How to Create a Customer Loyalty Program via Social Media

Traditional customer loyalty programs can be expensive, complicated, and difficult to measure immediate results.

Recently I’ve been working with several companies to create such programs using mobile/local check-in apps Foursquare and Gowalla. It’s quick, easy, instantly measurable, and cost is incurred only if you choose to give away prizes or offer discounts.

It’s also perfect for any retailer, restaurant, car dealer, or other multi-unit company to which it’s important to continue to give the best customers a reason to return to the store, shop, or showroom.

Many retailers and other local businesses are jumping on board Foursquare and offering a special deal for their Foursquare Mayors. These businesses are moving in the right direction as far as an easy and cheap very basic loyalty program. BUT there are a couple of problems with relying only on Mayorships:
•There’s only one Mayor; why limit a program to one customer?
•Who is the Mayor at most shops or stores? Yes, it’s usually a barrister, bartender, clerk, or other employee.

For this exercise, we will be Java121 Coffee, and we’ll give away a free cup o’ Java to our top two customers checking in this week. 

1. Listen to what your customers are already doing. Are they checking in on Foursquare already? Whether you already have lots of check-ins or not, let’s go get some more! Speak out, Shout, Tweet and post to your blog and Fan Page about the fact that you will be giving away a free cup of coffee to the two most frequently-checked-in customers this week. Here I’m doing this for 3 locations simultaneously and across many platforms via my Engage121 application:


2. At the end of the week, evaluate the activity and find your top customers via Foursquare or Engage121:


3. Send out a message naming your winners (let’s leave out last names for now!) plus perhaps a direct message to those winners:

Remember the 3 basic steps of any promotion:

Tell ’em what you’re going to do

Do it

And tell ’em what you did!

Extra value: Imagine the potential customer who has not (yet!) been to your store. Or, the customer who is on Facebook or Twitter, or perhaps sees your blog, but is not on Foursquare or Gowalla. You still have conveyed a message to those folks that something fun and valuable is happening at your store(s).

If you are a managing Social Media marketing or PR for a single location or a multi-unit company and would like me to further walk through the above steps, reach me here:



4 thoughts on “How to Create a Customer Loyalty Program via Social Media

  1. Nice example. I like how engage121 allows you to manage multiple locations.
    I’m a huge proponent of doing a little something extra for your customers. I love the idea of running a week long competition, but I think the business should add in a little extra everytime someone checks in. A small branded act of kindness.
    ‘The longest and hardest nine inches in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart’

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