April 23, 2012
By Krista Bochicchio
Your New Marketing Team: Consumer Advocates
Over the past five years, emergent social media outlets have helped forge a new and interesting variety of marketing based on consumer-to-consumer interaction. Because of the viral nature of social media, the buzz that consumer advocates can create around a brand or product is comparable to the buzz that traditional B2C marketing campaigns can create. When done right, social media marketing campaigns expand the capacity of your marketing team to your entire online customer base. Businesses can capitalize on this developing branch of marketing, but need to know how to train their online audience to be effective brand advocates through winning social media strategies.
Position and Package Your Message
There are three basic guidelines to creating a social media-friendly message, whether you are Tweeting, blogging, Facebooking, or Tumbling through the matrix of social media:
Offer relevant content and present it in an intriguing way. Easier said than done, we know. We also know, however, that the most successful campaigns forge an emotional connection between the brand and the audience. The unprecedented popularity of the Apple brand, for example, evokes feelings of confidence and comfort from consumers. Marketing guru Marc Gobe, author of Emotional Branding, says “Apple’s brand is the key to its survival. It’s got nothing to do with innovative products like the iMac or the iPod.” Authentic and fresh material will draw users in, encourage them to investigate further, and ultimately spur them to exchange your engaging content with their broader networks.
It is crucial to make your online content accessible through multiple social media platforms. Optimizing a social media effort is a juggling act; you must simultaneously tailor campaigns to different platforms while maintaining a consistent core message. One strategy for ensuring accessibility—and by default, “share-ability”—is by linking all of your social media channels. On Twitter, this means writing tweets with snappy headlines short enough to be re-tweeted without editing. On Facebook, this means anyone should be able to like and broadcast your posts, as well as write on your wall. Additionally, blog posts and landing pages on your website should have share buttons that seamlessly transfer content from one platform to another.
People are busy. Busy people are selective with their time. You have to give your audience the extra push they need to get your message out there. You may rely on incentives as simple as “This video is so funny! Watch it.” Or, you can go as far as allowing users to earn loyalty points or coupons for actions they take, such as liking, recommending, sharing, or commenting. The slightest tip of the scale, which is often the result of a small incentive, can generate a domino effect of interest in your brand.
These three strategies converge to create an online experience in which social media users have every reason to pass on the information provided to them. For businesses, this means more educated and empowered brand ambassadors and a growing marketing force for their brands.