My most insightful nugget from the 2012 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago is that by next year, your obligatory presence on Facebook won’t move the meter when search engines rank your brand’s social engagement. While there may be grumbling in the trenches about taxed resources and social media ghost towns, search companies continue to woo top 500 brands and beyond to further engage customers through various social media platforms. It’s an interesting juncture. While we hear and understand the drowning in posts like Are Social Media Sites Becoming Too Numerous and Too Complex or What’s the Future of Google Plus, the reality is that staying engaged continues to lead to financial reward. How can your brand become more involved with customers? Explore these ideas with your Marketing VP:
I had the pleasure of meeting Justin Yoshimura, the 23 year-old founder of 500 Friends. Actually, I spotted Ben Kirshner, the CEO of Elite SEM, after his talk and asked him about social engagement in the next year. He walked me across the hall to the booth where 500 Friends was exhibiting. There I met the up and coming, third time business owner, Mr. Yoshimura. His concept is simple; develop a loyalty program that engages your customers and keeps them returning- even during your off-season.
Encourage customers to linger on your site. Attract them with gaming options via your brand’s social media accounts. Fanplayr is an upstart company that engages gamers who visit your site. Choose the game you want to offer. It rewards customers with coupons and loyalty incentives, while providing your company with analytics.
Engage with Product Videos
With few competitors in their space, Expo Communications, Inc gives brands access to real-people product recommendations via video.
“EXPO members earn points, redeemable for great gear, by voicing their honest opinions about products and sharing consumer experiences in video with the rest of the world.”
People like to hear what real people have to say. This company’s been around awhile and knows their niche.
Call those customers to action. Check out Viewbix, which adds content and apps over videos. Viewbix boasts that “more than 20% of the viewers who watch a Viewbix video click on the call to action or engage with at least one of the apps inside the player.”
At a Google cocktail party, we brainstormed a few Google Hang-Out ideas with attending reps. Alter these ideas to fit your brand’s unique needs and you’ll begin to harness the power of Hangouts.
- Host a weekly chat or monthly “state of the union” with your loyal customers via hangouts.
- Create a hangouts contest for best uses of your products.
- Offer incentives for friends who invite new customers to the hangouts. Give away coupons or prizes.
- Offer a negative feedback session and address customer complaints with a seasoned customer service specialist leading the conversation.
- Use hangouts to discuss new product or service concepts.
- Tweet, Facebook, and blog about your hangout conversations.
- Host sessions at different times- evenings and weekends, as well as mornings or afternoons during weekdays.
There are so many ways to engage customers. Remember to connect your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, My Space, You Tube, and other social media accounts to the efforts. Keep your content marketing creative, interesting, and worth your customer’s time and they will engage your brand beyond the thumbs up’s.