Across the pond

Think about giving to those who ‘like’ you!

Michael Fletcher, CMO at Giftango Corporation, discusses the growing use of social media in consumer gifting.

Facebook claims 552 million people interacted with its site daily in June 2012. Twitter has 140 million active users according to its website. Regardless of whether a business has a social media strategy, its reputation and brand is considerably altered by tweets and posts made by customers and employees.

Businesses are leveraging social media in creative ways to interact with customers and employees and it’s not limited to the marketing department. Gifts are being used as incentives and rewards, or as a way to say, “sorry, please visit us again”. Here are some of the creative ways gifts are being leveraged through social media and the benefits of gifting though social channels, with a focus on Facebook.

  • Brands ‘like’ Facebook. Leading retailers have been on the hunt for Facebook likes for several years. Argos and New Look have a growing fan base on Facebook with 496,000 and 1.7 million likes respectively. Many retailers use incentives to encourage customers to like them – referred to as ‘fan gating’. Those who participate in the promotion gain access to a code or drawing entry once they click like. Fans that like the brand see brand messages in their news feed.
  • A deeper connection. Facebook applications leverage ‘Connect’ functionality and retailers are beginning to catch on. The major difference between Connect and Like is that the owner of the application to which a user connects can access data about that user. The owner is also able to post to the user’s wall with a message specifically targeting that user. For example, if Jane connects to ABC application, the owner of ABC now knows Jane’s birthday and can post a birthday wish and gift to Jane’s wall. All of Jane’s friends see the birthday message, but instead of seeing the birthday gift when they click on the gift link, they are directed to ABC’s website.
  • Issue resolution. Social media is a two-way street. Consumers and employees have a powerful forum to voice displeasure about a corporation. An industry focused on managing a brand’s reputation within social media has emerged, including companies like Freshdesk, Parature and Zendesk. Retailers are interacting in real time with consumers and have an opportunity to make things right very quickly. Retailers who deliver digital gift cards as part of their issue resolution process are now able to deliver those cards into a user’s social media account, leveraging the user’s forum of choice to provide a solution.

Digital gifting via social media is a powerful tool, and there are already some corporates that are adopting social media into their reward programmes, with definite results.
In the next issue, we’ll discuss to be  aware of when preparing to deliver gifts through social media channels. 

Giftango powers digital gift card delivery for leading retail brands and incentive, loyalty and rewards programmes that deliver egifts in the US and Canada.

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