By Chuck Sink Subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.
Engaging customers and potential customers in social media is very tricky and generally requires giving something. Let’s keep this concept blunt and simple. Nobody cares about your company or the success of your business. They have neither obligation nor desire to share your company message and be your loyal brand steward unless they will benefit from doing so. When visiting your business pages, people are not thinking: How can I help this guy get rich? Instead they’re thinking: What will I get out of this? So before posting, sharing content or promoting your page, always ask yourself: What’s in it for them?
People are on Social Media mostly for 4 reasons – the 4 E’s of social media engagement: Ego, Entertainment, Education and Enrichment. Companies have to feed those needs and desires or they will be ignored in this space. When interacting with Likes (Friends), Connections, Followers, Circles, Fans, etc. you’re really networking with them online and you need to bring something to the table or you’ll be thought of as just another self promoter or corporate advertiser. So what are you willing to give your potential brand advocates that they will appreciate and want to share with their friends? Contests and giveaways work well for consumer and retail businesses.
Exhibit A: One of our clients, a furniture store, took 2 years to get 200 Facebook followers. Most of their posts consisted of advertising messages and nobody interacted with the page. Then we worked with them to design a custom landing page based on a substantial giveaway contest – a recliner chair was given away each week for one month to a randomly picked Facebook friend just for Liking their page. In 3 weeks they shot up to over 500 Likes. Page interactions increased 1700 percent! This promotion combined Enrichment with Ego. The store publicly congratulated winners and thanked new Likes by name. Viral reach exploded and customers on the showroom floor are now talking about how they Liked the business on Facebook and told their friends. The page comments from real customers are overwhelmingly positive. That’s word-of-mouth on steroids!
Social media is about online networking more than anything else. The same principles apply as when meeting people face to face. You need to share ideas, develop relationships and nurture friendships. The best B2C (business-to-consumer) brands on Facebook interact with consumers in a way that feels one-on-one to them. Coke, Starbucks, Oreo, Redbull, Converse, Skittles and Playstation are among the most Liked brands on Facebook. Check out their pages and see for yourself how well they engage consumers.
When dealing with B2B (business-to-business) social media, LinkedIn is a great forum to share ideas, best practices and connect with like minded businesspeople. Twitter is a world of real time discussions in countless categories. It’s a wellspring of ideas and fresh information. It’s also an amazing search engine for online conversations surrounding narrow and broad topics alike. Facebook is a great connector of people to share one-on-one or group dialog. Its potential reach is enormous!
Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, biznik, blogs… There are so many platforms today. They all keep us linked and grow our networks, leading ultimately to profitable relationships so long as we stick with the 4 As & Ps of social media; You need to be:
Attractive; Position value.
Alert; Pay attention.
Accessible; Permit dialog.
Be social when attempting to grow your businesses using social media. Your friends and followers are just like you and me. Remember those 4 Es. We all have Egos and love to be recognized. Everyone enjoys Entertainment. Our inquisitive minds seek Education. For ourselves and our families we want Enrichment. How will your business feed those desires online using the social media platforms freely available to you?