As social media continues to dominate the world of modern marketing, brands are scrambling to find ways to utilize the platform in new and engaging ways. Specializing in just that, Chirpify recently partnered with Togo’s Sandwiches to reward customers not only for spending with the brand, but for engaging with it via social media.
 
Loyalty360 spoke with Chirpify founder & CEO Chris Teso about the program, and how the company is changing the way brands use social media.
 
One concern we often hear in regards to social media interaction with brands is that it can often feel insincere or impersonal. How do Chirpify’s social triggers reward interaction in a way that feels seamless and natural for customers looking to engage with Togo’s through the channel?
 
Teso: All too often brands take a ‘spray and pray’ advertising approach to social media. Naturally this approach feels impersonal and like a one-way street. Conversely, social loyalty turns social media into a two-way conversation, helping personalize the experience by putting the focus on building and maintaining valuable, lifelong customer relationships. When customers interact with a brand in social media, social loyalty platforms can immediately respond at scale. And, platforms such as Chirpify’s also allow brands to manually moderate social rewards and actively surprise and delight social customers, thus providing a complete, end-to-end means for responding to and interacting with customers on social media.
 
For example, Chirpify helps Togo's Sandwiches drive greater relevance by giving its Tribe members targeted rewards for specific behaviors. As Togo’s gathers more and more information about its loyal customers on social media, it is able to hone its rewards and offers to create a social environment that offers both utility and personalization to Togo’s most loyal customers.
 
How is the program integrated into the existing Togo’s loyalty program, and what kind of benefits (both quantitative and qualitative) will the brand see in terms of data coming out of the program?
 
Teso: The Togo’s Tribe loyalty program is integrated across channels through a partnership of Chirpify and Paytronix. Togo’s uses the Paytronix reward solution to engage with Tribe members over mobile, in-store, and online, and with Chirpify’s social media loyalty platform, Togo's can now engage with Tribe members in social media. Tribe members that interact with Togo’s in social media using a social trigger, e.g. #Togos or #TogosSandwiches, will earn rewards in exchange for participating with the brand.
 
The Chirpify engine listens in the background for these social triggers that once set off, can automatically and immediately reward Tribe members for their interaction. To kick-off the program, Togo’s is encouraging Tribe members to link their social handle to Togo’s Sandwiches and to follow Togo’s on its social channels. Linked to the Paytronix system through its easy-to-use API, Chirpify can recognize existing Tribe members and create accounts for new members. 
 
This integration provides Togo’s with important marketing data as the Chirpify platform identifies and collects campaign conversion data by social ID that is tied to an existing Togo's Tribe member account. With this data in hand, Togo's can analyze how often members redeem points, assess campaign success across channels, and much more.
 
How does social media differ from other channels when it comes to driving loyalty? Do customers feel more at ease when engaging through social media?
 
Teso: Customers increasingly demand utility from the brands they do business with and they will be loyal to those brands that save them time, allow them to engage in the moment, and generally make it easy to do business with them across all channels. For more and more people, that means using the social mobile remote control they carry in their pocket as a means to easily engage and participate with their favorite brands. Social media is different than other loyalty channels because it facilitates this utility, on-demand interaction, and personalization. As a proof point, Paytronix research has found that loyalty members who actively use Facebook and who are fans of the brand spend upwards of 70% more than the brand's average program member. And, as alluded to earlier, social media provides brands with the ability to collect important information about customers and campaigns that they cannot get elsewhere.
 
Brand advocacy has become a hot topic in this age of peer reviews and influencer marketing. What role does social media play in the growing significance of these concepts, and how can brands more effectively leverage brand advocates to win and retain customers?
 
Teso: Research by Nielsen tells us that 84% of consumers either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family, colleagues, and friends about products and services, thus making these recommendations the highest ranked source for trustworthiness. Social networks are comprised of just this – a person’s family, colleagues, and friends. So, when someone shares a positive experience with a product, service or brand, they spread positive social proof. This social influence serves to both affirm the person’s choice and radiates brand advocacy to their network.
 
Brands can have a direct impact on social advocacy and social proof. With social loyalty platforms like Chirpify, companies can identify their most loyal customers in social media and reward them for desired behaviors, like advocacy on behalf of the brand. Customers are much more likely to participate with social loyalty brand posts in social media – four times more likely according to our research. Moreover, social media is an ideal fit for advocacy and loyalty with its direct follower model. As people advocate on behalf of the brand, they bring more people into the program. In the process, they spread earned media, which you can think of as public votes for the brand. New customer acquisition is easier as new customers need only click a button to participate, which is also spread organically, thus creating a virtual snowball of new advocates and even greater earned media.

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