Traditionally, brands have used social media as a way to broadcast content and promotions that include but are not limited to loyalty offers — like American Airlines on Twitter or Target on Pinterest. In 2013, JetBlue took the partnership of loyalty and social networking in an interesting new direction with TrueBlue Badges — awards specifically designed to be both earned and shared by interacting with social media.

Connecting and Collecting with JetBlue

JetBlue’s TrueBlue Badges let their loyalty program members gain recognition by engaging in a number of travel, social, or loyalty activities. Badges can be earned, for example, by travelling to certain destinations, upgrading a seat, or doing business with partner companies. While earning badges is primarily a competitive activity in which high earners win a place on the leader board, some badges also carry TrueBlue bonus points. The program intends to add more opportunities and awards in the future.

TrueBlue Badges also turn customers into brand advocates on social media. The competitive, game-like nature of the program encourages members to discuss their standings and face off against each other. There are even special badges that members receive as awards for sharing the program on Facebook or Twitter, and for getting their Facebook friends to sign up.

What we like about it: JetBlue has successfully incorporated gamification into its loyalty program. Yet it has done so as a natural extension of the existing TrueBlue program, creating a seamless addition that feels easy and natural while keeping it completely optional. By encompassing elements of brand-building, advocacy and loyalty within the existing program, TrueBlue Badges offers an elegant merging of loyalty with social media.

Three takeaways for social media success:

  • Increase advocacy. By using content designed to be shared on social media, program members can spread the word for you.
  • Get your game on. Challenge customers through social media. If it seems like fun, they’ll likely accept.
  • Think outside the box. There are only a small number of specifically social loyalty programs. Opportunity exists for innovative new ideas.