Social media empowers relationship loyalty programs to become powerful acquisition tools—but only if credit unions ensure members know how to reap the rewards.
“Once the technology’s ready, you’ve got to talk about it,” says Paul Kelzer, executive vice president, client services, for RAZR Marketing. He addressed a webinar from The Members Group, “Relationship Loyalty in a Social Media World.”
“Secret programs don’t work,” he says. “You need to communicate often, you need to be consistent, and you’ve got to make sure everybody in your credit union understands it. And then it’s about explaining to consumers not just what to do but what the possibilities are.”
The exponential rise of social media and smartphones, combined with the advent of a cooperative model for point accumulation and redemption, has infinitely expanded those possibilities since relationship loyalty programs came onto the scene a decade ago.
Members benefit from linking their heretofore scattered credit and debit accounts under one rewards umbrella, either individually or with spouses, family, and friends. This simplifies benefit tracking, grows members’ treasure chests more rapidly than if the accounts were separate, and allows for collective purchases or donations to various charities via both online and mobile channels.
Credit unions possess a vehicle to drive further engagement by offering point incentives for members who take out additional products such as mortgages and other loans. And when members advertise that they’ve cashed in their points for rewards or donated them to a certain cause, the ripple effect is felt not just within their personal circles, but throughout their social media circles as well.
This increases brand awareness and transforms members into ambassadors for a powerful grass-roots acquisition effort.
“Now members have the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, if we link our points together we could invite a friend home and pay for their trip,’” says Molly Plozay, First Data’s vice president of loyalty rewards. “Or, ‘We could give a flat-screen TV to dad, who’s using the oldest technology available.’
“Whatever it may be, it creates a conversation piece, and that conversation creates a unique opportunity for credit unions to acquire new cardholders through that family relationship.”
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