No one is a better brand ambassador for a company than a satisfied customer. SNAP, the Social Network Appreciation Platform, is a marketing platform that capitalizes on that idea by rewarding customers for posting messages about their favorite merchants online. By combining the power of social media with the attractiveness of real-world rewards, SNAP helps businesses turn average customers into influential supporters.
How it works: SNAP works behind the scenes and integrates seamlessly with virtually any existing loyalty program or point-of-sale platform. This integration makes it possible for customers to start earning extra reward points without changing their in-store behavior. Customers who give SNAP permission to post automatic updates on their social networking profile pages can earn bonus points when they swipe their loyalty cards at participating retail locations. Each time a loyalty card is scanned, the transaction is sent to SNAP and a brief message about the transaction is posted to the shopper's Facebook wall or Twitter feed. Shoppers can also earn additional points by authorizing SNAP to announce their locations on Foursquare and Facebook Places each time their loyalty cards are swiped. In exchange for allowing SNAP to post check-ins and social shares on their behalf, customers earn extra points on their loyalty cards that can be redeemed for free products and in-store discounts.
SNAP in action: Local merchants can use SNAP without giving up on their current loyalty programs or doing away with the plastic key fobs their customers are used to swiping. The platform handles all the heavy lifting with regard to tracking consumer behavior and rewarding social sharing, but lets merchants decide how many bonus points should be given out for which types of online activities. In addition to offering bonus rewards points to consumers who link their Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare accounts to SNAP, business owners can also recognize loyal customers with special online badges, trophies and stamps that are "unlocked" after a certain number of check-ins or social media posts. At Tasti D-lite, for example, customers are encouraged to register their loyalty cards with SNAP by visiting mytasti.com. After entering their birth dates and enabling automatic sharing, customers can start earning extra points that can be redeemed for free Tasti D-lite products at participating locations.
Why it works: Customers that enable automatic check-ins and sharing on their social networking accounts can earn in-store rewards with virtually zero effort. In return, businesses can increase exposure and turn their most loyal customers into brand ambassadors. The messages that these "ambassadors" post on Facebook and Twitter get far more traction and attention than the banner ads most businesses have traditionally run online. This concept fits in well with marketing research by Nielsen, which has shown that 90 percent of consumers trust recommendations coming from people they know, while only 33 percent trust online banner ads. SNAP offers a variable pricing structure based on the type of business, the number of locations and the level of integration, as well the number of automated social media postings a business makes each month.
Maximizing the benefits: Businesses that want to get the most out of their SNAP programs need to pay close attention to the detailed reports that the platform provides. These reports monitor posting statistics on Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter, and track user activity by location. Merchants that notice a downward trend in social media posts can put up in-store signage to promote the program or offer additional incentives to encourage customers to enable automatic sharing for bonus points and rewards.
Cost-conscious companies that are looking for additional ways to reward customer behavior on SNAP can also play around with the platform's competition features. SNAP's API can be used to create customizable badges and awards for customers with the most points, as well as digital leaderboards that show which customers have accumulated the most points at selected retail locations.
Read more "How It Works."
Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight. She is based in Portland, Ore.
Photo credit: Courtesy SNAP