10 June 2011

8 Tips For 'Social' Marketing

Tips for Social MarketingFacebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms can be effective ways to market your company, but only if you do it right. Power up your efforts with these tips from Web-based application provider Wildfire.

Perhaps you're just discovering the power of social media. Or maybe you've known about for quite some time. Either way, if you're using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to market your company, you probably want to make those campaigns as effective as they can be, right?

Last week I wrote about Wildfire, a company that offers a Web-based application for social media marketing. Here are some tips, courtesy of Wildfire CEO Victoria Ransom, that might help you maximize the effectiveness of your "social" campaigns.

Tip #1: Keep It Simple And Easy

The shorter the entry form, or the fewer steps required to engage, the more people will enter your contest. And if you're looking to collect user-generated content, ask for content that consumers have readily available--for example, photos of their vacations, pets, friends, children, and hobbies. This is more effective than asking for content that requires effort to create, such as a video.

Tip #2: Make It Social

Look for ways to make your campaign inherently social. For example, you may want to run a user generated contest in which public voting helps decide the winner. That way, entrants will contact all of their friends to encourage them to vote. If you're running a sweepstakes, offer a group prize (for instance, "concert tickets for you and five of your friends") and ask entrants to invite the other members of the group. Another idea: Offer a referral prize; that means if someone you refer wins, you win too.

Tip #3: Seed Your Campaign

If you're using Facebook ads to publicize your campaign, the following techniques will get you good results:

-- Advertise to "friends of your fans," or use Facebook's new sponsored stories; the social context of these ads results in a much higher click-through rate.

-- Advertise to fans of your competitors. The consumers you reach will generally be highly targeted.

-- Run your promotion for a couple of days to see what kind of demographics it's resonating with; then tailor your ads accordingly.

Tip #4: Communicate!

Remember to remind your existing fans about your campaign regularly throughout its duration. At a minimum, message your fans when you launch the campaign, during the middle of the campaign, and a few days before it ends.

Tip #5: Tap Into Passionate Communities

We've found that tapping into people's passions and interests plays a greater role in determining the success of a campaign than do factors such as the value of the prize or even the size of an advertising budget. Campaigns that involve pets, children, charities, hobbies, music, and other interests are consistently among the most successful. For example, one nonprofit received more than 10,000 photo submissions in just one week for a pet-related photo contest, with no advertising budget.

Tip #6: Run Regular Campaigns

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is putting a lot of effort and money into a "big bang" launch campaign for their fan page without having a plan for running regular campaigns afterward. Generally, companies that run regular promotions (for example, "Win it Wednesday" or "Friday Flash Deal") are much more successful in building an engaged and growing fan base than those that do high-profile campaigns here and there. Likewise, centering campaigns on holidays (Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Earth Day, etc.) is a great way to provide regular engagement.

Tip #7: Make Buying Fun

Whereas many consumers visit Google to search for specific information about specific topics or products, they generally go to Facebook to engage with friends and have fun. So it follows logically that the best way to encourage fans to buy is to make the buying process fun. Here's an example: Haute Look ran a campaign that offered "lucky coupons." Consumers had to become fans in order to get a coupon, and they didn't know whether they'd get a high-value coupon or a low-value one. Haute Look made three times its return on investment, and 20% of buyers were first-time purchasers.

Tip #8: Choose Your Prize Carefully

Of course, if you're running a sweepstakes or some other kind of contest, the prize you pick does play a role in determining the success of your campaign. Here are two things to keep in mind:

-- Prizes that generate the most excitement are those that money can't buy--for instance, tickets to a sold-out concert, backstage passes, limited-edition merchandise, etc.)

-- It's important to choose a prize that's relevant to your brand; that way, you'll attract the kind of consumers that'll ultimately be interested in your product. If you're a restaurant, for example, give away free dinners or a gourmet food basket, not an iPad.

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The above article was originally published by InformationWeek on 02/05/2011 and can be seen at: http://www.informationweek.com/blog/smb/ebusiness/229402627