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To keep customers coming back for more, there is nothing more powerful than saying “thank you”. Here are 4 new ways to reward your loyal customers for visiting your stores, purchasing your products, engaging with your content or creating content for you.

Reward Social Participation

Earlier this week we shared an article spelling out what Facebook’s new Timeline brand pages mean for your design and content strategies. The greatest takeaway is that, more than ever, content is king. In addition, Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm has recently undergone a facelift that gives increased exposure to content with the greatest number of likes, comments and shares.

This post breaks down the engagement mechanisms on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to jog your creativity on ways your company could reward people for their likes, tweets, and pins.

Facebook:

While Facebook has rules against using their mechanisms as entry methods to promotions, there are other ways to leverage people’s likes, shares, and comments. As administrator of your page, you have access to information on your power users. Why not run a promotion that rewards people for being in the top 10, or for being the #1 fan of your Facebook page – as designated by their social actions? Attribute different points to each action, as a share to a user’s own page results in greater incremental exposure than a like or a comment would.

Furthermore, any user-generated content that you request of your audience (be it photos, videos, or blog posts) can be made to tie back to your company’s Facebook page. Ask users to post user-generated content with a tag that links to your brand page. Content that fans post to their followers is even more important than the content you post as your brand, because it reaches an entirely new audience. Asking users to recognize your page in their post is a way to encourage click-through and “likes” from their friends.

Twitter:

An effective Twitter campaign will also encourage users to recognize the company or promotion behind the initiative in the form of an @-mention or hashtag (#). All communication supporting the campaign should make it clear that in order for a Twitter action to be recognized, brand properties should be linked to in the ways outlined above. Retweet-to-win campaigns are less preferable than higher engagement requests-for-interaction. An effective format is to pair a compelling question with a promotional hashtag.

To promote 2011’s Tower Heist, Brandmovers’ #twitterheist campaign asked people to tweet something they would like to heist or even to confess something they have heisted. All tweets with hashtag #twitterheist were then aggregated onto the sweepstakes’ website into a “tower of tweets” that unlocked prizes as new tweets were added. Initiatives like this one create a showcase of user submissions in such a way that makes them more involved and brings the promotion to life.

Pinterest:

The hottest new social network just happens to be a perfect tool for sourcing a cornucopia of content from your users. In the same way that you can tabulate Facebook actions according to the extent to which they boost your brand’s exposure, a Pinterest heart (or like) would be worth less than a re-pin, which places another user’s content on your boards, with credit to the original poster.

Yet the tool can be used in much more interesting ways. You can ask users to pin content that they find from across the web, and incorporate a trackable shout-out to the company or promotion in the form of a hashtag or @-mention. For example, a furniture company could communicate “Pin your favorite home decoration inspirations with #pintowindeco and @thehomedeco in the description to be entered to win select items from our Spring collection!”

With this approach you create a digital treasure hunt scenario in which your users are curating content for you. Content that is proven to be interesting enough, that can be re-posted and re-attributed to create yet another cycle of social media goodwill.

Stay tuned for the next Brandmovers Blog Series!

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