Nearly all marketers agree that social media is a crucial piece of customer loyalty, but the question remains as to how to best leverage the platform to create engagement and spark the two-way dialogue that the channel offers at its peak effectiveness.
 
With its new Reply Rewards technology, Chirpify is able to provide its clients with the tools necessary to build social media engagement through a direct interaction with the customer, without the need to constantly monitor their network feed.
 
We talked to Chris Teso, Chirpify’s founder and CEO, to find out a bit more about the newest offering from the company.
 
How does Reply Rewards play into the unique advantage of social media being a relative informal, two-way medium? How does the new technology enhance a brand’s ability to create personalized experiences, and how significant is that to sparking engagement?
 
Teso: Social Media and Loyalty are a natural fit as they are both a two-way street. Reply Rewards taps into this by allowing brands to listen for specific triggers in social media and proactively engage with consumers based on this listening. Not only can brands interact with people with moderated messages designed to Surprise & Delight, but they can research the person’s history with the brand, giving them a tailor-fit reward. (In addition to a social media interaction history, Chirpify integrates with CRM and loyalty databases to provide even greater background on a given customer’s history with the brand.)
 
Within Reply Rewards, brands can create pre-defined rewards for moderators to gift based on a person’s interaction and history as well as their social influence.  For example, moderators might choose from on premises gifts such as “free wi-fi” for a guest during their stay, program points, access to exclusive content, and more. Brands can change these pre-defined rewards to add a new reward, temporarily include a limited-time reward, etc.
 
This approach is significant to sparking engagement as social media can amplify word-of-mouth from Surprise & Delight activities, providing for social advocacy with the click of a button. Customers’ social networks have a very visible view into brands’ social Surprise & Delight activities, helping drive social proof. In addition, brand moderators can also Surprise & Delight people who aren’t existing loyalty program members. The reward is simply saved for them until they join the program and claim their reward, thus sparking engagement beyond existing program members.
 
In giving brands more control over their social loyalty initiatives, how does Chirpify see clients using the technology? In other words, how will brand engagement look different as a result of the new tech?
 
Teso: Consumers increasingly want to be recognized for their advocacy, not just rewarded for the amount they spend with a brand. Chirpify enables brands to engage with and reward customers for their advocacy, and it is driving clear business outcomes for them. In fact, one customer that used Chirpify to link its loyalty member social IDs to its CRM records which it then tied to its eCommerce system determined that its social loyalty members spent 25% more than non-members.
 
With Chirpify, brands are finding meaningful ways to measure ROI of their social efforts and work the problem backward. That is, they are gaining critical data to understand and fine-tune which rewards help develop deeper customer relationships, which digital activities spur retention, word-of-mouth, sales, and more. As brands gain more data about their most loyal customers, they are able to create a virtuous cycle of personalization, engagement and participation that deepens lifetime value.
 
Have you noticed a change in what customers expect from social media compared to, say, a year ago? How do you predict it will continue to change over the next year?
 
Teso: Across the board, departments are feeling pressure from the organization to deliver more from social media and loyalty programs are no exception. Not too long ago it was ‘good enough’ to bring the basics of a loyalty program to social media and measure for vanity metrics like number of followers. Today, however, social media is being viewed as a potential mechanism for competitive differentiation, which is underscored by customer demands for greater utility. Customers are increasingly demanding easy, less time-consuming ways to interact with brands and clearly see social media on their mobile device as a remote control to achieve that goal. As a result, we predict that brands will continue to hone their social loyalty programs to provide this utility to customers, finding ways to make it even easier to do business with the brand, increasing their Surprise & Delight activities and using social media as the go-to tool for driving key metrics such as real-time engagement, conversion and advocacy.
 
Can you go more into the process of defining these “social triggers”? What does the technology look for when distributing these tailored brand responses?
 
Teso: Marketers are able to define and track triggers such as topics, hashtags, photo uploads, sharing, check-ins, and more using Chirpify's Campaign Builder. These triggers can be rules based to filter by geolocation, social influence, or brand engagement frequency. Once the Chirpify platform identifies a consumer who set off a trigger that matches the rules, the marketer can either automate responses and rewards at scale to each one, or moderate and choose who gets a response and which reward. Smart brands are using a combination of always on automated triggers, and more targeted surprise and delight engagements. The platform is flexible enough to cover the full spectrum of social marketing automation from campaigns at scale to individual engagements.

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