. FourSquare is the first choice in loyalty reward programs for many. They send out information to smart phones anywhere that people find themselves shopping. This means not only that the company sending the notification will have an increase in sales, but the specific location that customer is pointed towards will directly profit from this type of marketing. For companies that offer many common products to the masses, this means that they are able to maximize the exposure to their target audience like never before. For many customers, this type of marketing brings a new and innovative way to shop and be entertained in the modern age.

Social media is changing customer loyalty programs also by identifying problems through monitoring what people are saying about their brands. They can join the conversation to show that they are listening, to clear up miscommunications or to add clarifications. As an example, Rackspace Cloud Sites have had problems where Robert Scoble acted as a channel of information to their customers on what is happening in real time. Instead of having to wait for quarterly reports to see where a company shines or is in need, they are now able to have instant response as to the impact of that particular promotional project or product. The amount of time and money wasted before is astronomical, and in retrospect, was a very unnecessary expenditure.

Having the ability to track their customers’ behaviors and patterns in buying gives companies priceless information about ways to further market a particular angle. Sites like Zappos have been building more personal relationships with their customers by allowing their employees and executives to communicate directly with the public and marketplace.

If this is a sign of things to come, we have a lot to look forward to here soon.

Source: Customer Loyalty Institute 2012,

How has the development of social media impacted your business? Your marketing efforts?

What type of developments to you project on the social media marketing front in the next 5 years? 10 years?

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