This post is the 5th in a series outlining a Simple Process for Social Media Marketing Success based on the acronym L-I-S-T-E-N. If youre following along at home by now youve:
- L-istened first
- I-dentified the problem, the influencers and right social media mix
- S-olved the problem by creating a brilliant strategy and
- T-ested the potential solution and set-up tracking.
So now its time to get Engaged. Problem is there is tons written about the dark art of identifying and wooing influencers. So what way of engaging is going to deliver the greatest ROI the quickest?
Short anecdote as an answer: We have a bunch of influential folks here at Search Engine People. As someone with a high number of followers, one of our folks was approached recently and invited to an event for one of the domestic car companies. He didnt go. He was approached two more times and the last time " amazingly " offered the use of the car for three months. Sounds like a good engagement strategy, yes?
Well, um, no.
If you know him, you know he drives a Volvo.
If you know him, you know he loves his Volvo.
So even if he went to the event and even if he took advantage of the offer and drove the car, whats the likelihood of him switching over and becoming a passionate, raving, authentic advocate of the brand?
Im not saying this isnt an approach you can take to engage influencers. If youve got a high-ticket item maybe this will pay out for you. But clearly the company that would be most likely to get a good ROI of engaging here is Volvo. For Volvo " trust me " Tom would speak passionately and authentically.
The problem is Volvo doesnt know hes a fan. And they dont appear to have the social media process in place to identify him and engage him. Its a common problem.
Take a minute right now and think about it.
How many businesses do you have a relationship with?
Of those, how many are you a real fan of?
Of those, how many know youre a fan?
If youre like me the answer is one or none.
So how many businesses are letting their most valuable resource " passionate, influential fans " slip through their fingers?
So here are:
12 ways to engage the influencers that will get you the best ROI: your fans.
Theyre roughly organized as a 12-step process even Dr. Drew would applaud.
1. Include social sharing tools prominently on your site, in your email and on your blog. How many of your customers even know you have a Facebook page? A recent study by eMarketer showed that only 13% of marketers included tools that made it easy to share content with social networks. Marketing Sherpa found that in one case including sharing in email boosted reader interaction by 25%.
2. Give them a reason to follow you through special discounts and exclusive content. Outback Steakhouse gave away a Free Bloomin Onion with the purchase of an entre to the first 500,000 fans to follow them. They had over 200,000 in the first week.
3. Capture their email addresses by dangling something of value like a white paper or a cool tool.
4. Take advantage of the Find Your Friends tool most Social Media sites offer. Import the email addresses from your database and follow them. Chances are if theyre fans theyll follow you back.
5. Survey them. Find out which of your customers are most likely to recommend you. Then go back to the top-scorers and find not only why they buy from you but what it is about you that excites them. Now youve not only identified your biggest fans but youve got great content for on-site testimonials.
6. Open up your site. Allow & encourage customers to post comments in blogs, forums on key industry issues, a live Q&A section & ratings and reviews of your top products.
7. Ask them to follow you using offline media. Naked Pizza didnt become a social media darling by tweets alone. They used every customer touchpoint " menus, pizza boxes even old-school media like billboards to succeed.
8. Go where they go. Use monitoring of the discussion to find out where else they congregate: niche online communities & forums, offline events etc. Then get involved in the discussion by adding something of value.
9. Support their causes. Find out what issues and nonprofits motivate your community and follow their lead by getting involved too.
10. Promote where youll be. Feature upcoming events youll be attending on your site, blog and in your email. And use tools like LinkedIn and Facebooks events to let people know to look for you there and to find out who else is going. Make a point to meet them there or, better yet, offer an incentive to an event and have them there as your guest.
11. Ask for their help. I need your help is one of the most powerful things you can say to a person so ask for their input on the development of new products and services, your new site design, your last email. Whatever. (See previous post.)
12. Find out whats shared most often. Out of all the content you provide to your social followers, blog & email readers make a list of whats forwarded and commented on most. Is it pure entertainment video, an educational how-to post or a provocative opinion piece? Adjust accordingly.
Identifying a company or brands fans isnt always an easy process. In fact, its often much easier to know who isnt a fan than it is to know who is one. The trick is in offering real value across every touchpoint. Put the time in there and youll be rewarded.
Bob Nunn is an Internet Marketing Consultant in Toronto and the founder of BrandMechanics. Bob has a successful track record of helping companies fine-tune their online marketing and getting their brands revved up. He has won over 40 marketing awards for his work in advertising, new media, email and more for clients such as Yellow Pages Group ‘The Find Engine’, Blockbuster ‘Guaranteed To Be There’, FutureShop ‘You’ll like what the future has in store.’ and 3M ‘Innovation’ among others.