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How costumers really want to engage with your social media


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How costumers really want to engage with your social media

  1. 1. HOW CUSTOMERS REALLY WANT TO ENGAGE WITH YOU IN SOCIAL MEDIA: Leveraging Social Media for the I I US +1 617 425 7300 I UK +44 20 7886 8241 2011 One to One Connect LLC
  2. 2. THE DISCONNECT With the explosion of growth in social media, it’s 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 isn’t a box of nails just waiting to be hammered, and those who don’t 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 o er 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 brand’s ability to provide content that’s focused enough to be relevant to the consumer. 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,’ I I US +1 617 425 7300 I UK +44 20 7886 8241 2011 One to One Connect LLC 2
  3. 3. WHAT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES AND ACCOUNTS REALLY ARE 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 e orts — your tools and “building blocks” — are your social interaction points, such as Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts. But to use social interaction points e ectively, you must first understand what they are and where their real value lies. Equally important is to understand what they’re not. Your Social Media Accounts and Pages are Not a Web Site People “snack” on social media Pages 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 o er 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-views Since many marketers are still struggling to quantify how social media a ects 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 other’s news I I US +1 617 425 7300 I UK +44 20 7886 8241 2011 One to One Connect LLC 3
  4. 4. Social Media Drives a “Subscription” People who “Like” your Page or Follow you have become subscribers The 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 site Most 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 o ers 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 I I US +1 617 425 7300 I UK +44 20 7886 8241 2011 One to One Connect LLC 4
  5. 5. COHESIVE, CONNECTED EFFORTS As companies migrate toward leveraging social media, it’s important to remember that there is a huge di erence between segmentation and fragmentation. In a fragmented environment, Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, etc. are managed di erently, by di erent 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 feel Microsoft 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 disconnected. Pages and accounts that interlink It should be very easy to find routes to your other products and services from any of your social media e orts. 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 O ce 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, I’d find myself isolated in a silo with no easy way back. For example, if I go to Microsoft O ce’s Facebook Page I can easily find my way to their other products. If however, I’m on the Excel Page in Facebook, there is no easy route back to the O ce 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 o erings? I I US +1 617 425 7300 I UK +44 20 7886 8241 2011 One to One Connect LLC 5
  6. 6. CONVERTING CONSUMPTION TO SUBSCRIPTION THROUGH “CONTENT GATING” Once you’ve 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 di erent 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 want Di erent audiences for di erent products or services potentially want very di erent things. Your job is to truly understand what they’re looking for from your Page, and then o er it in return for “liking” you. Usually they are looking for incentives such as discounts or other o ers. Don’t fool yourself by imagining that most people just want to be a part of your community or to hear about your cool new stu . IBM’s 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 “Like” In 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 subscriber’s wall. Don’t miss this chance to hit a broader audi- ence, leveraging the credibility of your consumer to endorse your brand to their I I US +1 617 425 7300 I UK +44 20 7886 8241 2011 One to One Connect LLC 6
  7. 7. SUBSCRIPTION RELEVANCE Now that you’ve gained followers and subscribers, the key is to engage and retain them. The best way to do this is to provide o ers for products and services they’re 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 promise If 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 content It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that delivering on your promise is enough. But if you o ered “sports content” or “discount information” this may not be su ciently segmented. A basketball enthusiast really doesn’t 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 o ers 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 I’m 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 they’re open to travel, but allow them to be more focused if needed, rather than drive them away with what they perceive as social I I US +1 617 425 7300 I UK +44 20 7886 8241 2011 One to One Connect LLC 7
  8. 8. SUMMARY 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, it’s 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 I I US +1 617 425 7300 I UK +44 20 7886 8241 2011 One to One Connect LLC 8