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3D Illustration of gifts and vouchers within an influencer loyalty program

How To Run An Influencer Loyalty Program

Mark Jackson

Feb 9, 2024

Need influencers? Look no further than your own customers! Discover how to spice up your loyalty programs by turning customers into influencers.

Table of Contents

Tip: Download our free Brand Ambassador Guide and turn your influential clients into brand ambassadors. Also, learn how to build an employee brand ambassador program.

Loyalty programs support brands both online and offline, but at a time when eCommerce is bursting at the seams, it’s essential that your loyalty practices support digital sales. Enter the Influencer Loyalty Program.

A modern spin on the classic loyalty program, influencer loyalty programs find the perfect intersection between your customers and influencer marketing. They follow the belief that every customer has the potential to “influence” others and drive more sales your way. The best way to keep track of who is referring others to you is to systematize it.

Here’s how.

What is an Influencer Loyalty Program?

thinking about influencer loyalty program

For eCommerce brands, a successful influencer marketing strategy requires a holistic approach. It is not just about finding influencers to promote your brand, but also leveraging your existing network of customers and fans to identify brand ambassadors.

Who better to publicly endorse and advocate your brand than those who already love your product? Have you ever thought about collaborating with influential clients?

Best of all, influencer partnerships can seamlessly integrate into your overall marketing strategy. Effectively create an authentic brand voice and drive meaningful connections.

Reading tip: How to Use Ecommerce Influencer Marketing to Grow Your Business

Influencer Loyalty Programs vs. Customer Loyalty Programs

What is the difference between influencer loyalty programs and customer loyalty programs?

CriteriaInfluencer Loyalty ProgramCustomer Loyalty Program
Who gets rewarded?Rewards content creators who promote your brandRewards everyone who makes a purchase
GoalExpands customer baseMaintains customer base
EffectEncourages social media sharesEncourages repeat purchases
LeverageLeverages word-of-mouth marketingLeverages personal one-to-one connections
ResultBuilds credibilityBuilds customer satisfaction

Identifying brand ambassadors within your network is something every eCommerce brand should be practicing. Like any loyalty program, your influencer program can also be incentivized for purchases and have an easily identifiable tiering system for qualifying various participants. The process is relatively straightforward and can be integrated into your customer journey

Use our upcoming step-by-step guide and discover how to run a sophisticated customer loyalty program that will not only boost brand awareness but will be an optimal component of your sales strategy.

How to Create an Influencer Loyalty Program (Step By Step)

Influencer loyalty programs exist in a separate ecosystem from your customer loyalty program. Here’s how to approach the process of turning customers into brand advocates.

Step 1: Turn Your Customers Into Influencers

The base of any good loyalty campaign is an incentive to drive action.

Traditional loyalty programs are typically structured based on customer purchases. “Spend $20, get $20.” The higher the purchase, the higher the reward. An influencer loyalty program is kind of like this, but different. Rather than qualifying customer loyalty by spending, loyalty is measured by social media power.

Looking for influencer brand ambassadors

So, how does it work? Simply invite customers to post about your brand on social media. It could be by using a hashtag strategy or posting review videos. Find a content medium that is accessible and supports your brand. 

Identifying influential customers is the first stage of running a successful influencer loyalty program. This means having a stage in your customer journey, be it at the purchase page or an integrated pop-up, that collects customers' social media credentials. This field should explain to customers why you are asking for their details, and collect a relevant social media handle. For example, if your main channel is Instagram, then it would make sense to ask for your customer’s Instagram @handle.

This lets you identify your customers on social media. It will teach you what type of content they are likely to engage with, what they think about your product, and — best of all — will allow you to discover influencers among your client base. You might never know, but some of your most loyal customers could be serious social media giants.

Step 2: Collect Social Credentials

It’s important to find a point in the customer journey that enables the collection of social credentials. This will make it easier for you to identify and vet the most influential customers in your network. Rather than asking for an email address, you’re requesting an Instagram handle.

Screenshot from REVOLVE who are looking for brand ambassadors

There are many places to collect a client’s social details:

  • In your email nurture flow
  • On a thank-you page after purchase
  • During the check-out process
  • From a brand ambassador page on your site
  • In a pop-up

Once you begin collecting your customers' social media details, it is important to have a data-driven vetting process to identify those with strong social influence. This typically requires using an influencer technology to review a customer's True Reach, engagement metrics, and audience demographics. All of which will paint a detailed picture of your customers' social media strengths, and help you identify the most relevant customers to collaborate with.

Tip: We recommend trying a few options and assessing where your clients are more inclined to share their details.

Step 3: Create a Compensation System

Generating traction on social media is just the first step. Once you’re getting the juice flowing, you’ll need to have a carefully crafted understanding of what you’re looking for. And once you do find those customer influencer types, you’ll need to reward their participation.

There are many ways to compensate your customers for participating in an influencer loyalty program.

Methods for Influencer Loyalty Compensation

Photo of a marker highlighting pay day
  • Pay-per-post. Offer your brand ambassadors monetary compensation for posts. Perhaps not all posts receive compensation, just posts that generate a certain engagement and exposure benchmark. Learn more about influencer rates.
  • Giveaways. Offer free product giveaways to participants as a thank you. If the influencer posts about a product they love, show your customers that you love them by offering a free product.
  • Discounts: Offer your customer ambassador a discount on products in exchange for participating in your campaign. Determine the discount amount that best fits your partnership.
  • Pre-release samples. Show your customers how much you value their opinions by sending samples of pre-released products. Ask for their feedback and include them in the development of your brand. Learn more about influencer gifting.
  • Exposure. Share your brand ambassadors’ posts on your social pages to help them grow social exposure. Even if your customers have a smaller network, giving them a chance to shine shows that you value them as customers.
  • Affiliate program. Provide high-performing influencers with affiliate links that can be easily monitored. If links lead to conversion, offer your influencers a percentage of your revenue and an incentive for further sales.
  • Tiering system. Create an internal tiering system that lets you determine how you compensate your brand ambassadors based on clearly defined benchmarks.

While a tiering system may seem overwhelming to establish, it will help you and your team set clear goals for your influencer loyalty program and easily monitor influencer KPIs.

Refer to the helpful chart below for tiering and qualifying your loyalty program. By setting rewards based on specific requirements, you can easily filter through your network to find the Gold Tier of influencers.

Influencer Loyalty Tiering System

Influencer loyalty tiering system example in a table

Step 4: Monitor Results

Once you and your identified influencers have begun generating further content, it is important to set KPIs for analysis. If the goal of your loyalty program is to drive conversions, then having a way to track conversions is essential (e.g., personalized links or coupon codes).

Meltwater social influencers platform

Having a tool that can track conversions lets you understand which collaborations are the most beneficial for your brand. By tracking conversions, you can better understand the type of network that is most responsive to your product and have a more comprehensive understanding of future collaborations.

What Are the Benefits of an Influencer Loyalty Program?

If you’re not convinced already that influencer loyalty programs are a great asset for your brand, here are a few other benefits to consider.

  • Create meaningful relationships with your customers. Loyalty programs are ongoing campaigns that your audience is meant to participate in, and in turn, will get rewarded for. This shows that you value them and that they are an essential part of your success. 
  • Learn more about your network. Running a loyalty program will teach you a lot about your network. When working with new influencers you might be connected with new audiences that you didn’t realize love your brand. This can help create more niche and meaningful marketing initiatives, and drive customer relationships.
  • Repurpose beautiful contentIf influencers know one thing better than us common folk, it’s how to create beautiful and engaging content. Leave this to the experts. Let your customers create beautiful content that can be repurposed. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Create Your Influencer Loyalty Program the Easy Way with Meltwater

The Meltwater influencer marketing suite powers your influencer loyalty program with data and simplicity. From providing the infrastructure for influencer recruitment to tracking metrics like engagements and reach, Meltwater puts you in the driver’s seat to identify and collaborate with your most loyal and influential fans.

If you’re ready to take your eCommerce influencer strategy with a sophisticated loyalty program, schedule a call with one of our influencer experts and learn how to use Meltwater Influencer Marketing to run an influencer loyalty program: