How costumers really want to engage with your social media

Download How costumers really want to engage with your social media

Post on 12-Jul-2015




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    With the explosion of growth in social media, its hard not to get caught up in the crowd of wild-eyed marketers frantically

    running around with hammers, looking to secure their piece of the world. But consumer behavior has changed, and so have

    ways of interacting with them. Social media isnt a box of nails just waiting to be hammered, and those who dont come to

    this realization quickly will be left behind.

    According to a study recently published by the IBM Institute

    of Business Value , there is a significant disconnect between

    what businesses perceive as the value they oer their cus-

    tomers through social media, and what those customers are

    actually looking for from the brands. This is true not only in

    terms of actual content types (discounts vs. announcements

    or job openings), but also in terms of the brands ability to

    provide content thats focused enough to be relevant to the


    We have seen companies struggling to get their arms around communications paradigm changes before. For example, com-

    panies that approached mobile text messaging similarly to how they treated email lists in that past, found themselves on the

    receiving end of a huge backlash as consumers revolted against the privacy invasion of this far more intimate channel.

    With social, the stakes are even higher. No longer are there an elite few who closely manage primarily one-way communica-

    tions. Now more and more employees and company representatives are having discussions on social media in very public

    forums. Multiply this times the several social networks that each employee is on, and then by the hundreds or thousands of

    friends and followers on each of them. Finally, add in the ability for any one of those friends or followers to re-broadcast to

    their personal networks and you realize that the reach is expansive and the implications are enormous.

    What emerges is a quickly expanding morass of potential mistakes, misinformation, compliance violations and missed op-

    portunities for those who mismanage or simply ignore their basic social structure and strategies. However, for those who

    appropriately plan their social structure and strategies, there is a massive network of potential brand advocates and influenc-

    ers leveraging distributed actionable content for those who educate themselves and their teams on some basic insights of

    building a solid social foundation.

    1 IBM Institute for Business Value, Customer Relationship Management From Social Media to Social CRM, 2011

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    As you set out to leverage social media in a value-building way, it is important to start with a foundation before moving

    on to a strategy that leverages it. The foundation of your social media eorts your tools and building blocks are

    your social interaction points, such as Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts.

    But to use social interaction points eectively, you must first understand what they are and where their real value lies.

    Equally important is to understand what theyre not.

    Your Social Media Accounts and Pages are Not a Web Site

    People snack on social mediaPages and content on social media must be quick and easy to consume and act upon. A quick line, or better yet a picture

    or view, describing your oer or value proposition, along with a link to purchase, print or learn more is optimal.

    Your end goal should not necessarily be to drive page-viewsSince many marketers are still struggling to quantify how social media aects the bottom line, many look to metrics

    (such as the number of visits a Page receives) to gauge their level of success. The true power of social media, however,

    is to get your relevant, actionable content to more people where they reside. To reach the information streams consum-

    ers are already following 24/7 from devices that are always with them not just to bring more people to a central location.

    Additionally, getting end readers to interact with your content by clicking, viewing, commenting or sharing actually

    increases its ranking and likelihood of showing up prominently in others news feeds.

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  • Social Media Drives a Subscription

    People who Like your Page or Follow you have become subscribersThe real goal of a Facebook Page or a Twitter account is to drive ongoing consumption of relevant information in the

    form of a subscription. A person will only visit your page so many times... Possibly only once. If you can make that

    visit count and become a part of their ongoing stream of daily information, then you have succeeded at the most

    important step.

    Social can be more like your email lists than your web siteMost companies have a single website with lots of information. Conversely, their email lists (assuming they practice

    good email marketing) tend to be segmented by target market and customer interest. A social media Page or account

    should not overwhelm with too much information, it should tantalize consumers to subscribe to more information and

    oers of the type presented on the page. This should then be partnered with a variety of Pages and accounts that allow

    consumers to select those that align with their interests, beliefs, and goals.

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    As companies migrate toward leveraging social media, its important to remember that there is a huge dierence

    between segmentation and fragmentation. In a fragmented environment, Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube

    channels, etc. are managed dierently, by dierent groups, with little or no cohesiveness or synergy.

    Segmenting your assets should not create a patchwork quilt of unrelated items with inconsistent looks and feels.

    Neither should it form islands of content that leave visitors without an easy way to know about or get to your other

    information. Your customers should feel as if they are under your brand umbrella at all times, where they can easily

    browse for topics and products that meet their needs.

    When Designing Your Social Foundation, be Sure to Consider

    A consistent, professional look and feelMicrosoft and BMW are examples of companies that have done an excellent job of presenting unique and relevant, yet

    consistent and professional experiences in their social media presences. Their numerous accounts and Pages are

    focused enough to be of continued interest to their audience but consistent and polished enough to avoid feeling


    Pages and accounts that interlinkIt should be very easy to find routes to your other products and services from any of your social media eorts.

    Continuing with the Microsoft example, at the time of this writing, they have done an excellent job from a brand

    consistency perspective on their various Oce products. On the surface, however, they appeared to have created a

    hub-and-spoke environment of interlinked products. And once I arrived at any of the spokes, Id find myself isolated in a

    silo with no easy way back. For example, if I go to Microsoft Oces Facebook Page I can easily find my way to their

    other products. If however, Im on the Excel Page in Facebook, there is no easy route back to the Oce Page, nor to any

    of the other Pages such as Word.

    How much more detrimental is this if your customers are not aware of your full suite of product and service oerings?

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    Once youve driven a consumer to one of your social media interaction points, the goal is to convert them from a one-time

    viewer into a long-term subscriber to your content. One of the most powerful tools to assist with this on Facebook is a method

    known as content gating or fan gating.

    Content gating is accomplished by showing one piece of content to those who have not yet subscribed to, or liked your

    Page, and dierent content to those who have already become subscribers. This is generally leveraged to entice new viewers

    to like the Page to get access to what they really want.

    Determine what they wantDierent audiences for dierent products or services potentially want very

    dierent things. Your job is to truly understand what theyre looking for from

    your Page, and then oer it in return for liking you. Usually they are

    looking for incentives such as discounts or other oers.

    Dont fool yourself by imagining that most people just want to be a part of

    your community or to hear about your cool new stu. IBMs survey showed

    that most consumers were looking for discounts from the companies they

    follow. Conversely, from the companies perspectives, the report showed

    they felt that most followers were looking for information on new products

    or general information about their company.

    Leveraging the LikeIn addition to content gating helping to convert a viewer into a subscriber,

    once that Like button has been clicked a one-time update will be made to

    your new subscribers wall. Dont miss this chance to hit a broader audi-

    ence, leveraging the credibility of your consumer to endorse your brand to

    their friends.

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    Now that youve gained followers and subscribers, the key is to engage and retain them. The best way to do this is to

    provide oers for products and services theyre interested in. And the fastest way to lose them is to flood them with

    irrelevant information.

    There are several things to consider when pushing messages through your social networks, to determine their ability to

    engage or alienate your audience:

    Consistency with the promiseIf you convinced consumers to subscribe to a social media stream by promising them discounts, job insights or event

    information, then deliver on that promise. Although you may be able to very judiciously slip in some company an-

    nouncements or other information, make sure this is the exception and not the norm.

    Proper segmentation to avoid flooding them with irrelevant contentIts easy to fall into the trap of thinking that delivering on your promise is enough. But if you oered sports content or

    discount information this may not be suciently segmented. A basketball enthusiast really doesnt want to hear

    about golf. Similarly, if I am looking for discounts on your computer peripherals, and instead you send me a continuous

    stream of oers for TVs and home theater systems you will drive me toward unsubscribing from the content I want to see

    in my social feeds.

    A company should look at the types of information they intend to broadcast and do some soul-searching on how much

    overlap vs. focus exists in the audiences for that content. Social interaction points should then be created for each of

    those focused, highly-relevant information streams.

    Geo relevance National and international brands have to be especially careful about geographical segmentation of messages. If Im in

    California and want to hear about events you sponsor, I am unlikely to care about upcoming events on the east coast or

    in Europe. Give your consumers the ability to opt-in to multiple sources of content if theyre open to travel, but allow

    them to be more focused if needed, rather than drive them away with what they perceive as social noise.

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    Social media is without doubt a powerful tool. The ability to get in front of an interested audience and enable its members to

    become advocates of your message is unprecedented.

    Like most communication types, the field is rife with examples of companies misusing this new tool. Proper usage requires a

    basic understanding of what social media fundamentally is.

    Five key aspects of social media to incorporate into your marketing processes and strategies include:

    Remember social media is not a web page, its more like a subscription Keep a consistent, on-brand look and feel Ensure your social interaction points are interlinked for easy cross-pollination Leverage content gating techniques to drive subscriptions, not just views Create segmented social interaction points to keep content relevant and engaging

    Using these points as a guide should set you and your company on the right track to leveraging this powerful opportunity and

    help you avoid the confused masses of hammer-wielding nail-pounders. I I US +1 617 425 7300 I UK +44 20 7886 8241

    2011 One to One Connect LLC