As more and more businesses aim for fully integrated social media campaigns, banks and credit card companies are expected to be among the next wave of companies to join the party.
One of the pioneers in this effort is China’s Sina Weibo, a microblogging social media platform that functions like a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter. The company has teamed up with China Merchants Bank to create one of the first social credit cards, a program that will offer a variety of hyper-targeted offers and promotions and will reward users for using the site to shop.
In the U.S., credit card companies such as American Express and Citi have used similar strategies. American Express, for example, has separate campaigns that allow users to sync their cards to Facebook and Twitter, allowing them to earn special offers by “liking” certain content and using specific hashtags.
However, the Weibo campaign is taking the trend to a whole new level with a unique approach to integration. According to Chinese tech blog TechRice, the card itself will be imprinted with a URL to the user’s Weibo profile. Customers can also earn rewards and discounts simply by having the card on them at a store and being active on Weibo.
Many businesses are discovering that social media campaigns are essential components of their digital strategy, and credit card companies are especially motivated to execute on social platforms. Over the last three years, increased regulation on direct marketing has forced U.S. credit card companies to reconfigure their marketing tactics. In 2009, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act made it more difficult for companies to reach out to young adults and students, particularly near college campuses.
Those companies are now growing increasingly prevalent in the social sphere, where reward programs are catching on, particularly with social gaming venues. A handful of credit card companies have teamed up with Zynga, creator of the popular Facebook-based game FarmVille, through which users can take advantage of promotional offers to redeem virtual rewards within the game.