I often get asked what are the things you need to have in place to have social media success?
While the answer to this is vastly different for each person or company, the steps are virtually the same. The path to social media success can be broken down into three core steps, I’ll go in depth with each step here in this post but first I’ll share with you the key points I will cover. I also created a brief video overview below.
- There are three core steps to social success: Acquisition, Engagement, and Monetization
- To grow a fan base create unique offers for acquisition of fans and followers
- Content aggregation is not enough for engagement, create unique emotional based engagement concept that speak to your target market
- Monetization happens at different stages and only possible after you’ve done the proper engagement
- Emotions are the key to monetization
3 Steps to Social Enagement
I recently listened to a great interview Andrew Warner at Mixergy did with Rahim Fazal from Involver.
While they spoke specifically about Facebook fanpages I believe this transfers over to all forms of social engagement. Each one of these steps you should think about before and during your social engagement. I also suggest that you always be on the lookout for new ways to implement these three core elements of social media engagement.
Step 1 – Acquisition
Ask yourself what are the ways you are going to acquire your list, followers, or fans. This starts with coming up with unique and special strategies that drive people to join your lists, become a fan or follow you. Most people are familiar with having an opt-in form on your website but this step is a little trickier than that. It takes on a new dynamic when you look at social acquisition. You have to really think this through and experiment with ways that add value to your target market.
What type of unique content can you offer someone that is only available once someone has become a fan? One of the best ways to create an acquisition strategy is to come up with unique ways for people to be able to share and utilize your content.
Think of ways that you can create unique content or offerings only available to your Fans or followers.
A great example is given in the podcast in which Alicia Keys offered her new album a full week in advance to people who become fans of her on Facebook. So fans naturally had an incentive to become a fan.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service is launching a contest asking taxpayers how use their tax refund. The contest includes a “Big Check” page on Facebook. Now through April 10 using the special contest application on the “Big Check” page, fans can submit their stories and be entered for a chance to win a $3,000 big check. From April 1-15, fans of the “Big Check” Facebook page can vote to select a winner. The winner will be announced by May 3. You can view the page here.
Step 2 – Engagement
You can have the best acquisition strategy but if you don’t have engaged fans you really have nothing. To start ask yourself what are some ways you can engage your followers? Then go further, ask yourself what are ways you can emotionally connect with your fans or your target market?
In this step of engagement think how you can create a unique sense of culture. You, your business, or your location has a unique sense of culture. This is one of the reasons why people choose to do business with you. Make sure this culture or unique feel transfers over to your pages and following.
Celebrate Your Best Customers
Just about everybody likes to be recognized. Celebrate people that come in time and time again. Recognize people that engage with you or are your best clients or customers. Be connector of people, this is one of the powers of social media; use it to your advantage.
Keep in mind as well that only a few percentage of people will engage. There is a large percentage of people that will not add to the stream of conversation or engage you but are still engaged because they do follow what you do.
Take the tax service above. The engagement here is the submitting of stories on how people would use the money they are giving away. The next level of engagement is how these funds are won. It’s based on voting, this engages the people who have submitted a story on how they would use their big check. They have an incentive to promote their story, ask their friends to vote, and to promote not only the contest but the awareness of the company.
When this is done correctly it enables your followers or fans to really feel like they are on the inside track with you or your company. Just imagine how a fan of Alicia Keys feels when getting to listen to her full album a week before it hits Itunes or the music aisle.
Step 3 – Monetization
This is a tough one to nail down. Monetization is one of those things with social media engagement that happens on different levels and at different times. The first think you should think about is what is the typical engagement cycle. Or put another way… what is the length of time someone has to be following on average to turn into customer, client or prospect?
For instance a real estate agent who has a fan page. When does monetization come into play? Usually when someone is ready to sell or buy a house.
So the monetization has to take into consideration the touch points you have during the engagement cycle. This could last months or maybe even years. The goal here is that your touch points are driving this monetization to take place at a later date.
What about someone in a home based business? You give value, some more value, then even more value. In addition you come up with fun and unique ways to engage. Your monetization strategy doesn’t come until someone purchases your product or joins your business. Once again the cycle might be longer. It takes someone to take an action, usually respond to an email, a comment, or pick up the phone and call you.
Coupons are another great form of monetization. If you have a physical location or a localized business you can drive purchases with coupons. This is one of the main reasons consumers become friends, follow, or fans with brands or local businesses.
Offer unique coupons available only to your fans on Facebook or create unique offers to your followers on Twitter. Doing these types of offers instills a stronger connection with each individual channel of interaction.
Create a Store Front
If you have a physical product one of your monetization strategies can be to install a store front. For a good application check out a post I did on How to Create a Facebook Store. Your strategy will still contain the value content strategy. The big difference is typically it is obvious that you offer a product or service.
The one thing to keep in mind is that your monetization will be different and happen at different times across each social channel. You have to be on the look out on ways that you can drive revenue, increase sales, prospects or customers from these efforts. Monetization becomes a lot easier when you have an engagement audience. That’s why the first two steps are important for this step to be fully realized.
Bonus Step – Creating Emotional Connections
Consumers evaluate an offer—by which is mean a product, service, or experience deliberately created for the customer – by internalizing it and assigning it emotional value.
So in the engagement strategy above we talked about ways to engage your followers but also how to emotionally connect with them as well. This is an important point.
The way to maximize sales is to get consumers more emotionally devoted to what a company offers.
This is by far one of the best strategies for social engagement. During acquisition you have an unique opportunity to give a great first emotional connection. What types of things can you do to solidify that? Then in engagement you should cement these feelings. If you’ve incorporated your culture effectively this might be enough but find ways to go farther.
Social media engagement allows you to have multiple touch points on a permission basis. This allows you to the opportunity for additional ways to create an emotional bond.
Once you have an emotionally connected fan base your monetization strategy becomes that much easier. With the Alicia Keys example above, from a fans perspective they got the emotional high of listening to a new album a full week before it hit Itunes or the stores. Plus I’d reason that many of them got an additional connection when they shared this with friends. The emotion around discovery and being part of the few who got to hear it early.
How To Put This Into Practice
Take each step. Write down as many ways as you can think of to implement and put in place each step for you or y our business. Then break it down by channels.
For instance, how are you going to acquire fans on Facebook? How about your Twitter followers?
Once you have an audience what type of unique offers or content will you offer them. Keep in mind that there has to be a strong why and reason for people to follow you. Even more importantly there has to be a strong why for people to engage with you or your company.
Finally how are you going to turn these interactions into cash? Social media is powerful because it’s one of the few places that people give you permission on a continuous basis to add touch points or interactions. Use this to your advantage.
Finally, across all steps make sure you are creating emotion and enabling an emotional bond with your target market.