Simply Social --How to Cover the Basics
The social landscape is changing pretty much daily. Yes, that’s a pretty broad (and kinda bland) statement but I’m considering “landscape” to include the technology you can leverage as a marketer, end user functionality, end user behavior… I don’t think I have ever uploaded a photo to Facebook the same way twice.
It can be tough to keep up with all of the trends much less implement them effectively on your social networking sites. Let’s cover a few basics that should be included as a minimal foundation for any of your social networking sites as well as a few ways to create an approach if you have not really built out your social presence.
Clear up the Calls-to-Action
“Follow me!” “Like me!” “Like this!” “Tweet me!” “+1!” One of the values of social networking sites is the wide variety of customers can interact with your brand. As a marketer it is extremely important that you not only consider the action that you want a customer to take but also the voice in which you ask the question. Placing a Facebook or Twitter logo at the top of an email or your site can be confusing to a customer and potentially discourage the click. They may be asking themselves what would happen next: Will this post to my wall? Will this result in me liking the brand? This product? What data is going to be shared?
The best approach is to use logos and calls-to-action that clearly define what action the specific link will drive. Add copy for “Liking” or “Following” calls-to-action that create the association between the user, the action, and your brand. Use one of the “thumbs up” like icons when you are encouraging product specific likes and make sure this is placed in an area that connects the call-to-action with the product. Making sure the functionality is obvious to the customer can work to drive additional clicks and build your social followers.
Close the Acquisition Loop
Ladies & gentlemen! Attention please!!! Many brands are not leveraging something that is straight forward to implement and has so much benefit. This a simple tactic will symbiotically work to grow both your email list and social followers.
Bottom Line: Have an email sign up form on your Facebook page and encourage Facebook Likes in your emails.
The latter is much more common but for some reason having an email opt-in form on Facebook goes ignored by many. This can be as simple as adding a tab containing the form or linking to a form from your info section. Either approach should not require much heavy lifting and can instantly start to benefit both channels. Make sure you are able to source addresses coming in from social networking so you can monitor growth over time. This will help you to better understand your socially engaged customer.
Get the “Like”
The “Like us on Facebook” call-to-action is taking its place on the shelf of overlooked buttons that are ubiquitous on anything with a logo. Don’t get me wrong, this request can be effective but you need to make sure you are asking the question in a way that stands out, engages your customer, and communicates the value proposition. Think about your social networks. What do you offer that will benefit your customer. It could be exclusive offers, coupons, latest news, weekly Q&A, ask the experts, advance notice of promotions, etc. Highlight this information in your welcome email. Create a tab on your facebook page dedicated to this information. Use visual elements beyond the “Like us on Facebook” standard icon. I love it when brands use an arrow to point out the “like” button on their Facebook pages.
Start the Conversation
Another common trap is to focus on solely on acquisition while ignoring one of the key components to retention: ongoing interaction with your fans and followers. I keep a watchful eye on facebook pages for various brands and I commonly see walls with virtual tumbleweed passing through. Conversation is key. Ask questions, create polls, comment on a newsworthy topic in your industry… Try ending your posts by asking your fans and followers: What do you think? Have you ever tried this? Do you agree?
Let no post go unnoticed! Make sure you are frequently checking posts to your social networks. We all love hearing positive commentary. It’s perfectly fine to thank your customer for their posts but it’s also helpful to include additional information such as “Happy to hear you are enjoying your product! Have you checked out the available accessories?” Tread lightly. Pushing the conversion rather than the conversation can result in a negative reaction and mutiny on your wall or feed.
Question: What’s worse than a negative comment on your wall?
Answer: A negative comment that you have not addressed!!!
Do not ignore the negative comments, criticisms and customer service related questions. Social networks have become a common go-to for customer service and people expect a response. Make sure you address the comments in a helpful fashion by providing as much information as possible, linking to resources on your site that can help to resolve the problem, providing customer service numbers, etc. You don’t want these posts to go unnoticed, and making sure you are taking care of your customers in such a public forum can reflect positively on your brand.
Test your Sharing
When is the last time you not only clicked on your SWYN links but also completed the form and reviewed the forwarded message? Let me guess… It’s been a while. Technology changes especially when it comes to the primary social networks. Facebook for example has multiple methods of including a headline, description, and thumbnail in shares. Many of the older methods no longer work. This can result in fewer social shares or, if the information is shared, you are not going to representing your brand in a good way with a jumbled up post. Check all sharing functions in your emails and on your site. Make sure the user experience is smooth and that the results are functional.
No matter how much time you have dedicated to developing your sharing functionalities and social network pages, there is always room for improvement. Hopefully you have found some of these approaches to be usefully. So, I’ll wrap this up by taking some of my own advice and ask you a question:
What have you done recently to make sure your social networking pages are running smoothly and effectively? Please share your thoughts below.
Manager of Strategic Services at Bronto
This white paper reveals how retailers can leverage the personalization of email, the instant communication of short message service (SMS) messaging, and the multimedia capabilities possible via social media to formulate long-lasting relationships with shoppers.
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About the Author
As an expert in email, mobile and social strategies, Jim Davidson brings over 13 years of experience in online marketing, managing email and cross-channel programs for top retail clients. From strategic vision to implementation, Jim has led clients to successfully meet aggressive revenue and performance goals. As Bronto’s Manager of Marketing Research, he regularly publishes industry focused white papers, research reports, and contributes to the Bronto Blog. His articles can be found in publications such as DMNews and Multi-Channel Merchant.