Caring About Your Sharing: Turning Your Social Media Activity into Rewards

If you’re an e-commerce company, what’s the best way to reward your users short of opening up the warehouse and letting them have a 30-second shopping spree? Social rewards.

That means every time users tweet or post about the brands they like, they get points. Get enough points and that can lead to everything from free meals to free hotel rooms and even airline tickets. And because you’re likely already sharing your favorite brands, why not reap some benefits out of it, right?

Meet Social Rewards, a Los Angeles-based company offering travel and hospitality brands a new way to create and capitalize on loyalty marketing. And for consumers, a way to get some value to championing and advocating for brands.

Here’s how it works: A user gets five points for every time they tweet or post about a location or brand (using Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, or YouTube). And if that share leads to a room booking, then they get a whopping 250 points. Points may be earned, deposited, redeemed, donated, or transferred into a “bank” built on the site’s platform. Simple.

Available in the U.S. and Japan, the service has so far seen a lot of traction from major hotels. One of the best places to take advantage of this service is in Las Vegas. If you’re in the city of sin, this program could become your new best friend as the startup already boasts an 80 percent market share of hotel casinos on the strip.

The company, which was incorporated in 2010, is also experimenting with new mediums to ‘gameify’ and interact with users. Last year it debuted Screen Rewards to select theaters. It’s a live broadcast app for movie screens that allows users to post content directly onto movie screen, and, simultaneously, their Facebook wall and Twitter stream. But don’t worry, film snobs, all this is done prior to show time and won’t disrupt your feature presentation.

Joseph Morin, Social Rewards’ chief executive and co-founder, says if users post they’re rewarded with free popcorn, and, movie companies are provided with important information about viewers. Social Rewards combines viewer info with Facebook stats to create a “very valuable database of paid movie patrons with incredibly strong demographics,” explained Morin.

It’s not just the hospitality business rewarding fans. Sports teams are getting in on the act. One of those is the Los Angeles Dodgers. The storied franchise is offering a point scoring system similar to Social Rewards in as much as liking Dodgers posts on Facebook and mentioning the team on Twitter accumulates points that fans can redeem for discounts on team merchandise and free subscriptions to MLB.TV. It’s yet another way the brand gives back to their loyal followers.

“We believe through this platform we are entering the next phase of fan loyalty with the ultimate goal of rewarding our fans for their support,” said Lon Rosen, the Dodgers’ executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

For the gamer set, meet Plyfe, yet another reward service for those involved in content sharing. The year-old company offers free gift cards for users that sign in and socially share about the games they love. And it’s even partnered with the United Nations Foundation. If you share enough you could even win a meet-up with author Timothy Ferriss by following the UN Foundation on Twitter and Facebook. Earlier this year Plyfe raised $1 million in venture capital; simply put, this is another company to watch out for.

Face it, you’re already sharing everything you like. Might as well get some return on investment. You probably do it with rewards program on your credit card. Why not social rewards?

Adam Popescu
Adam Popescu
Adam Popescu has covered social media, green business and eco-travel for a variety of news outlets, including Marketplace, LA Weekly and Los Angeles Times Community Newspapers.
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