In many ways the growth of social media has created a divide, between those on the social media side who look at the follows and likes as the numbers to follow, while actual business as a whole has been slow.
On the other side are the marketers, who see social media as unproven simply because they keep trying to prove it using clicks and conversions, the direct marketing world of problem/solution. That does not fit into the world of social media, so they for the most part ignore it as unproven.
As a follow up to Part I, Social Media Conversion: From Pleasure to Business, let’s outline the 6 basic methods for generating traffic from social media, the world of business, to a buying decision, the world of problem and solution. These are intended as a general outline, with some practical steps to take. Here’s a quick video overview:
Discussion: create an active discussion on social media by taking a topic of interest, a problem your product solves, and talk about your experience learned from the usage of your product. Encourage others to discuss and test out what they really are interested in then:
Drive them to the discussion for a specific period of time, to discover answers, suggestions, and get feedback from the audience.
- Share your findings, the top comments, and use this to connect with leading experts – invite them in personally to share their opinion, and promote them in the discussion.
- Put a call to action at the bottom and sides of the discussion, if people want to know more about this, they can either sign up for your email list, or visit your site. Tie the call to action into the problem being asked.
- Promote your findings on your site, and invite people who participated, at the end of the discussion (set a time deadline if possible) to go explore the findings at your site.
- Make your product the center of the discussion, not about the product but of experiences learned from the product. After the discussion, you’ve connected them to your product via the discussion, and can invite them to explore further by tying into the problems brought up in the discussion, and at your site show how your product solves them.
- Create a telephone call or webinar to summarize the findings and invite people to register via email during the discussion, then email them and drive them back to your site.
Contest: get people to compete for a prize, that prize being your product or service. Use likes, +1’s, and hashtags to both generate votes, and get people involved. Be sure the contest has an ending on a specific date and then:
- During the whole contest explain what the winner will get, your product or service, and if possible add in other products and services so you can get more promotions.
- Center the contest on the experience your product brings to life; anchor the contest around your product and make it fun, so people can compete for the prize by taking certain actions (and don’t get them to spam their friends).
- Pick out certain competitors during the process and feature them, especially those that are rising to the top, as well as up and comers showing heart. People love to see their own names, and will tell others to get activity.
- Make the winning announcement an event at your web site, and before giving the prize give a description of your product/service. Make it exciting, use webinars if possible and video, and at the end give everyone who competed and voted a way to get the product or service at a special rate.
Rewards: While used mostly as a points system, there are many ways to get rewards into social media. Virtual currency is one term, and virtual currency can mean literally likes, positive votes, or your own points system adding up to currency. This is an ongoing way to generate traffic, with redemption of rewards happening away from social media and at your site.
- One of my favorite sites with a rewards conversion process is PheromoneTalk.com, a site that unlike it’s competition, who are focused more on the product’s results in a market full of shady characters, do something brilliant.
- When you register, you gain rewards points that can be put towards your purchase. And when others see you register, the first few people who reply, and give you an honest recommendation of the best product to buy, and make you feel welcome, gain rewards points.
- Instead of a pitchfest, they build community where everyone gets rewards just for joining, redeemable as discounts on the initial purchase, and those who help build the community can earn more rewards and more discounts. By keeping the quality of the community going by encouraging positive acts of welcoming people in, the business uses rewards to make sure its members are happy, and they share product tips because they love the product, and that activity is tied into their next purchase.
Sweepstakes: this is one of the easiest social media promotions to do, and it just means that you win by luck, so people go for the prize.
- The audience participation is limited, with either specific activity leading up to more entrances into the sweepstakes, or encouraging people to refer friends for more participation.
- Like a contest, you announce the winner and make the whole thing explore the product or service you offer. The problem with this method is that people are often more loyal to winning the prize than really becoming buyers, because there is no competition, just luck.
Votes/Review: Encourage people to vote and/or review issues related to your product or service. This encourages the wave of social media pundits and experts to share their opinion, and seek the best to put in what they think. Anchor it around your product, or simply to build relationships.
- For example, we once had a mom’s blog that was opening, so we started the first, viral voting blog voting for the best Mom’s sites on the Internet. People came in and were encouraged to vote AND state what they loved about that specific site. Each site had its own fans who were invited by other fans to vote, and we tallied the vote twice a day by hand instead of having an automatic counter on the site.
- Over 100,000 visitors and 32,000 votes were registered within a week, allowing a follow up campaign to announce who were the ones voted best Mom’s sites. These became partners for future promotions.
- Interesting learning; the people running the vote decided it would be a week, but after a week the momentum was just getting started, yet they felt they had to shut it down. Had they extended the deadline by a few weeks, this could easily have brought a half million visitors and over 100,000 votes. Don’t stop a live, viral campaign when it gets started, and don’t be afraid to extend the deadline because of demand. Let the audience control!
These are just a few examples of the many ways to get the people involved, controlling, and participating, which is the goal of any social media campaign. Behind it all is your product or service, and each one of these should become an experience of that product or service.
Anchor in people to the emotional issues, the ability to voice their opinion good/bad/indifferent, and most important, adapt it to the seasons of your product. Retailers should do these during the holiday seasons, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day, the top holidays for retailers, because that is when people buy.
What have you seen work converting from social media? Let me know any questions you have below and we’ll be glad to answer them with you.