A great deal has been written and talked about regarding the use of social network marketing. More businesses are becoming aware of the potential of social networks as an effective way of creating engagement. If you are still unaware of social networks and their potential for marketing your business, you need to read on! Creating engagement – the new emperors cloths or a step change in marketing strategy?
The concept of creating engagement has emerged from effective dialogue – this is a two-way conversation that builds a relationship and provides value for both parties’. The idea is that developing a meaningful relationship with clients and potential clients provides greater value through sales, recurring sales and recommendations / advocacy for your brand, products and services. How to create engagement?
Just like a conversation with a person the concept of engagement is multilayered, that’s to say the better you get to know someone the more you get to know about them. Before I get ahead of myself we should consider introductions and that crucial first impression. Good social media marketing strategies should consider a number of campaigns, each focused at specific activity, such as acquisition in order to meet more people. This can be through a number of techniques such as viral campaigns that get your existing contacts to introduce others (this is a great way of using the trust and authority of others to support your own business). Getting to know you better (data profiling in order to sell more through cross sell, up sell and profiling of products and services to deliver better sales conversion and acquisition ratios).
Retention campaigns, aimed at keeping contacts engaged and in love with your company. Incentive (normally a subset of acquisition or retention) aimed at providing a reward (tangible value) to your contact. To all these activities, there are a number of caveats and things to consider but I think that’s a subject of another blog!
Choosing your networks Taking the ‘meeting people’ analogy further, when you think you may want to meet new people I guess most of us consider what kind of people we would like to meet and where they hangout – it’s the same for social networks, word of warning, not all social networks are the same. Some social networks are far more informal and attract younger people who are mainly interested in social exchange, Facebook is a good example of this kind of network – great if you provide goods and services to this demographic, however if your business is business to business (B2B) then a professional network such as LinkedIn is perhaps more suitable. Remember different networks have different rules and capabilities that provide functionality and usability for your activity – golden rule – plan through from start to finish right from the very beginning or you could spend a lot of time, effort and money on building up a large number of connections on a network which does not suit your products and services and may well be limited in terms of functionality in order to provide meaningful engagement for your audience.
Supporting and sustaining your activity Once you have decided what you want your social marketing activity to achieve, who you want to talk to and what the presence will look and feel like (including your network/s) you need to consider who will do this for you. Lots of companies have gifted amateurs who have strong preferences for certain networks – remember where they learnt this (normally in their own time doing social stuff) this is business and needs a different focus and approach – getting it wrong can have big consequences! You also need to consider how you will support this activity – who will provide the content, who will response to queries, how will you control and monitor the activity in order to provide the necessary protection.
One of our clients had a very bad experience where a disgruntled employee tweeted on the company twitter about a bad meeting they had just attended with a key customer – you can imagine the red faces and damage control that was required to rebuild that relationship! In our experience most company’s that take their social media marketing strategy seriously outsource all or part of this activity – if you are looking to develop this capability give me a call on 0121 308 4280 and I would be more then happy to talk you through the pros and cons (and possibly the pitfalls) as well as the opportunities for your business.