Given that only 15% of marketers can prove the impact of social media on their business quantitatively, according to a CMO survey, it’s important you refine your strategy if you are among the 85% who are yet to make a quantitative sense of these social portals.
That includes getting more fans and followers to participate in your social media activities.
You can improve your social engagement greatly by crowdsourcing different opinions and contributions from fans and add that into your social media content plan. People love the opportunity to get their voice out there, and your business will benefit a lot if you can help provide that space.
Leveraging many views will also activate the diversity and depth in your content strategy that you need to pique interest from a wide spectrum of social audience.
Having said that,
It’s also important to have a plan towards any social audience optimization strategy you are using. Because, many of these could cost you significant time and resources to get to a full implementation. So you want to see what you are getting in return from your campaign exertions.
The simple thing is to set a goal for your campaign and watch how the whole process moves you towards achieving it.
With that in mind, let’s see how to integrate more fans and followers into your social media efforts.
Create a win-win campaign for your audience
In a fast-moving information world largely due to social media explosion, more people are in the habit of jumping on a bandwagon that has the potential of becoming a major trend of the day. You can help your audience attain that satisfaction by giving them access to the spotlight through your business social gateways.
It’s fun the kind of responses a simple hashtag campaign can generate from social fans who see the opportunity of getting involved with your exceedingly large social circle. The good idea is to make the hashtag very catchy and easily memorize-able. This provides you easy tracking of the conversations as more people are joining in on your campaign.
Warby Parker went out of their way to motivate fans to come up with user-generated content that they could use in their marketing process. They introduced a free Home try-on service which ships five pairs to a person’s home allowing them to try on for five days. Then take pictures of themselves with the different glasses on and share it to their social media with the hashtag #WarbyHomeTryOn.
The campaign received huge responses from consumers as they get to show themselves in different looks and receive feedback on that from their social network. While Warby Parker gets their access to a ton of user-generated content they can use in marketing, with free advertising for their brand and products as well. It’s a win-win.
Crowdsource fan opinions
Getting fans to bear their thoughts in your business decision making is a great way to provide a sense of value and inspire their affinity to your brand. This can be a simple question about a certain project you are working on or ask their input on two identical products you are preparing for launch, among other related questions.
The opportunity to get involved in the next thing you are up to is a powerful lure to many fans. To make the process more fun and engaging, you can pick out two popular opinions and ask them to vote on which should emerge a winner. This is a great way to give authority back to your fans and make them feel valued.
Stitch Collective did a similar thing when they asked fans to submit their design choices for their bag. Designers from around the world trooped in with their design sketches while Stitch team reviewed their submissions. The team then selected 12 bag designs and created a voting contest on which to become a winner. The contest proved a huge success with close to 4000 votes under four weeks, and the potentials to reach 2.5 million customers.
Not surprising, the final product augured well with their customers as the winner’s design is now part of the Stitch Collective online store.
This is a simple way to keep people at the center of things in your business. Even if they don’t all end up becoming your customers, they will be more saddled to share or recommend your product to their friends.
Curate User Generated Content (UGC) using social contests
Social contests are a sure way to go if you want to experience the powerful engagement on social media that instills brand trust. In addition, contests create excitement and competition among participants, leading to consistent visits to your social profile.
The first thing is to determine your contest type, which will base around what you want to achieve with it, – your goal.
A simple sweepstakes contest is great if you are aiming to build an email list, – only what is required from entrants is to input their email.
But moving beyond sweepstakes, contests are also a huge way to curate user-generated content for your social media. That includes a ton of content that you can use in your brand website as well.
In this case, you can run a photo contest or an essay contest (depending on your content type) where participants are required to upload their content, and invite their friends to vote for them to win.
To inspire their creativity, you can give contestants the right to vote on the final content to choose as winner(s). This will guide against contestants manipulating the voting process to gain unfair advantage using the people outside the campaign.
Here is the critical one,
The prize you are offering to the winner is one of the first things to get in the bag quickly, because this has a way of shaping the whole project in the long run. To make an impact, you need to pick a right prize as well. This can be money, gift certificate, or a full year subscription into your product.
Tip: Keep the prize in relation to your business, in case you are offering something else other than your product. This will help you attract contestants who are genuinely interested in your business. Giving an iPhone out when your business caters to people in automotive industry isn’t going to attract the right contestants, right?
Man of Steel Facebook Contest is a great example of a contest that’s tailored towards the people who have some level of interest in a brand or service. Man of Steel is an upcoming Warner Bros film based on Superman character.
To create excitement and anticipation towards the launch, the company used photo contest to inspire for user-generated content. Entrants simply upload a photo of themselves depicting a Superman character. Immediately their photo is up, there is a voting element to allow people vote on each content.
Contestants can invite their friends to vote for them as well, thereby spreading the company brand even further. The winner is announced on a weekly basis which makes it an ongoing process.
Prize: Opportunity to get featured on the Man of Steel Facebook page as “fan of the week”.
Give your fans something to get creative
It can be anything, your product, similar products, or even an interesting riddle you have found on the web. Anything to get fans’ creative juice flowing is sure to have a positive response. Throwing in some humor to it, and it will amaze you how the viral effect of your social post is triggered.
People love to show their creative side especially when the subject on the table is a bit offbeat (that’s, it is not something that they see every day).
So when you find a brain teaser that you know will resonate with your fans, don’t hesitate to give them a chunk of it. Also, it’s a great way to drive a variety into your social posts while keeping fan engagement ever firmer.
Understand your social media timing
Timing is a key component of any social media implementation. But it should also be aware that post times vary considerably for individuals. For instance, you may have most of your Twitter followers to be business executives, managers, office workers…etc., that doesn’t guarantee you will have the best engagement when you schedule your post around common lunch time in the afternoon i.e. 2.00 PM.
When you factor in the time-zone, coupled the fact that a large portion of your fans also has other people who are competing for their attention around this time, it’s possible that you may not get the results as you have wished.
The diversity of social media landscape also tends to play a role in determining an outcome to a social media action, which makes a fixed outcome a distant possibility.
What you can do is to study the interactions on your posts over a period of time. If you combine that with a consistent post schedule and frequency, you will surely get an idea as to when to schedule more of your posts.
I have written a post before that talks about how an individual can determine his/her best posting times on social media, you can check it out, here. It’s not perfect, but you can use that as a starting point to unravel your own optimal posting times. It is easier to monitor your posts in few optimal hours in a day than doing that over a long 24-hour time.
Use a Call to Action
The power of Calls to Action is not limited to your website alone, and shouldn’t be. Considering that most of the posts on social media are lacking in this area, you can greatly improve your post engagement by telling your fans exactly what you want them to do. This can be a simple ask such as “please re-tweet”, “share your comment”, “sign up”, “please share”, etc.
You can’t just underestimate the psychology nudges that can come with a simple ask such as these. Only experience can tell you better on how these simple Calls to Action can impact your social post, you need to try using them to see.
Social fans are important to your business the way your customers are, that’s if there is any difference between the two. Considering how organic reach is in steady decline on major social platforms, you need to cultivate a quality relationship with your fans to keep your business top of the mind, using what I will call “inclusive social media”.
You can set a goal for your business before embarking on any social audience optimization to track and measure what you are getting in return in time and resources spent. One more thing to put in mind:
Now that you have been able to successfully integrate fans into your social media, what’s next! Surely not the end of the road. What if these people come to your website and can’t find a way to continue the excitement of the social media conversations?
You need to also provide an interactive space for fans on your website. After all, you should own your content, not social media.
In fact, integrating your website from the get-go will help you see how the whole thing moves you towards achieving your goal.
We have a number of free blog commenting systems that provide options to log in with a social account to post comments. Livefyre will even help you feed a social conversation into your website comments. Facebook Comments also provides a similar service.
But if you need an enterprise solution to actively engage your social fans on your website, Spot.im is one of the best services. This tool will help you create a sort of mini-social media on your website to activate discussions between you and your social fans right within the space you completely own. It’s a great option if you decide to go premium.
What about you? How will you rate your relationship with your social fans? What social audience optimization strategy are you using to prop up the fans’ love? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.