Define the Goals of Your Organization
Before you start to create and engage communities, you have to define your organization's goals by asking yourself the right questions.
What is your ultimate objective? To:
Influence your community with your brand?
Increase long-term sales by increasing brand awareness?
Increase short-term sales with communication stunts?
Provide effective customer service?
Prevent a crisis?
Support a common cause?
Develop your employer brand?
Or perhaps you have internal communication objectives? To:
Make your employees proud of their company, retain them, and have them be ambassadors of your employer brand?
Galvanize your employees around a specific subject, for example, change management?
For example, if you want to engage your community to support a common cause:
Your brand image will benefit.
You can prevent a crisis by highlighting your sincerity.
You will attract talent.
You will galvanize your employees.
All the positive externalities that you can imagine.
Use Social Media to Generate Short-Term Traffic
Generally, the shorter your social media campaign, the more product-oriented it is, and the more it will be perceived as pure advertising. You're mainly using the "media" aspect of social media.
It will probably include links to buy something, an address for an event, or a physical point of sale. You may offer contests with valuable prizes. In short, you will benefit from short-term traffic.
For example, the ad below drives traffic to their website by emulating the look of a Twitter upload. It appears to be an image collage; however, it is actually a clickable link. Therefore, when people attempt to click on what they believe is a single image, it opens up a website.
Use Social Media for Long-Term Engagement
Conversely, the longer your social media campaign, the more people look for the meaning behind your products or services, and the more exciting conversations there are. These then lead to a longer-lasting but slower conversion.
You use a broader palette of social media features: conversations, listening, humor, collaboration, expressing a complex idea, etc. You start to create an emotional attachment and may not even need a call to action.
Here are some ways to create an emotional attachment:
If you hold a competition, there is less pressure on the prize: recognition, exclusive meeting with managers, etc.
The links to your products/services may also include a dose of storytelling. No "Click here right away for insane promotions!" but rather "We made jam, sandwiches, and fruit juices with Olivier this weekend. With Olivier, with love, <3;"
You can also call for a conversation with open questions: "What do you think?" "How...?" "Why...?" "Tell us about your first...," etc. You'll naturally take part in the conversation.
You'll have to find the right moment to convert your community, engage them continuously, and then offer them a clear call to action (CTA). Always in a respectful way, with a value proposition. Because conversation ultimately leads to conversion.
This extra step takes time and energy, but it increases the effectiveness of your communication.
Aggressive or direct advertising messages are no longer wanted, causing AdBlock to become mainstream. Eleven percent of online users now have an ad blocker. In the United States, a third of 35-50-year-olds use one, as do 45% of 25-34-year-olds. Fifty-five percent of 16-24-year-olds do as well. And the biggest increase is among the over 60s: +30% in one year. The reasons include: retargeting (50%), the format is too invasive (40%), and the content is not original enough (28%).
For example, YouTube shares value-driven content on World Password Day. They can afford a long format (called a "thread" on Twitter) because they have been "verified" to keep their community engaged. They open up to the conversation, participate in it, and leverage one of their top creators' talents to draw people in.
Do your communications look more like YouTube or Parential?
The return on investment is much longer for YouTube than Parential. Each has a different business model, goals, and engagement.
Include a Feedback-Loop From Social Media to the Rest of the Company
Your social media team represents your organization within the community and your community within the organization. One does not go without the other.
It is necessary to educate people in your organization who are not familiar with the subject. They must understand the opportunities and obligations that an active presence on social media represents. If they know your issues, they will be able to make themselves available when necessary and contact you if an opportunity arises.
A very horizontal community approach even allows everyone to allocate the marketing tools previously mastered internally in companies.
For a limited time, Lay's hosted a contest called "Do Us A Flavor," asking participants to help create the newest potato chip flavor. Social media is influencing the product itself!
Radiohead let its fans download the album In Rainbows for free using the "pay-what-you-want" concept.
"Few people ended up downloading the album for free, but letting fans fix a price probably "warmed their hearts," which in turn prompted them to pay a fair price" (CBS News).
Lidl also allowed its Twitter community to lower the prices of its products for Christmas. The more someone tweets, the lower the price. The members create play-on-words around the Christmas products sold by the brand: lobster, raw ham, and the traditional Stollen German cake.
Burger King in France regularly engages its community by allowing it to choose the next restaurant's location. Here, the brand even personalized a restaurant for the person who wrote the most comments on Facebook.
Aside from this example, many young companies rely, in particular, on members of their community to open their first points of sale.
Any opinion, comment, or reaction affects the organization's image - good or bad. The community already has the power of communication. But the organization can also create content that engages the community.
For example, Mission Foods incorporated a contest into a sporting event campaign. They asked their community to vote for their favorite meal for a chance to win!
And finally, on the B2B side, highlighting positive customer testimonials goes a long way.
Is your organization agile and open enough for this type of vision? Can you (will you) drive this change?
Define your goals by asking the right questions about your company. What is the ultimate goal?
Commit to long-term relationships with your community. The shorter a social media campaign, the more "sales-y" it will appear.
Use a broader palette of social media features: (conversations, listening, humor, etc.) to provide value and create an emotional attachment.
You'll have to find the right moment to convert your community. Conversation leads to conversion down the line.
Social media has a strong impact on a company's marketing strategy (the product, the price, the place, and promotional tools).
Now that you have defined the purpose of your social media activities, it's time to develop a team and prepare a budget. Ready? Then meet me in the next chapter!