“Oh, you gotta be on Twitter, it’s guaranteed to generate more leads for your company!”
“You have to create a Facebook business page; it’s the only way to get people to recognize your brand these days!”
“Of course LinkedIn is the place to be; how else are you going to network with other industry experts?”
Social Media Hype!
Any of the above sound familiar? If you’re like most marketing folks, you’ve heard your fair share of social media hype. The truth is, most companies develop a social media optimization campaign because of the hype surrounding the platforms, like Twitter and Facebook.
Every day thousands of marketing agencies and so-called SEO “experts” dangle the promise of social media in front of their clients. They basically pitch it to them as Nirvana! They tell them that all they need to do is create a corporate social media profile, and the doors will open: business leads will come in faster than ever, their target audience will grow quicker, and of course, sales will increase.
Social Media Reality
While these promises are certainly attractive, most businesses are not seeing the results. According to a report released last February by Ad Age, the vast majority of businesses who engage in a social media campaign are not seeing permanent traction when it comes to increasing their consumer base. Even more so, not properly engaging one’s target audience has lead to consumer apathy, as seen with Facebook where only 1% of Facebook fans engage with brands.
Given this reality, it’s no wonder that most business executives find themselves pulling their hair out when it comes to finding a quality social media platform that, well, works!
On top of that, they need social media optimization and audience engagement tips that will truly drive some results. But all too often such recommendations are limited to the most rudimentary, such as:
“Offer tips and advice” “@ mention specific Twitter followers” “Talk about relative topics pertaining to pop culture”
While the above tips are correct, they simply are not enough to get the job done.
Going Beyond The Basics: 2 Great Social Media Tips
There are plenty of ways businesses can launch great digital engagement tactics that truly speak to, and excite target audiences across the world. To really make social media pay off, you need to go beyond the basics. To start, you need to take the time to understand exactly who your digital audience is, what’s important to them, and what would make them want to share information with others. In addition, your effort needs to be creative and it needs to be done in a meaningful way.
Below are two great ways to leverage social media to grow your target audience, generate more leads, and advance your overall search rankings:
1. Create and offer badges for your followers/fans
You don’t have to look far to see that most people love personal attention, and they like to show off their personal successes to others. That’s why creating attractive badges for followers/fans to win and post on their websites and blogs is a great way to generate substantial user engagement.
Here’s how to do it
Fortunately, you can create badges on a number of social sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so you can choose the best platform and corresponding audience that you want to engage.
Actually creating the custom badges is easy, and there are many online sites that show you how to do it. But keep in mind that directions to create badges tend to be platform specific. For instance, most social platforms, like Facebook, allow you to create a badge with them exclusively.
Once you have decided which platform you want to use, you need an idea. You need to come up with some sort of contest such as a trivia game, or simply ask your followers to submit a one sentence testimony. When an individual user answers a question correctly or follows through with a particular action, they get rewarded with a cool badge that they can then post on their own social profiles, their personal websites, even blogs!
Seeing it in action
The United Kingdom’s fastest growing independent online pet retailer, Monster Pet Supplies, set up their own badge campaign last Spring in an effort to increase engagement, improve relationships with key online pet influencers, as well as increase overall brand awareness. After researching online trends and discussion points within the “pet lover” community, Monster launched “The Monster 50” listing the top 50 pet bloggers within the United Kingdom. Bloggers that are included in the list can proudly place a Monster 50 blog badge on their site as a stamp of authority.
New members are added to Monster’s promotional list when pet owners and fans share their personal stories of what owning a pet means to them. Since its launch, Monster has successfully created a living diary where pet fanatics support each other with tips and advice, discussions, and other related topics.
For Monster Pet Supplies, “The Monster 50” has increased their Facebook “Likes”, attracted more consumer dialogue, and has turned into a contest that offers pet goodies to fans that “like” and share Monster’s content.
Understanding the benefits
Creating custom badges can help your marketing efforts in a number of ways, such as:
Great way to track individual relationships that can be engaged again at a later date. Excellent for creating healthy, credible links that are supported and justified by actual online users (HUGE Plus for advancing Google and Bing search rankings) Quick and easy way to increase brand awareness as your companies’ personal badge will continuously grow throughout the social media/blogosphere.
2. Product giveaways
Not too many people say no to free stuff, especially if that “stuff” naturally fits into your target audience’s needs/wants. Creating the opportunity for people to gain great new products for free in exchange for some social media advertising is an excellent way to excite your audience and motivate them to spread your message.
Seeing it in action
Kotex created a clever and effective Pinterest campaign last March by monitoring 50 influential female Pinterest user’s activity. First, Kotex observed their interests and wall pins. Then they created gift baskets with some of the exact items that these users listed on their profiles. The baskets were delivered straight to their doorsteps, and included new Kotex designs relating to their posts.
The campaign was a tremendous success as the women shared details of their gifts to their Pinterest followers.
The result? Almost 700,000 total impressions!
Here’s how to do it
While Kotex utilized Pinterest, you can use any social media platform – they all allow users to post their thoughts, likes/dislikes, hobbies, and favorite locations. Simply look over your fan base to see what they are talking about and like, and then leverage their interests by offering them either branded or non-branded products in exchange for links, testimonials, @mentions on Twitter, or “Likes” on Facebook.
Understanding the benefits
Product giveaways can be beneficial to your marketing efforts in a number of ways:
Excellent for increasing brand awareness for any product, especially when new initiatives/launches take place. Tremendous word of mouth advertising. Increase credible links to drive search engine rankings.
There’s more to social media than just the hype. But to truly make it pay off, you’ll need to do a lot more than just create a corporate profile. How are you using social media to engage with your target audience? What has worked well? What hasn’t, and why?