Social media is a powerful promotional tool for businesses, in part because it allows customers and connections to do some of the work for you. If you’re a business that can leverage your social connections to share information about your business, you should be able to reach quite a few people.
The tricky part is actually getting your customers to post about your business. That’s why the Marriot hotel chain started its Plus Points  program. Plus Points allows the hotel’s members to earn real Marriott Rewards points based on their social activity, including tweets, retweets, Facebook or Instagram posts, and check-ins.
So if a member staying at one of the chain’s locations posts a picture of their room with a nice caption, it could translate into actual Marriott Rewards. They could use those Rewards on a future stay, post even more to social media, and continue the cycle.
Vice President of Marriott Rewards Rich Toohey told  USA Today:
“As we started to think about new ways to allow the next generation of traveler to connect with… and participate in rewards, we thought this was an interesting idea. It was a cool opportunity for them to take advantage of and participate by doing what they’re already doing.”
The company has assigned various point values to different activities. For instance, guests can earn 25 points for following a participating hotel’s Twitter or Instagram account. They are allowed up to four transactions per day and up to 2,000 points a month.
Though Marriott isn’t a small business by any stretch, the concept is one that could easily translate for businesses of all sizes. In fact, other hotels and hospitality businesses are already starting to follow Marriott’s lead. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants just launched Kimpton Karma Rewards, a similar program that rewards visitors for various activities, including social media posts.
Businesses pay for advertising and other promotional methods, so why not retweets and Facebook posts? Including this type of activity in a Rewards program seems like a fairly low-cost way to encourage social media posts while also encouraging brand loyalty.
For smaller businesses that are looking to increase social engagement, employing a similar type of program would be worthy of some consideration.
Marriott  Photo via Shutterstock