It’s the buzzword of the week- “engagement”. In regards to the world of social media, engagement refers to how people interact with one another, specifically with your business. Gone are the days of holding your consumers at arms length making way for new advertising campaigns aimed at bringing businesses into an era of developing branded company-wide personalities that can be related to on a much more intimate level that ever before.
But what does it all mean for your business? The first step is to understanding the psychology of social media trends.
Phone a friend…or Tweet them
81% of consumers receive advice relating to purchasing from friends and family on social networking sites. This tells us that when your customers are unsure of what they should buy, they look at what their friends are buying. Giving your customers a way to make wish lists and share their purchases with their social networks puts your products directly in the line of sight of customers struggling with purchase decisions of their own.
Reviews and Research
77% of of online shoppers use customer reviews to make their purchasing decisions. Companies like Amazon.com and CNET have proven to draw traffic for customers researching products they want to purchase. This is because we hold the opinions of specialists in high regard. Those who have already had experiences with a product are held in much higher esteem than those who are simply speculating. Instead of letting the big name companies get all of the traffic, creating a forum for product reviews brings the researching and the purchasing right to you.
For a Limited Time Only!
Just these words alone can mean the difference between making a purchase now, or never. Exclusivity is an old advertising tenant that has been used since the beginning of marketing. It is in our nature to assign greater value to resources that are in jeopardy of being depleted. Think about the lines at a gas station that run around the block after breaking news of a gas shortage. Creating your own demand is easy to do with your product, simply by creating a deadline for a discount. A whopping 77% of customers like getting special offers. Increase your purchases, and your traffic by offering exclusive discounts to customers who interact with your social media sites.
A friend of my friend’s is a friend of mine.
50% of shoppers have made a purchase based upon a recommendation from a friend on a social network. We instinctively try to emulate people we admire because it makes us feel more connected, builds social trusts and bonds. This is why celebrity endorsements are so highly sought after. Just drinking the same bottled water as Mark Zuckerburg makes me feel like I’m connected to him. Why not tap into the celebrities in a person’s life by offering ways for your customers to share news, trends, and deals from your business with their social networks?
Consistency creates loyalty
Everyone has that one brand they always trend towards, whether it’s Coke or Pepsi, Bounty or Charmin, they will pay more to have the brand they trust. That’s because when people are faced with uncertainty they prefer options that are consistent with their past behaviors and beliefs. 62% of shoppers are brand loyal. Build this trust by maintaining a consistent web presence, and allowing your customers to engage in open dialogue with your company. Customers will pay more for the brand they trust.
Pay it Forward
Every month over 25 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook. Lots of this content is advice, tips, and tricks people want to share. Whether or not they are invited, we have an innate desire to repay favors in order to maintain social fairness. Giving your customers a heads up on sales, deals, or even updates on how your company is getting involved with charities, is a great way to use this repayment desire in your business’ favor.
There’s no secret that social media is full of potential for your company. Tapping into the mentality of your consumer base is the first step to creating a plan of attack that will increase your traffic, and your sales.
It’s no secret that social media has created an entirely new marketing category within businesses. Social media has the ability to permeate into every avenue of a consumer’s life providing companies with an abundance of opportunities for brand advertising. The rules, however, are far different than the traditional advertising campaigns of yesteryear. Experts suggest taking an inside-out approach. By creating a fun working environment for your employees, through special events, or getting involved with charitable organizations, and uploading photos of these events, you can introduce customers to your brand’s personality. Showing the many faces of your employees goes a long way towards humanization. Since Facebook has no delineation between people’s pages and company pages, it’s becoming smarter to expose your company on a personal level.
Many companies are giving their customers the opportunity for daily interaction with their brands, by engaging directly with them. Starting discussions about relevant trending topics, offering up polls where customers can vote, and giving the most loyal page patrons moderator privileges are a few of the ways to increase views, and encourage returns.
One of the most important tenants here is to ensure your presence. Being actively involved in social media invites crucial dialogue with the public. Use this space to address concerns, and own up to any mistakes your company may make. Showing the public that you are interested in how they feel about their experiences with your product can mean the difference between a loyal customer and a one-time purchase. Recently, on Saladworks.com’s Facebook page, a customer complained of poor service she received in one of the local stores. The guest relations team seized the opportunity to communicate how seriously they take these matters. Not only did they enter into an almost instant dialogue with the customer herself, but they publicly took responsibility and detailed how they would rectify the situation. Quick resolution speed, and a sincere concern for the consumer’s experience turned a negative comment into a display of Saladworks.com’s desire to please their public, which helps not only retain the customer in question, but humanizes a company who is not only willing to admit the mistake, but also compensates for it.
Another useful idea is to reach out to key individuals within your community and offer them a personalized service. According toAlan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company. Mulally personally invited a man who had posted on their Facebook page about searching for a new SUV to a special test drive of the company’s new Edge Crossover for a man who had posted on their Facebook page about searching for a new SUV. Not only did this convince this person to purchase the vehicle, but news about his experience spread quickly throughout his highly connected social network.
Social media is having as great an impact on lifelong brand integration as television did over 50 years ago. Companies can’t afford to miss out.
Inspiration from: mashable.com
I’m sure you’ve noticed the big change over the weekend. As of March 30, Facebook has ported all of it’s pages into the new Timeline design, including business pages. While there are plenty of people who aren’t happy about the change, those who are business minded know how to accept, and most importantly, adapt to change. Properly used, Timeline has been shown to increase engagement by 46% on average. What does it mean for your business?
Unlike the old Facebook pages which took up to 2 days to provide insights and analytics, Timeline’s tools provide information within 5-10 minutes. New or enhanced metrics include virality, people talking about engagement, friends of friends and reach. What this does is give businesses the ability to monitor the popularity of their posts, the influence of their page, how far their posts are travelling, and even allows for adjustments to be made immediately. Tracking virality (the percentage of people who saw the page and “talked about it”) is now easy to do, which can help sellers tap into what’s being discussed amongst their fanbase and post accordingly.
Content, content, content
What is the most effective way to drive traffic to a storefront? Fresh content. Sure, it takes more work than the old Facebook Fanpages since Timeline encourages sellers to post new content frequently, but creating a daily posting plan rich with opportunities for customers to interact, through polls or thoughtful updates which engage the customer to participate in a discussion, will help businesses increase exposure.
Commonly known advertising tenants tell us that one of the best way to reach customers is through visual imagery (pictures and videos). With fully customizable features, like the 850 x 315 pixel cover, and 111 x 74 pixel picture icon (located just below the cover), businesses can focus on expressing their core brand message. Profile information has been moved from the left of page to the front and center, and have gained 310 pixels, which businesses can use to display more products or larger images in the most visually optimal spots on the page.
The real message here is that, while changing over to something new might be a hassle at first, Facebook’s Timeline provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to integrate themselves into the Facebook experience in ways that not only promote their products and services, but also create a social space where consumers can return for thoughtful interactions. Your business actually has the chance to become a regular Facebook “friend” for the fans, which will increase customer retention, and perhaps even opportunities for conversion (linking someone from Facebook to your own site where they can choose to become a member).
While it seems as though converting your model might take a little getting used to, the numbers indicate that it is a worthwhile investment. Some of the businesses involved in the preliminary launch of Timeline reported an increase in engagement by as much as 161%. The real question is, can you afford not to use Timeline?
Is Facebook old fashioned or advanced technology? Watch this video to find out.
Am I not right? Your thoughts?