How the Network Effect Can Turbocharge Your Marketing
Any marketing campaign you launch today, in any channel, should leverage the power of social media. Whether it’s a new product or service, or a special sale or offer, you must amplify your message beyond traditional media (TV, catalog, traditional e-mail, and paid search) by asking your fans and followers to spread the word. The key to campaign planning is integration across media channels, online and off.
“My goal is to further push a digital innovation agenda through greater linkages between owned, paid and social media, while also scaling up our mobile marketing efforts,” says PepsiCo’s Shiv Singh. “In this world, social media is at the heart of everything that we do digitally.”
Advocacy and Social Marketing Platforms
Social campaigns, integrated with other digital and traditional advertising, are some of the most exciting initiatives happening in marketing and business today. Consumers hold the keys to your success, and they’ve shown they will reward the truly remarkable campaign ideas—by responding enthusiastically and endorsing them to friends. And they will punish the unremarkable ideas by responding with a great, big yawn or, worse, by ridiculing them.
New York–based Buddy Media was founded in 2007 and bought by Salesforce in 2012. The software is now integrated into the Salesforce “Marketing Cloud” product suite. Buddy Media is a leading social media marketing platform, and it’s an especially compelling choice if your company is already using Salesforce.
Social Annex bills itself as a “one stop social platform,” combining refer-afriend, social expressions, social discovery, social engagement, contests, sharing, discovery, and loyalty tools. The Los Angeles–based company serves mostly smaller brands, like 4inkjets, Dollar Days
Social Annex charges a flat monthly fee based on your monthly unique visitor traffic, so there’s no disincentive to mounting lots of campaigns as there might be with an a la carte pricing model.
Similar to Extoled, Social Twist’s specialty is “social referrals,” also known as refer-a-friend or tell-a-friend programs. Social Twist has a roster of blue-chip clients, including Sara Lee, Intel, Lysol, Barnes & Noble, Pet’s Coffee & Tea, and Coca-Cola.
Contests and Voting
Many brands have had great success with contests. But contests do have their minuses as well as pluses. On the plus side, requiring your entrants to submit something—a video, a piece of artwork, an essay—engages them creatively and emotionally with your brand and underscores the cause or purpose of your promotion.
On the downside, many brands and agencies will tell you that the extra consumer effort required in a contest always depresses response. Assuming you do sufficient promotion and have some fan base to start with, you might reasonably expect 30,000 entries to a simple, random-winner sweepstakes. If you require submission of creative work or some other time-consuming contest application, expect to depress response tenfold.
Facebook app development and tab development lie at the very heart of successful social media campaign strategy (see sidebar above). Custom tabs enable marketers to engage their audiences with interactive games, sweepstakes, contests, and more. Tabs also provide the platform for collecting fan data (such as sweepstakes sign-ups, e-mail newsletter opt-ins, and inquiries), which allows you to maintain a direct relationship—and ultimately convert leads to customers.
The campaigns I’ve explored here run the spectrum—from grassroots efforts to big-budget extravaganzas, from charitable campaigns to sales efforts. What they have in common is that they’re tailored to the emotions, priorities, and situations of the ordinary folks who make up our social media fan bases. Whether your fans are motivated by exclusive discounts, a lavish prize, an addictive game, or the chance to do some good in the world, the campaign strategy is much the same.