If you’ve invested in social technology and you’re wondering how to get more customers (and non-customers!) to participate, read on.
A lot of marketers have connected the dots to customer care, and that’s great. Customer care and the many interactions that occur—questions, complaints, new ideas, upsells and renewals--generate a lot of the conversations that circulate on the social web. Those conversations, in turn, drive (or impede) conversion. Savvy marketers have therefore connected customer care to the more typical marketing efforts that they are directly responsible for, in part to manage these conversations.
All which leads to the question: if TV, radio, print, digital…can be used to drive awareness for products and services, what drives awareness for your social platform? You can build it, but how do you get them to come?
If you’ve invested in a support community, or in an ideation (innovation) site you really want your customers (and potential customers) to know about this. Bill stuffers, email and the like are useful, as are direct links from your website. All of these will, just as any form of promotion, generate traffic. But there is still more: connect your engagement software to your community: when someone asks a question on Twitter, scan your social customer support in real time and see if the answer already exists. If it does, introduce the person asking the question to the person or people that have created an accepted—meaning, vetted by the community—answer. Seeing this kind of content on a first visit means it’s quite likely that that person will then join the community. Do this at scale and you’ll build community membership, which as you’ll recall was the original challenge posed.
And don’t overlook traditional media. We've all seen the TV spots that end with the come-on "to see more, go online..." Take that idea, and expand on it: advertise your community directly on TV. Fox Sports Australia is doing just that for its "Crowd" community with a series of spots entitled "What Is the Crowd." The spots directly promote its community. The message is, "Love hanging out with friends while enjoying sports? Visit the Crowd!"
The great thing about the Fox Sports Australia spots is that the campaign is built on traditional media and used to promote an online (community) experience. What a testament to the mainstream nature now of social media, and what a smart way to promote it.
Put the above together and you’ve got a set of tools, ranging the simple and predictable—advertise on social to bring traffic to your social app—to the more powerful direct connection of customer with questions to customers with answers, regardless of the originating digital channel. And finally, go with what you know: promote your social presence using TV, radio and print.
How are you building awareness for your social platforms? Let us know in comments below.
Dave is the VP of Social Strategy at Lithium. He is the author of best-selling book "Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day," as well as "Social Customer Experience: Engage and Retain Customers Using Social Media". He is also a regular columnist for ClickZ and a frequent speaker at industry conferences.
Dave co-founded Social Dynamx, acquired by Lithium in 2012, and prior to joining Lithium, he was a product manager with Progressive Insurance and a systems analyst with NASA | Jet Propulsion Labs.
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