How to use social media for organic growth with personalized promotions
Stop treating social media as an advertising channel. Once you do that, you will finally discover their marketing potential.
How to use social media for organic growth with personalized promotions?
A clear goal in one’s mind is a key to every successful marketing strategy. Think about social (and its toolkit) not as a means to drive advertising, but as a way to build customer satisfaction. What does this mean in practice? We’ve searched for answers among social media experts. Despite different tactics due to various business models, they follow the same hint.
If you put real value in front of your audience, it will come back to you along with growing engagement.
Let’s see how this strategy operates on some use cases straight from social media profiles.
On top of the funnel – social media for attracting new customers
Social media offer you a huge margin for attracting new customers and building brand awareness. Think about joining social communities from your niche and building a real dialogue with users. Firstly, offer your advice and experience. Throwing a flashing banner even with an attractive offer can very soon end up with a banned account or a spammer label. Building trust takes time, but according to Syed Irfan Ajmal, Growth Marketing Manager at Ridester, it pays off. He says:
“Facebook groups are filled with people looking to create and exchange information about specific topics, and providing them with this information is a very powerful way to drive traffic to a blog. Join a few groups related to your niche, then establish a reputation as a thought leader in the space. Once you have done that, post a few links in the group.
Tip 1: Engage in insightful conversations with group members before posting links to your content.
Tip 2: Actively engage with members who respond to your post. When Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm sees a large level of engagement, it considers the post highly relevant and will show the post to more members of the group.”
The good news is that even in social media your strategy can scale better thanks to marketing automation. It will not replace you while building trust inside communities but it will help in spreading the best bits of your content
“The blog pieces that you write have tons of quotes that you can repurpose for your social media. You can customize it for Twitter and put it on automation so that you are publishing a steady stream of content on social media.” – Mor Mester, Head of Marketing, Automizy.
Brand awareness and credibility in your niche mean a lot. They take you to the next level where you convert the traffic into growth of sales and word-of-mouth.
From the middle to the bottom of the funnel
Paths to purchase leading through social media are very popular amongst B2C companies. Similarly to the content, only well-targeted offers can convert attracted leads into buyers. To see an example, Jay Perkins from Kettlebell Kings tells the story of their most successful social media campaign
“Our most successful social media campaign has been our Weekly Workouts, which prospects subscribe to and receive a free kettlebell workout each week from our website. This has been a HUGE success for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has gotten tens of thousands of people into our workflows, who receive regular content from us; and secondly the lead cost is so much less compared to AdWords or other forms of advertising. The leads coming in by people signing up for workouts specifically on social media channels is about $1 per lead and our current return on investment into actual sales is about 10X. The best principle that we follow is to always try to post something informative and helpful. It is very rarely specifically about our kettlebells, but more about kettlebells and healthy living as a whole. Using this macro approach has helped us be viewed as a thought leader in our niche and a brand that people follow for knowledge and trust rather than just advertising to them.”
Promotions, gifts or discounts need to be wrapped in a catchy message. In social media, people are bombarded with tons of content and deals which try to grab their attention. No matter how loyal your clients are or how good the offer is, your posts should clearly correspond with customers’ needs.
“As a media personality who also offers marketing services I have found the best practice has been to tailor my pitch on social media to the needs of my audience on that particular platform. My main success has been with Facebook where I have over 7k combined followers and friends. Instead of saying buy my service or giving prices I propose the value of what I offer and how it can benefit them. Example of a post would be ‘Looking to improve your sales on Amazon.com? Let me help you share your product with the world.’ When the audience can tell that you are trying to do something for them and you are not just in it for yourself, it builds trust which has translated into new customers.“ – Cyrus Webb, the President of Conversations Media Group, Top 300 Amazon.com Reviewer and social media influencer.
How to make the social media to work for you, even if you do not have many fans?
Why do people “like” or “share” products online? And why don’t they do it more often? Social integration for any and all kinds of online content is pretty much obligatory at this point, but getting people to share your products presents some unique challenges. If you’ve never tried to “share” a product before, here’s what happens when you click the Facebook icon on Amazon:
There are a number of reasons customers might not want to put this on their timelines. In this part, I will focus on some of the consumer psychology behind “liking” and “sharing,” and based on these ideas, suggest how to make better use of social integration for marketers and retailers.
Sharing Information about Ourselves
A 2012 Harvard study (using both behavioral economic and neuroscience methods) by Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell took a serious look at when and why people choose to share information. They gave people a series of 195 choices in which they picked to answer either a question about themselves (such as “how much do you enjoy skiing?”) or a question about someone or something else. Participants were paid a little bit for every answer they gave, but the value was different for each question. In other words, each choice was not simply a matter of choosing which question to answer, but of how much money to be paid for that answer.
Imagine you are asked to pick one of two questions to answer, and you are told that you would be paid a little more to answer the second question than the first. Which would you choose?
Question 1: “How much do you enjoy skiing?”
Question 2: “True or false: Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa?”
According to Tamir and Mitchell, their participants ended up sacrificing an average of 17% of their possible earnings in order to answer more questions about themselves! And if the pay was the same for both question options, they found that people opted to share information about themselves approximately two-thirds of the time.
This finding is a logical extension of the fact that people tend to enjoy talking about themselves (some studies suggest that about a third of the time we spend speaking is used for telling others about ourselves or our experiences). In fact, Tamir and Mitchell also found that discussing information about ourselves is associated with the release of dopamine (a chemical linked to signaling reward and enjoyment).
This suggests that if customers share their thoughts and preferences while shopping, they will enjoy that process more. This is one of the underlying appeals of online rating and review features, which allow people to share their product opinions and experiences with other users. However, rating and review systems tend to be used after someone has already gone through the shopping and buying process, but it is during the shopping phase that we want to increase customers’ enjoyment in order to influence their decision. Furthermore, rating and reviewing products can be costly in terms of time and effort, so the majority of online shoppers don’t bother. Luckily, these kinds of problems can be avoided with social media’s favorite one-click opinion-sharing vehicle, the “like.”
People Like to “Like”
Research in progress at Columbia University (by Daniel He, Shiri Melumad, and Michel Pham) suggests that people derive a small amount of pleasure from rating products with a simple “like” or “dislike.” Exactly like how people enjoy sharing information about themselves, they get a small kick out of getting to share their opinions in even a very basic way.
Plenty of sites allow customers to “like” or “share” their products on at least one or two social networks, but these sites include this feature for an entirely different purpose than for allowing customers to “like” things for their own sake. For example, take another look at that Amazon Facebook share up top. It’s just an advertisement.
People love to share information about themselves, but that does not mean they want to share information for you. Social is a space where every brand wants to be marketed, and for solid reasons: word-of-mouth advertising is a good thing, and Facebook and Twitter are the closest we can get to it online. But to leverage the tools of social media in order to appeal to customers’ implicit desire to share, you need to give them the chance to share their own information, not just yours.
Before I get to some ideas about how to do this, I need to point out one more important finding that both the information sharing and the liking studies found: people enjoy sharing their information even when there is no one with whom to share it.
Social Without the Social
How does that make any sense? Both of the above streams of research posit, in their own ways, that people do not simply like sharing with others (although they definitely do), but they also inherently enjoy the process of thinking about what they like or dislike. In a sense, they enjoy the brief moment of self-discovery associated with answering a question about their preferences.
This means that if something looks and feels like a social feature, people may use it even if it actually does nothing. This suggests that people may use “like” buttons on a website that do nothing except indicate their own preference to themselves (and to the website, of course). Something like this would also free customers from some of the baggage associated with actual social media:
- It would not make them feel like a billboard
- It has the potential to let them dislike something (a feature that Twitter refuse to include)
Obviously it is better to have customers “liking” your products instead of “disliking” them, but if they already are not going to buy it, why not let them have the pleasure of telling you?
Making social media work for you
This leads to some interesting ideas about how to design a website’s product pages. First and foremost, each product could allow customers to “like” or “dislike” it with a single click, and they should be encouraged to do so. The “likes” do not need to be shared publicly, but they should be linked to the customer’s account or computer if possible. Note that this is not a rating system for giving feedback after a purchase: it is a means to encourage engagement that could lead to a purchase.
If you want to get creative with this, after a “like” you might prompt your customers to elaborate. This would not be in the form of a comment, but rather a question: ask them something about why they do (or do not) like the product, and for extra engagement, have several such questions and pick one at random. For example, if a customer “liked” the Kindle from above, you might ask them, “Where would you use this the most?” or “What’s the FIRST THING you would do with this?” (note that the same could be asked of just about any product).
Finally, returning to the idea of actual social integration, one of the more popular concepts in marketing (with a strong basis in the consumer psychology) is the “foot-in-the-door” phenomenon: once a customer has done something small for you, they are subsequently much more likely to do something bigger. Once someone has already internally and painlessly “liked” a product, why not ask them if they want to share that with Facebook or Twitter? And unlike the Amazon example up top, this would not include too much product information in the post or tweet, but would simply be an expression of the fact that the customer liked it. If you chose to ask a creative follow-up question, you could even prompt an auto-fill based on their answer.
Takeaways on social media growth
- People enjoy sharing (non-sensitive) information about themselves, especially their preferences.
- Furthermore, they enjoy sharing their preferences even when no one can see what they shared.
So give your customers the chance to share their own information, not just yours. If you let them “like” things, or if you have them answer fun and easy questions, then they may like you for letting them do so.
Putting it together
Overall demand for a seamless, cross-channel experience makes lots of companies run their marketing through numerous media at the same time. The problem with social channels is that you cannot just bring your offers and implement something that works somewhere else. You need to get to know social media, and then design a new strategy built on its rules.
Combine promotions with social media with ease.