Here it is. Are you ready? Would you like to know the fool-proof way to drive your social media communication? There is only one thing you need to know...
There is no single proven solution. In a world of instant weight-loss pills and a kitty-cat video garnering three million impressions in 24-hours, we are a society that wants instant gratification and instant results. And I hate to say it, but the way to increase your views, "Likes" and Followers is through proven tactics that have driven marketing concepts for years.
The Surfer's Guide To Marketing focuses on different tactics to increase your social media presence and productivity, though just as its easy to tell a novice surfer to "Get on your board, paddle in front of a wave, and stand up" the actual execution is a little more tricky. But integrating some of the basic protocol and techniques can ensure that you will be on your way to greater incremental results.
In the book, I ask if it is wise to let a kid with no marketing or PR background "drive" your Twitter or Facebook simply because the tattoo covered, facial pierced entry level employee knows how to "Tweet". Would you let that same rookie produce a full-page color ad in the NY Times? Certainly it's an extreme example but you get the idea that classically-trained marketing does hold a place in today's rapidly changing social space.
So if the basics for surfing involve the right board, wetsuit, wax, tide/swell, etc. then we need to ensure your social media offering provides content, consistency, and engagement. Simply put, you need to say something interesting that users want to hear, continue to provide informative and/or entertaining content on a regular basis, and ensure that your followers or fans can have some input in the conversation. Those three areas are the foundation for any positive campaign.
The Surfer's Guide To Marketing features a Case Study of two television networks facing similar situations and turning to social media to communicate with their fans and (even more importantly) their disgruntled customers. I won't fill you in on all the details here (because why would you need to buy the book?) but I will tell you that half of the social media battle is what you say. The messaging between the two companies was very different in nature with one being straightforward and the other trying to dance around the issues and provide "fluffy" non-relevant content. While you would assume which one had a more successful approach based on the set-up of strategies, I can tell you that BOTH wiped out worse than a Kook at Teahupoo!
Other aspects of driving engagement centers around rewarding loyal followers and user-genterated interactions. Simply put; people like free swag so I always encourage clients to provide giveaways, rewards for input, and brand sampling across all of the platforms. Provide incentives to stay, combined with aforementioned solid story telling, and you have a formula to increase loyalty and impressions.
More intricate interactions including sweepstakes and user-generated content are great solutions if you make it relevant, organic, and fun. Getting users to forward to friends in a user-voting effort is a great way to ensure you increase your footprint as long as the cause is something fans can get behind. Not every invite to get involved is successful and there are many tips and secrets we discuss in the book, but from a ten-thousand foot look, creating a fun opportunity for your Followers to become part of the story is a solid approach.
And now that we have the "what", let's also ensure we target the right people. There are three major categories of social media users: Spectators, Participants, and Creators. If you don't believe it, ask yourself which one of these three types of user you most resemble? Do you simply see your friends' posts or ignore when they ask you to vote/give/forward, etc? Then you are a Spectator who is exposed to the message but not actively participates. Or, perhaps you will vote for your friend's singing video or share their post for their cause on your own Facebook page. That classifies you as a Participant. Someone who will engage to some extent and put forth an effort but are not fully driven to enter the contest or promote yourself. And of course, the last area is reserved for Creators; the person who uploads their cutest baby in the contest or drives their friends to vote or enter. Creating a campaign that draws in all three is the secret to a successful user-generated activation. Make it interesting for the casual observer, relevant to a friend who will support the effort, and enticing enough that people will lay it on the line to become a disciple for the contest or promotion.
For more of the social media discussion including tips, tactics, and Case Studies featuring amazing brands and their successful strategies, be sure to pick up a copy of The Surfer's Guide To Marketing.