Research on the effects of social media marketing has shown that one of the most effective social media marketing strategies to increase sales and customer loyalty, is by generating customer participation – getting the input and engagement of potential clients in your campaigns. There are many examples of successful use of this – from National Geographic’s campaign to have your photo featured, to Heinz’s “Which bean are you?” quiz – but getting it right can be tricky.
Below are 4 social media marketing strategies proven to engage followers in your campaign
1. Contests: free for all
Everyone loves a good competition. Contests are one of the mainstays of brand promotion. They’ve been around almost as long as consumerism. And although the days of clipping entries out of magazines are long over, they still provide a great source of publicity and future revenue.
All the more so, since it can be so easy. There’s nothing more simple than filling your email address into a Facebook form. Users love this – no hassle, something-for-nothing opportunity.
An important caveat to keep in mind, is that the prize should not be arbitrary. Rather than giving away an iPad, give away your product or a service that relates to your brand. The opportunity of winning actually increases the participant’s desire to own the product; and the winners will feel an increased loyalty to whatever it is that you’ve given them.
But there are more effective, if more involved, types of social media contests…
2. Contests: have an impact
Even better than receiving a prize, is having your means of expression appreciated and used by the company. This method, too, has been used for decades – think back to competitions to design the new logo for big brands – and services like Instagram are perfect for this format. Offer to feature followers’ images on your website, or simply to give shout outs on their social media pages. Tons of companies are doing this, and are reaping the rewards. Customer loyalty is increased, leading to current and future sales.
Most of the time, what you have to say is not what matters. Your followers are far more likely to appreciate their own point of view being shared than that of your PR manager. A great way to facilitate this is to start discussions, where you propose a question and let your followers battle it out in the comments, with minimal participation on your side.
There are two types of discussions which may come in handy:
Suggestions for your products
Ask customers what they’d like to see your company doing. Even if you have no intention or capability of putting their suggestions to work, they’ll appreciate the chance you’ve given them to have their say, and may get themselves excited at the possibilities.
Healthy debate around trending topics
Start a discussion about a topic that is trending in social media, the news, or even politics. Be careful with this. Try to ensure it has something to do with your brand and it doesn’t come across as click-baiting. Also, don’t use a topic that is overly contentious. Mentioning the Israel-Palestine conflict may generate loads of responses, but you’re inviting negativity, hatred, and possible accusations of bias onto your page – it’s a can of worms you don’t want opened.
4. Just plain fun
Earlier, we mentioned Heinz’s “Which bean are you?” quiz – one example of highly successful use of customer participation. In just two weeks, the campaign reached over 11 million people, garnered 22,000 likes, and 10,000 shares.
What was on offer?
Nothing tangible. Just a quick, fun “personality” quiz. Use similar quizzes and games to engage your followers. Everyone appreciates a simple distraction from the drudgery of the work day, and this makes it one of the most successful social media marketing strategies.
So, if you want to increase sales, customer loyalty, and followers, make use of one of these methods in your social media marketing campaigns. If done right, you’ll see rapid results.