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4 ways your loyalty program can increase your social following and support your social commerce strategy

Are you one of the many Shopify stores out there experimenting with social commerce? Perhaps you’re turning to TikTok Shop for more sales, or doubling down on past Instagram Shopping success?

Either way, we know what you’re thinking; a loyalty program is for retention, and social media is for acquisition. But what if we told you that the two could go hand in hand and work together to achieve both goals? 

In this article, we’ll explain all the ways that a loyalty program can help you drive greater ROI from social media marketing and social commerce, including: 

  • Using your loyal customer base to grow your following 
  • Promote your loyalty program across social
  • Referrals via social media
  • Collecting more UGC to use in organic and paid posts

What is social commerce? 

First of all, let’s revisit social commerce as a general concept. Social commerce allows consumers to purchase directly through social media networks – without ever leaving the app they’re scrolling on. 

Wondering if it will ever catch on? It already has. In 2022 alone, social commerce generated over $53 billion in revenue in the US – a 34.4% increase vs 2021. eMarketer also estimates that there were 107 million social buyers in the US by the end of 2023, with nearly 36% of Internet users purchasing items via social commerce. 

However, to make the most of this opportunity, you have to ensure that you are appearing and connecting with customers on the social networks they’re browsing. You need to increase your following to get your products in front of more people. However, you also need to build trust and authenticity to convert customers on a platform they may be less used to shopping on. 

How can a loyalty program help? Let’s explore further. 

Using a loyalty program to grow your following

First and foremost, a loyalty program provides a quick and easy way for you to acquire more social followers. We’re not just talking about your loyalty program members being more likely to follow you on social, we’re talking about making sure that they do! 

Use your loyalty program to incentivize social following across any platform you’re focussing on. Using custom rules you can decide which platforms you want to reward members for following you on, and exactly how many points you want to offer them in exchange for following you. All you need to do is make sure that your loyalty page clearly shows how many points they can earn from taking these actions. 

Once members realize that they can earn additional points for something as simple as a social follow, they will quickly take those actions and you’ll start to appear in their newsfeeds, showing them all the products they can buy with their newly-earned points. 

However, it’s not just follows that can be incentivized. You can also reward customers who tag or mention your brand on their socials. This is a great way to extend your reach and ensure that you appear in far more feeds than you have followers. 

Promoting your loyalty program on social 

You may be more focused on social commerce than organic social, however, your products aren’t the only things you can post about. From Facebook to Instagram, your social channels provide a fantastic place for you to promote your loyalty program too. 

Show customers how they would benefit from joining your program, share testimonials from members who love being part of your community, and create a general sense of FOMO for anyone who hasn’t yet joined your program. 

Why is this an important part of your content plan? Well, our data shows that 70% of consumers will prioritize shopping with brands that have a loyalty program, and an active loyalty program member is six times more likely to return for a second purchase. The more of your social followers you can convert into loyalty program members, the more repeat purchases you will drive! 

Driving referrals via social media

Referrals are an important part of any successful retention strategy. Your existing – and loyal – customers are the most likely to tell others about you and refer their friends and family. Plus, referred customers are four times more likely to convert than the customers you acquire in other places due to an increased level of trust from the outset. 

Typically, we expect most customers to make referrals via email, however, you can incentivize them to share their unique referral code via social media too. This works exactly the same way – they recommend your brand online and encourage their followers to use their referral code, and if those referrals are successful then they and their referred friends unlock loyalty points and discounts. Plus, you acquire new customers at a very minimal cost. 

Collecting more UGC to use within social posts

Our fourth and final strategy for using your loyalty program to boost both organic and social commerce performance centers on user-generated content (UGC). 79% of people say that UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, and a further 70% say they use user-generated reviews and ratings to decide whether to buy (or not). 

The importance of UGC can’t be underestimated when it comes to driving conversion, however collecting that UGC can be hard. We highly recommend using your loyalty program to make this easier. 

Just as they are the most likely to make referrals, your loyal customers are the most likely to take the time to leave you a review. However, you can increase the chances of this happening by incentivizing reviews with loyalty points. Again, it’s up to you how many points you offer in exchange for a review, but you can offer different point thresholds for different types of reviews. 

For example, you may offer 50 points for a simple text-based review, 100 points for a review that includes a photo, and 150 points for a video review. Any of the above will give you fantastic content to incorporate into your social strategy, helping you drive greater conversion and improved sales performance across your social activities. 

Start supercharging your social channels today

In summary, too often we look at social media, social commerce, and loyalty as entirely different projects. The more we can get these channels working together and supporting one another, the greater the impact on both acquisition and retention revenues. 

There are multiple ways to use your loyalty program to build your social following and drive more social commerce success, but our key recommendations are: 

  • Build your social media following by incentivizing social following. Then, extend your reach by incentivizing those new followers to tag and mention your brand
  • Use your social media platforms to promote your loyalty program – members have a higher customer lifetime value after all!
  • Encourage your social media followers to refer their friends and family via their social feeds – this is a cost-effective way to acquire new customers via social
  • Use your loyalty program to motivate more members to leave reviews – particularly photo and video reviews. Then use these reviews to bring your products to life across your organic and social commerce activities. 

Need a little more advice on how to integrate your social and loyalty activities? We’re here to help! Book a time to chat with one of our experts.

About the author

Fiona Stevens

Fiona Stevens is the Head of Marketing at LoyaltyLion, a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform for fast-growth ecommerce merchants. LoyaltyLion helps thousands of retailers worldwide to build fully customized loyalty programs, proven to increase customer engagement, retention and spend. Fiona has almost 15 years experience in Marketing, having worked in-house and agency side across functions including PR, SEO and content. She has specialized in loyalty for retail and ecommerce brands for the past eight years.

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