Today, it is hard to find a company that does not use popular social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter as a means of communication with their (hopefully) loyal customers. A new study shows that through active loyalty program engagement paired with social media communication, returns will be higher. Newly released research shows a prominent link between social media interactions and long term sales increases. This study, released by LoyaltyOne with help from Northwestern University and the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey School of Business, takes a look into the linkage between loyalty and social media. So, what were the findings of this study and does social media in fact, increase loyalty, and thus sales? The results show that AIR MILES, the loyalty program under study, collectors who participated in social media events and promotions increased their purchases from AIR MILES program partners by 15-30 percent over non-participants. “The good news is this research delivers the evidence that investment in social media has the potential to return benefits in the form of transactions, profits and ROI if done well,” said Neil Everett, LoyaltyOne executive vice president and CMO. “The even better news is this study demonstrates that the data obtained through loyalty programs generates a reliable method of measuring this connection.” Through this data, companies now have the proof needed to invest in social media interactions centralized on loyalty program actions. Companies who communicate relevant effective social media interactions, will benefit, according to this study. The research of this study is based on findings after a two year observation and analysis of brand-customer social media engagement and actual transaction data with Canada’s more than 10-million member AIR MILES Reward Program. The engagement involved monitoring social media interactions such as online events and contests from 2009-2011. This study released just last week. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and continue to track all of your loyalty programs with your UsingMiles dashboard!