Companies aren’t trusted, brands aren’t trusted, and nor are your executives. People trust each other, and now they have the tools to communicate with each other using social technologies and mobile with or without brands involved.
In the distant past, products and services were associated with people rather than with organizations. The qualities and values brought to the marketplace by individuals — tradesmen, shopkeepers, builders, tavern owners – were as much personal attributes as they were professional ones. One of the most fascinating aspects of the digital media revolution is the way in which the empowerment of the individual is changing the very concept of brand.
Companies today need to build and communicate a likable brand personality through the “individuals” in the company. Social media, given its casual nature and emphasis on authenticity, is a great opportunity to continue to leverage this brand personality as a differentiator. The question is how do you use all of this to move the needle?
6 Tactics to Leverage Social Media WOM Promotions:
1. Start by Engaging in Non–Self-Serving Conversation
“Social media is well, social, so you want to do things that have no obvious ROI, like having a conversation. And if you’re half-decent at conversation, you know not to talk about yourself the whole time. People are pretty good at detecting when someone is trying to sell them something, and if that’s how you’re using social media, people won’t engage. Find fun ways that aren’t blatantly self-serving to talk to your community.” Andrew Mason, Groupon founder and CEO
2. Integrate Online and Offline Advertising
Social marketing allows a business to extend their offline sales pitch. Including your Facebook Page or blog URL in offline ads act as social proof, inviting potential consumers to see your community and increase trust in your business. Not only can integrating online and offline advertising help the conversion process, but it can also help build your community.
3. Use Multimedia
Multimedia can break down the faceless business-to-consumer sales flow and make your company appear friendlier. Use videos and images to show that your business is fun, you care about your employees, and most importantly, that you care about your customers.
4. Include Contests and Discounts
One way to excite the community is to collectively do something to create a contest or offer an exclusive discount. Not only does a contest build buzz organically but if contestants need to, for example, publish an article that gets the most comments in order to win, the contest itself becomes viral. Discounts are also a great way to connect with your community. By giving exclusive coupons to your social community, you’re rewarding and reminding them that you are not only a brand to engage with, but also a brand to buy from.
5. Stop Spamming.
6. Stay the Course.
Sure there are videos that go viral, contests that attract a lot of buzz, and Facebook pages that get a lot of fans. But what comes after those efforts? After the tools change (and they surely will) how will social media fit into the company’s overall strategy and help it reach long-term goals? Smart companies look at the long-term. Once you have created the community, listen to it. Doing so will help build customer trust and loyalty.
Many businesses have already established a presence in social media, whether it’s a Facebook page or a LinkedIn profile or a YouTube channel. But it is important to remember that presence alone is inert; the purpose of social media is to dialogue and engage. Creating a basic social media presence is easy enough, getting your community to actually do something is more difficult. Taking advantage of these strategies can help you build your community, make your marketing more effective, and incentivize buying
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