Most marketers think a Facebook “like” is an endorsement of content, while users more often view it as a show of loyalty

While loyalty programs have been popular in the US for years—with the average American consumer belonging to 18 loyalty programs according to loyalty marketing publisher COLLOQUY—whether these members are active is another story. “Points, coupons and freebies are great for grabbing initial attention,” said Krista Garcia, eMarketer analyst and author of the new report, “Social Loyalty: From Rewards to a Rewarding Customer Experience.” “But in the long run these promotions can’t make up for a lackluster customer experience.”

Through the use of social media, though, retailers and brands can identify and interact with their most profitable internet users. “Loyalty can be won through encouraging word-of-mouth and creating advocates, by raising a user’s social status, by surprising and entertaining shoppers in unexpected ways, and also by listening to customers’ needs and suggestions and responding in a mutually beneficial fashion,” said Garcia.

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