Social media is making it easier than ever to experience (or invade) events that would traditionally arise through word-of-mouth or, you know, formal invitations. It’s true, audiences of customers and friends enjoy getting the special treatment, but it feels a little odd when exclusive opportunities are promoted for the world to see.
When W Hotels debuted an upcoming partnership with Billboard for “an intimate concert series,” the company posted a GIF to its Twitter timeline for 3.78M followers to see. On March 7, when Peyton Manning announced his NFL retirement, a few cameras were carefully positioned to livestream the announcement on the Denver Broncos official Facebook page with over 4 million fans. According to the New York Times, a new crop of digital wedding crashers search and stalk hashtags with the weddings that they weren’t invited to in the first place. Social media is redefining the traditional understanding of exclusivity as supposedly private events are widely promoted to the public.
So how can brands tap into the experiential potential of social media while offering a truly exclusive, rewarding, and relationship-building interaction in the digital age?
An Exclusive Referral Marketing Strategy In An All-Inclusive Era
Any modern marketer will tell you that the strongest relationships between brands and customers are not forged at a one-time event. Reciprocal customer relationships are nourished over time and strengthened by tangible rewards. This level of engagement increases when referrals come into play. According to a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Ambassador, 82% of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase. As your brand works to diversify its referral marketing strategy, it may be time to pair your standard referral marketing efforts with an automated VIP program that rewards the pioneers of your sharing community. Start by considering these questions:
Who are your most valuable customers?
As you build an exclusive roster of loyal customers, you can use referral program metrics to determine customers who are exceedingly valuable to your brand. Consider the goals that you initially set for your company’s referral marketing program to determine the value of your customers. Do you value loyal, returning customers or big spenders that stop by every now and then? Pinpointing referral program leaders makes it easier to create and promote truly exclusive rewards for this group. With an automated referral program, your company can offer elevated rewards to the top percentage of your Ambassadors through personalized emails with unique discount codes.
How should your VIP customers be rewarded?
Now that you have an idea of the value that your leader board contributes, take a look at the customer behaviors that have driven new leads, website traffic, or revenue to your company. Your VIP referral program should offer incentives that match the level of interaction your customers provide. The most engaged customers deserve elevated rewards. Would your most devoted customers be most excited by an exclusive email offer, store credit, or loyalty points added to their brand ambassador profile? Digital outreach has created a new avenue for communicating with and rewarding valued members of your network.
What This Means For Your Brand
Even with all of the bells and whistles, automated referral marketing programs have the power to preserve the true meaning of word-of-mouth and exclusivity. Let’s face it, everyone loves receiving top secret information and one-of-a-kind rewards. With a VIP program baked into your existing automated referral marketing campaign, your brand can position itself at the intersection of strategic digital outreach and an enriched customer experience.