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Mike Gorun

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Explode Your Loyalty Program with Social Media

As social media gets more and more entrenched in our daily lives, it’s becoming the easiest and most visible place for one of the most important things your company can have but can’t buy – word-of-mouth marketing.

You can have your customer experience down pat, a loyalty program that rocks and customers lined up to do business with you; but does that mean you’re leveraging everything you can?

Many social media sites like Facebook, Foursquare, and Yelp have some sort of “deal” type feature. What would happen if you take advantage of this feature and tie it in to your existing loyalty program?

Here are some things you may or may not know about these deal features. (I’m going to focus on Facebook since it has the most advantages, in my opinion.) There have been many studies that have concluded that 60% of people “Like” a business’s Facebook page for special offers and deals. Facebook has two features: check-in deals and offers. I’m going to explain how check-in deals can benefit your dealership since this feature is free and easy to maintain.

When you have a Facebook check-in deal running, a customer would go to Facebook and “check-in” using their mobile device to your dealership. When they do this, it shares with their entire network that they are at your dealership. That’s great exposure! It gets better however. If you have a check-in deal, and the customer checks-in and claims the deal, not only does it share it with their network, it will share that 1) they are at your dealership 2) they claimed a deal and 3) the specifics of the deal, quantity remaining and deal expiration date. The best part about this is that these posts to their walls go into their friend’s news feeds and cannot be hidden!

Here’s an example of what one looked like after it was claimed:

Imagine if your “deal” was tied to your loyalty program. What would that look like?

Let’s say you give “points” for each dollar spent at your store towards your customer’s loyalty account. At some point you’ve placed a value on these points. How much would this advertisement, which, in reality is word-of-mouth advertising to your customer’s entire social network, be worth?

Instead of the check-in deal being “20% off any order,” it could be “1,000 loyalty program bonus points” with a check-in. Of course, you could disclaim it as a one time offer per loyalty member or one per customer per day and include that the check-in must correspond with a purchase to avoid people simply stopping by to claim their free loyalty points without spending any money. However, even they just stopped by, wouldn’t that endorsement to their entire network be worth something to you?

If you could get every one of your customers to recommend your dealership to their friends, you would. You certainly try all the time. You ask for referrals. You might even incentivize current customer for bringing you new ones.

Word-of-mouth advertising is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing in existence. The fact remains that it’s continuing to shift online all the time. Leveraging some of these social sites to increase the visibility of your loyalty program by incentivizing your customer for “checking-in” and sharing their endorsement of your dealership with their entire social networks is worth its weight in gold.

You couldn’t pay for better marketing.

[Note: Facebook is merging its "check-in deals" with it's "Offers" product as of July 1, 2013. It is still free but allows for more flexibility in creating different types of promotions. You can read more here [LINK])

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