People don't "Follow", "Like", or "Circle" your company because you're great.
They do it because it benefits them. That's they secret to every viral marketing campaign.
Maybe your latest blog post will help them save money. Or perhaps it made them laugh (or cry).
Either way, the underlying trigger that sparked their reaction is your key to unlocking social media growth.
Here are 3 effective ways to leverage those triggers and get more fans and followers.
Image courtesy of seanrnicholson
1. Create an Irresistible Offer
The quickest way to grow any social network is to incentivize your customers.
You have to craft an offer that's not only appealing, but also motives them to take action.
But be careful...
The offer or incentive you use will depend on your business.
For example, using coupons will work great for commodity-type businesses that are going after price-concious customers. But they're a terrible choice for complex or consultative sales because they'll attract the wrong type of customer.
So you need to match your unique situation with the type of offer, or bait you're using.
Here are some other examples that I use with my clients:
2. Get People Involved
Casino tycoon Steve Wynn recently said in an interview that today's generation of consumers don't want to sit passively and watch a performance - they want to get on stage and be the performance. Social media promotions are one of the best ways to grow a social network, because they:
- Break the everyday monotony by introducing something unexpected
- Act as an incentive to lure people's attention and engagement
- And can include viral hooks to draw new people in
They also don't have to be complex or expensive.
Look to partner with complimentary businesses that service the same customers you do. You'll be able to cross-market your products and services. But you'll also be able to "bundle" your own products/services for prizes and keep the cost down.
But don't forget to start with a goal. This is the most common mistake people make in social media.
If you want to build awareness and drive traffic, then run a sweepstakes or giveaway. You should make it as easy as possible for people to enter.
If you want to increase engagement of your audience, then hold a contest where people have to take an action and join the discussion.
And try to always include a "viral hook" so people involve their friends or social graph. An easy example is to have people vote, and the winner will have the most votes or Likes at the end of the competition.
You'll get friends-of-friends involved, and it will dramatically increase your reach to new people.
3. Embrace the "New" PR
If social media is the new PR, then bloggers are your new journalists.
And the good thing about online marketing is that size doesn't matter as much. If you find bloggers with the right audience, then you'll convert leads and customers at a much higher rate.
But you need to know how to reach out to bloggers if you want their help. They're usually looking for either (1) money, (2) exposure, or (3) exclusive/unattainable access:
- Money: Blog writers are expert content creators - which is essential to internet marketing today. So sponsor their work through advertising, or hire them to create content for you (they might even promote it themselves then).
- Exposure: Most bloggers want more traffic (just like journalists). So offer to promote them on your website, in your customer newsletter or social media audience.
- Access: Give them something money can't buy. That could mean back-stage access to a sold-out event, an autograph from their favorite NFL player you happen to have connections with, etc. etc. Think about how you can use your product, service or network to provide something exclusive and unique.
In each case, you need to put yourself in their shoes to understand what makes them "tick".
But don't settle for vague survey-like answers.
The key to inbound marketing is to intimately understand what motivates your audience. What will drive them to buy your product, give you their email address, or click the "Like" button on your blog post?
Because these "triggers" will help you grow revenue, traffic - or any social network.