Social Media Case Studies in Loyalty and Acquisition


Extole helps brands engage, interact and reach their goals by harnessing the full power of social media.  Four brands from different verticals each had objectives which had to be reached with social media.  By using Extole’s Social Recommendation Platform (SRP) each brand was able to meet and exceed their expectations.

The common factor with each brand was an existing customer database and the necessity to leverage the power of social media as a retention tool to identify and reward good customers.  What is also seen is the affectivity of tapping into an existing user base in order to increase customer acquisition.

Below are the results taken from the published case studies:

The Brands

  • SendGrid (Information Technology – Email Delivery)
  • Roku (Consumer Electrics)
  • Folica (Retail – Health and Beauty)
  • J. Hilburn (Retail – Menswear)


With the objective of developing a word of mouth referral program which utilized both social media and their existing email sending technology, SendGrid turned to Extole.  One huge factor was the ability to completely outsource the new referral technology aspect of the development, completely to Extole.  This meant that internal development resources would not be diverted away from existing projects and would continue to be focused on their core product.

The Program

The program that was developed for SendGrid contained a simple offer for existing customers which could be shared socially.  Additionally, it took Extole just weeks to complete the project.

The offer was made to existing customers to share referral links.  This meant that when any of their referred friends became new paying customers of SendGrid, they would receive $20 cash and the referred customer would also receive a 25% discount on their first three months of service.  By giving the existing customer a gift and the new customer a discount, a “Captive Offer” had been created.  A real, tangible bonus for both the referrer and the referee.  The share could be made using email, Facebook or Twitter.


SendGrid achieved a 111% return on investment after the first six months of running the newly implemented referral program.  Based on the results to date, a 353% return on investment has been projected for the first year of the program.


It is very important for brands, especially brands that have access to internal development technology, to understand and realize their own limitations.  Outsourcing to experts is often a difficult decision to make.  In the short term it may seem like an expensive solution.  However, in the long term it saves more money trying to undertake a task where no internal expertise is present.

This was an acquisition strategy in which every new customer was referred by an existing customer.  Therefore, not only were new customers successfully signed up, but existing customers felt good receiving a bonus to refer a service that they were already content with.


Roku specializes in streaming entertainment devices for television.  With over one million units already sold, they wanted a way to tap into their existing and large user database.  They turned to Extole to figure out the dynamics, logistics and the implementation needed to turn their existing customers into a source of acquisition and become ‘word of mouth’ brand ambassadors.

The Program

Extole built a solution for Roku that was completely brand customized to match Roku’s look and feel.  However, under the hood was a tried and tested solution that had already shown great success with other brands.  Therefore, based on the existing Roku referral program, Roku was able to leverage the addition of Extole’s SRM.


Postive return on investment from the moment the program was launched.  Referral based sales increased 30% and the number of monthly referrals is now around 10,000 per month.


This example shows that any existing effort can always be optimized to produce better results. 


Folica, a well-known retailer of health and beauty products, noticed that they had many referrals to their website, but had no way of tracking and identifying these referrals.  The importance of identifying the source meant that Folica could replicate whatever they appeared to be doing ‘organically’ and focus their effort to increase the number of referred users.

The Program

By engaging their customers and encouraging them to share the secrets of great hair, created buzz around the brand.  Customers were able to share via Facebook, Twitter, email and personalized urls.  Once again, there was reward for both the referrer and the referee.  Each party would receive $10.


After 30 days of running the new Social Referral Program 6,000 brand advocates were identified.  The average number of shares per advocate was four.  21,000 shares had been generated via Facebook, Twitter and email and a 16% conversion rate was driven by the program.


Successful brands will be recommended by happy customers.  But identifying these customers and rewarding them accordingly will encourage them to continue to recommend your brand.  There is no better recommendation than ‘word of mouth’ recommendation.

J. Hilburn

Similar to Folica, J. Hilburn is a retail brand which was receiving many referrals from existing satisfied customers.  An apparel brand for men, J. Hilburn wanted to identify their most valuable customers and reward them for their ‘word of mouth’ recommendations.  They also wanted to learn about the social behavior of their customers.

The Program

By offering customers $50 for each friend referred and encouraging the advocates to share the offer using social media, identified and rewarded brand advocates.  It also achieved the brand’s goal of getting an insight into the social behavior of its customers.  Any referred customer who spent over $100 received a $50 discount on their purchase.  Once again, a two sided offer for the referrer and the referee.


After 45 days of running the new program, 1,000 customers had made referrals.  Averaging 12 shares per advocate, the referral program produced 10,000 social shares via Facebook, Twitter and email.  The bottom line result was 600 transactions which created over $250,000 in sales.

Overall Summary

It is quite clear that commerce on Facebook has not yet blown up in quite the way predicted by Mark Zuckerberg.  However, it is clear that social media is highly affective for retaining and rewarding an existing customer user base.

In the bid to generate real sales within the Facebook environment, there is currently no leader in the field.  However, by taking a step back and constantly analyzing the psychology of the social consumer, brands will begin to understand that more transactions will begin to occur within Facebook, but only as a result of a brand initiated action.


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