Three great ways to make Social Media work harder for you

August 8, 2011

Social media has changed the way businesses engage with customers. No longer can you ‘Tell’ a customer. They want to ‘Discover’ and be ‘Intrigued’. They want to feel a part of your organisation.

So giving followers or fans links to product information or new services is the quickest way to dampen interest and turn them off. To build a relevant and useful following, you must be more creative and intrigue them.

Here are three ideas to inspire your customers:

  1. Ask fans or followers what they want from you. How can you improve your service? What ‘add-ons’ can you
    provide? What would help them make the buying experience more convenient? Make it a 360 degree conversation. Starbucks do this brilliantly with, ‘My Starbucks Idea’. It works because they introduce many of the ideas and give their audiencefeedback, which builds inclusivity.
  2. Run a Social Media Promotion. These are techniques that will build following, create interest and gain feedback that you can act upon. Many of Ice Cream maker, Ben & Jerry’s best-selling flavours come from customer suggestions. They ran a ‘Do the World a Flavor’ competition where fans, via a fun online ‘Creation Station’, invented their own variety. Finalists won prizes and the winning flavour became an official Ben & Jerry’s product. Over 100,000 entries achieved!
  3. Use Polls or Surveys. Consumers love to share their ideas. So ask them for their opinions and benefit from this knowledge.  Security firm ADT, posted a question on Facebook asking, “We’re curious….what do you think burglars are most afraid of?” Fans gave their answers and discussed opinions via the comments section. The following styles of questions work: The next product or service they would like to see, topical and relevant and tied to the brand, where the answer is clearly of interest, controversial topics,but being careful to avoid associating your organisation with the topic.

Use these techniques to get your Social media followers involved. Don’t ‘Sell’, aim to keep them interested in what you have to say.

That way they will remain or become your best advocates.

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How can you use Social Media to influence customers?

August 3, 2011

Back in the 90’s, a study of supermarket marketing established that 70% of Brand decisions are made in-store.

Well it wasn’t quite that simple; what they found out was that 70% of shoppers might arrive wanting a jar of coffee, but they only decided which Brand to buy when they were in-store.

And this has long been held as the holy grail of retailing, but things have changed.

Today, over 80% of shoppers claim to make their buying decision before they get to the store.

Everything has turned on its head as a consequence of factors, such as:

  1. Greater awareness, to have an emotional control on costs in lean times
  2. With less time, knowing exactly what you want makes shopping more efficient
  3. Familiarity with check-lists as a consequence of on-line grocery shopping
  4. Price comparisons and an upsurge in the use of coupons and multiple offers
  5. Unprecedented choice; more Brands, more products
  6. Decreasing brand loyalty – supermarkets marketing is designed to encourage shoppers to buy, they really don’t mind which brand
  7. The web makes searching for best products and best price, with customer testimonials, easy to find that confirm quality

This means that retailers and manufacturers now need, more than ever before, to establish relationships and awareness with the group of people who may potentially buy their products at a very early stage, well before they are about to buy.

They need to seduce potential customers into thinking about their products, possibly talking about them or maybe trying them. It is a gentle and subtle conversation a million miles away from the aggressive, ‘Buy one, get one free’ approach. It should inspire and
cultivate them, not bash them over the head with special offers. It’s simply a different style of conversation.

This is the perfect hunting ground for effective use of Social media; to charm, delight, tease and generally create a feeling within potential customers that they actually ‘know’ you. In the same way that we feel we know the newscasters and broadcasters we see every day on the television or listen to on the radio.

That’s why social media simply doesn’t work as a separate ‘Channel’. It must be fully integrated with everything that you do, across all the media channels you use, to build different types of dialogue.

And once you understand how this applies to your business or organisation, it will revolutionise the way that you approach Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Blogs and the like. Take a look at this promotion featuring Shrek the Musical and you will see immediately the opportunities they are missing to promote this endearing character.

Join me on Twitter and LinkedIn.