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When it comes to your customer referral program, the more you can do to promote it in other marketing channels, the more engagement you will get. That's where social media referral programs come in.
Promoting your customer referral program on social media channels not only reminds your existing customer base that they can benefit from sharing your brand but also shows potential customers that rewards are waiting for them.
In this post, I'll go through the highlights of managing a social media referral program. Then I'll share inspiration from what other Friendbuy users are doing to drive referral program awareness on social media.
Why Invest in Social Media to Promote Your Referral Program
You already use social media to engage customers, announce sales, and build your brand, so why not use it to promote your customer referral program?
Promoting your referral marketing program on social platforms brings your business quality referrals that are already warm. If you’re not already using it to promote your referral program, then you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to find new leads.
Expand Your Reach
We borrow the term reach from the world of advertising. In advertising, reach is what you try to achieve when you spread your marketing campaign across as many third-party websites as possible to literally reach your widest target audience. Casting the widest net, given the budget and resources you have, is a well-understood ‘best practice.’
Reach also applies to social referrals. What you may not realize is that you have more reach than you think.
You can significantly increase the overall performance of your referral program by making sharing and referral opportunities available on several digital surfaces, not just your order confirmation / post conversion pages.
See how Torrid opted to include the social sharing options right in the brand's post-purchase referral widget.
You can do this everywhere you have a referral asset.
Add sharing assets to more digital surfaces
You can add social referral assets to a few key surfaces.
- Order confirmation / post conversion page
- All social media bios
- Twitter (tweet a link to your stand-alone page)
- Facebook Page (post a link to your stand-alone page)
- LinkedIn (post a link to your stand-alone page)
- Product pages
- Blog pages
- User account pages
- Customer service emails
- Help desk
- Stand-alone refer a friend page
- Transactional emails (order confirmation, shipping confirmation, etc.)
- Trigger emails after positive feedback or post-purchase
When people visit your website from a link on a social media channel, it boosts your overall SEO. Both social signals and backlinks contribute to your ranking on search engines, so promoting your referral program on social media will only help boost the overall profile of your brand. Simply allow for social sharing in your referral widget and let your customers do the rest.
Find Advocates Where They Are
The average social media user spends almost 2.5 hours per day on social media. Chances are they’re not spending that much time on your website. Put your referral program content where people are most likely to see it—on the social media platforms they use most.
Include your referral links in your social media bio and promote your referral program regularly in different publications.
You can see how Getaway includes their referral program right in the main menu linked in the brand'ssocial media bio.
Also allow your Advocates to opt for a referral code instead of link so that they can easily share on their social media channels too. (Read more about how to run an ambassador program for ideas.)
Integrate social media with your referral marketing strategies and you will discover a brand new cost effective customer acquisition channel .
Referral Program Social Media Inspiration from Friendbuy Customers
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when coming up with a social media strategy for promoting your referral program. Take a look at what these Friendbuy customers are already doing and steal the social sharing ideas that are most likely to work well with your brand.
Aisle, a sustainable period products ecommerce brand, periodically places ads on social media to promote their referral program. By tapping into social media ads like this, Aisle is able to not only promote the brand to a very targeted audience but also get double the impact by getting referred customers from every acquisition.
Outside of paid ads, Aisle also encourages customers to join the referral program by talking about it across all social media channels.
2. Swish Dental
Swish Dental promotes their customer referral program regularly on social media. And when they're not promoting it? You'll find a link to the referral program landing page included right in the social media bio.
Including your referral program in your social media bio will get the attention of loyal customers who already follow your brand on social media.
SmileDirectClub runs referral contests every once in a while and uses social media to engage their audiences. For any followers that weren't already interested in giving SmileDirectClub a try, a referral contest is a fun way to bring them in.
4. Bulldog Skincare
Men’s skincare brand Bulldog uses sponsored Facebook posts to reach a wider audience. This approach allows the marketing team to create targeted ads for specific locations, interests, behaviors, and demographics based on where and how they want to grow sales. The ad promotes Bulldog’s “Give $5, Get $5” referral offer so existing customers are reminded of the program and new customers immediately have an incentive to buy and share.
Ads show up in news feeds as users scroll, and because the Bulldog team gets to choose the target interests, they only go to relevant users who are likely to be interested in the brand. Using these ads, Bulldog can also target the competition’s fans and grab the attention of a built-in audience and ideal customer base.
Another benefit of Facebook ads is the analytics that allow Bulldog to refine specifications and truly hone in on their target audience. Facebook ads can be created around specific objectives, such as clicking on a link that goes to the referral page, so the Bulldog team can accurately measure performance and ROI. Additionally, Facebook ads tend to get a better reach than organic posts, and Bulldog can remarket to people who have visited its site.
The marketing team for fashion brand RipSkirt pushed the easy button on their social media marketing by creating automated posts to amplify their “Give $10, Get $10” referral offer. Each post has a timely message, such as the recent post that encourages customers to “Stay in, spring clean & simplify your look!” along with a call to action, link to the referral page, and associated imagery.
By creating scheduled posts, the team can rest assured that content is getting posted on a regular basis. Additional benefits of automated posts include consistency, the ability to reach multiple time zones, and more free time for the marketing team to focus on other tasks. This approach allows the RipSkirt team to create and roll out a cohesive campaign that promotes their referral program along with all the other content they display.
Creative underwear brand MeUndies uses Instagram Stories to promote its referral offer to give friends 20 percent off their first order and $20 in store credit for advocates. The brand uses personalized URLs (PURLs) as the referral mechanism, so it is easy for customers to copy and paste their referral link into social posts and messenger apps for easy mobile sharing.
MeUndies has a well-established Instagram following of more than 420,000 people, which makes Stories a great way to reach its audience. One of the benefits of this approach is that Instagram Stories are available for a limited amount of time, which prompts action because users know they won’t be able to easily find the content later. Advocates are more motivated to act in the moment because they can’t return to it, encouraging an impulse share.
Vacation rental brand Getaway uses paid social media ads through Facebook and Instagram to reach a broader audience and motivate existing customers to refer friends. Ads include a “$25 off your next getaway” call to action for its “Give $25, get $25” referral offer and compelling graphics to inspire sharing.
You'll remember from an earlier example that Getaway links to its refer-a-friend program right in the brand's social media bio. The company has also pinned a Story on its Instagram page with the title “Refer a Friend” so users can always access the content and refer friends.
This approach has several benefits. First, users see ads on multiple social channels, which reinforces the referral program and makes it feel more integrated with the brand. Paid ads also allow the brand to target specific audiences and maximize ROI. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram allow remarketing, so people who visited the company’s website will continue to be reminded of the referral program as they scroll through social media.
Referral Program Awareness Beyond Social Media
Talking about your referral program on social media allows you to get in front of a larger audience beyond just visitors to your website. The more opportunities people have to learn about your referral process and make referrals, the more your program will grow. Social media allows you to reach potential new customers who may not already be aware of your brand.
But social media is just one way to promote your referral program. The ideal strategy is an integrated approach that includes all other marketing channels across your website, in retail stores, in email marketing, and more. When your referral program is seamlessly and consistently integrated into your brand, customers will engage with it more.