We have been looking at social strategy for a number of clients recently – and the news is – Social is no longer something that is coming – it is well and truly here – and needs to be included as a key part of your traffic generation, conversion and customer retention strategy (ie it touches every customer facing aspect of your business!).
WHY SOCIAL IS SO IMPORTANT
Social in Traffic Generation
In order to get more people onto your site you need greater visibility. As an increasing number of consumers use social networks as a search tool (consciously) or a browse tool (less consciously) having a presence on these platforms, and getting the users of these platforms to like/share/bookmark your site or blog content can provide inbound links to your site.
So far so simple – this is about as developed as most social strategy gets – but there is more to think about.
When you produce content you need to be able to manage that content across all your social platforms, and optimise content for each platform. You should start to treat social as a distinct sales channel – and in looking at a sales channel you want to focus on providing targeted and immediate responses to triggers (in the same way that adwords provide a targeted response to search queries) – the essence of this is that content is not ‘Fire and Forget’ but something to be managed across a lifespan.
Social in Site Conversion
The big item here is TRUST. By Trust we mean that the customer needs to trust your band and its promise (and its relevance to them) and believe what you say about the products on offer and the service associated with them. If the customer’s friends recommend something then they are more likely to trust the brand themselves, and therefore to buy from that brand. Failing that, the ability for potential customers to see any third party content alongside your product will help with their perception of your impartiality – and that is the first step to trust – now you only have to encourage customers believe what YOU say!
Social in Customer Retention
Having followers from social channels enables you to disseminate information easily and keep the dialogue going. We are all adept at marketing to newsletter subscribers – we should treat Social subscribers in a similar manner – they have given their permission to be marketed to – albeit in a lower impact manner. Whatever else they have left a footprint that can generate information and actionable insights.
HOW TO INCREASE SOCIAL PERFORMANCE
1. Give your content virality
Remember why people share. Make the sharer look good/clever/sexy/smart/cool/reassured as by sharing something the sharer expects some social benefit. When I share an item it’s to make me look good – not anyone else – so make sure you allow that. A 2010 study by the New York Times found the “most shared articles” tended to fall into one of four categories: awe-inspiring, emotional, positive or surprising.
2. Make it easy to browse and share
Sounds obvious but it is surprising how often this is overlooked. Make sure you give the sharer facilities to share both the whole article/post or just a single image. Ensure share buttons are always visible, with shortcuts to the most commonly used.
3. Measure & optimise
The old adage goes ‘If you can’t Measure it then you can’t manage it’ – and this is as true with social networks as with anything else. By knowing how effective individual posts are you can ensure that you learn from each one and, if you are operationally able, means that you can optimise each piece of content throughout its lifetime, and promote it to the demographics most suited to it.
4. Add personality & credibility
Give the bloggers credit by setting up individual pages for bloggers. This allows readers who identify with a particular style of content or subject matter to subscribe directly to that author. This allows you to create ambassadors for your brand This also can aid Google AuthorRank, which is gaining importance in how content is indexed.