Trending in 2016:  Social Loyalty

July 14, 2016


“The concept of Social Loyalty has been growing over the last five years, but we predict that 2016 is the year when it will truly take off in terms of our clients.”

The preceding quote comes from Dr. David Cox of Motivforce Marketing & Incentives (MMI), one of the leading minds in global loyalty and recognition programs. According to Dr. Cox, the concept of social loyalty began to evolve once loyalty and channel incentive programs began creating Facebook and LinkedIn pages for their participants to follow and ‘like.’ MMI’s award-winning Know Your IBM program is a prime example of this, with the program’s Facebook page already having gained more than 2000 ‘likes.’

While many companies continue to shy away from utilizing these social media platforms for loyatly and recognition programs, their customers and program participants have frequently taken matters into their own hands by setting up their own unofficial social media forums to discuss and comment on the programs they participate in, as well as the products and services that go along with them. “As a result,” says Dr. Cox, “many companies now realize that it’s better to be part of the conversation with a chance to participate, than [to] be left out.”

In the case of some leading programs, these conversations have even begun to transcend the basic social media platforms that they began on, with companies developing their own mechanisms for internal collaboration and information exchange via community chat rooms, live chat, ratings and feedback modules, special interest forums, and social badging. 

The latter is something we’ve discussed here in the past, and it’s just one example of how companies have been able to ingeniously engage their participants in things like sales performance, skills development, and collaborative achievements. What makes these badges such great examples of the new social loyalty trend is that they can be displayed and shared with a wide audience on a participant’s various social media accounts, amplifying their power as a vehicle for loyalty and a barometer of status. In other words, badging combines loyalty and status into one powerful social mechanism. 

Believe it or not, social media has become one of the most engaging tasks that individuals undertake on a daily basis, particularly for Millennials, the next generation of customers and employees. Ask a group of 20-30 year-olds what’s the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning, and I’d bet you the most common answer would be “Look at my phone.” Social media habits have become no less a part of our everyday lives than other habits like brushing our teeth and exercising. Because of this, savvy program designers should be looking to leverage this tremendous existing infrastructure to drive the behaviors in their own programs. At a time when clients continue to stress a need to increase engagement with program participants, the fusion of social loyalty with existing tools such as effective marketing communications and enticing rewards can prove to be a real difference-maker. Just ask Dr. Cox:

“In programs where Motivforce has deployed this concept [of social loyalty], we have seen a dramatic increase in participant performance and a return on investment.”

Are you incorporating social media in your loyalty/recognition program(s)? 

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