A few short years ago, social media was new and marketers were cautious about the medium. Dollars were often applied to this channel on a testing basis.
Now social media marketing is regarded as an established channel that can drive both loyalty and purchase. However, while most brands likely see the importance of social participation, it is sometimes difficult to determine what the right moves are to take. Establishing a social presence requires execution of established best practices that garner credibility and trust from your audience. Driving response is achieved through investment in key action-based tactics.
The universal tenets that should be followed by all direct marketers to create a meaningful social presence are reciprocity, relevancy and commitment. Reciprocity is the most fundamental characteristic of any social communication. Simply put, reciprocity implies a two-way relationship of asking and telling, speaking and listening, acting and reacting with your customers.
When someone chooses to listen to you, or to follow you, they do so with an expectation that you will cover a topic that is relevant to them. Digression too far from that expectation will result in damage to your credibility and lost audience.
Being clear, honest and precise creates transparency, something that has become critical for companies who want to establish trusting relationships with consumers. However, this can be difficult, particularly for large organizations and brands. It is advisable to communicate as much information as you can, and don’t force your audience to refer to additional resources to find out what you are capable of sharing with them yourself.
Commitment is also a crucial ingredient. All too often, companies claim they’re “social” simply because they have a YouTube channel or because they have set up a group page on Facebook. Problem is, that fan page may have been created six months ago, and no one has touched it since or it is updated and monitored only sporadically. Being social requires an ongoing commitment and regular investment of time.
With these tenets in place, there are three specific tactics that can be leveraged to drive measurable action in the space.
1. Interact. Augment e-mail and direct mail outreach with daily interaction with your audience in social channels. Also, enable sharing of your content – such as e-mails, blog posts and articles – through “share buttons” that will enable your customers to share that content on social networks.
2. Advertise. Leverage what you already know. Advertising in the social media space is designed to drive action, and it’s measurable. Social media ads might include Facebook engagement ads and LinkedIn ads. There is also search marketing. Repurposing these ads into a social environment can drive social acquisition or e-mail conversion.
3. Segment. Recognize, segment and engage customers who are social media users. Identify your CRM database customers in media portals and reach out to their preferred social networks. There are ways to integrate social media marketing into an organization’s broader CRM strategy by aggregating public information to create a more personalized experience.