Converting likes into sales: Social media tips to get your customers talking
If there’s anything that will define this generation from the next, it will be our role as pioneers of the social media wave. Defying early predictions, our obsession with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and the like has gone beyond a short-lived fad. Apart from its impact on our personal lives, social networks have also changed the way we do business.
With its ease of use and inherent ability to amplify a message, social media has quickly become the preferred medium for marketing small businesses. The only challenge is that it is still fairly new—so much so that even experts can’t agree on a single formula to reach viral status.
So instead of trying to come up with a one-sized fits all approach, let’s take a closer look at the internet’s most viral posts to figure out how your business can replicate their success.
The Ice Bucket Challenge
From politicians to movie stars, the ice bucket challenge is a prime example of how going viral can help you achieve a goal. In Australia alone, the challenge raised over $3 million dollars in research funding to find a cure for a nerve disease called ALS. This virtual game of tag dared people to record a video to pledge a donation to charity, or suffer through a bucket of ice and water being dumped over their heads.
Key takeaway: Choose a channel that fits your brand’s goals.
For their purpose, it made sense to focus on social networks where video is more dominant such as YouTube. It gained most of its momentum on Facebook simply because the network makes it easy to tag new participants and host the videos within the site. When it comes to starting your own social media campaign, it’s best to identify your marketing goals and choose the channel that best serves it.
Look at the demographics of your market and find out which sites they are already on. It simply makes sense for a professional photographer to have an Instagram account, or for a B2B company to focus on LinkedIn. You don’t need to be on 5 to 6 accounts all at once. Start with one or two and grow your following from there.
‘The Dress’ Debacle
When it comes to impact, nothing has baffled the internet more than the ‘Yellow or Blue Dress’ mystery. Millions shared the colour-changing image to see who saw the dress differently—yellow and white or blue and black. Whichever group you belong to, you must admit that this post was one of the biggest viral successes in history.
Key takeaway: Always start a conversation.
Marketing campaigns are all about building and nourishing a community. Save the hard sell for your website—focus on fun and engagement. Your goal is to create content that your audience won’t scroll past. Remember to let your customers to do the talking, and reply to comments to keep the conversation going.
Start by looking at your existing content and repurposing them for social media. You can turn a comparison blog into an online poll or have a contest. If you don’t have enough time and resources to create original content, you can call for users to share their own or link to other sites. Adding your own snippet before sharing the link will help make it your own and add a point for discussion.
The Grumpy Cat Meme
The internet is a weird and wonderful place where a picture of an unimpressed cat can suddenly gain viral status. But what sets Tardar Sauce aka The Grumpy Cat apart, is that the meme refused to go away after its 15 minutes of fame. The meme has now moved beyond just social media. This infamous cat now has sponsorships, appears on mainstream TV, has meet-and-greets, and guests on popular video channels.
Key takeaway: Explore other aspects of marketing.
Now that you’ve started the conversation, follow up on your leads through email marketing. Try rounding up your most popular posts and comments, and send it out as part of your email newsletter. This way, you can slowly transition to presenting more product-centric content after you have built a relationship with your audience.
As you direct traffic to your site, make sure that your content is fresh, mobile-ready, and user-friendly. It won’t hurt to have SE0 optimised landing pages as well. Ranking high in searches and delivering topnotch user experience is the key to gaining more trust and establishing yourself as a leader in your industry.
Beware the #Bashtag
Unfortunately, brands can also trend for the wrong reasons. Qantas had to learn the hard way that starting a twitter campaign a few weeks after it made headlines for grounding its fleet and leaving thousands stranded is a little too much, too soon. Instead of the hashtag #QantasLuxury trending for stories of excellent customer service, passengers bashed the airline and shared discontent about their recent experience.
Key takeaway: Think very carefully before anything goes live.
Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to trolls and misinterpretation. Do your research and keep your posts focused. If an event doesn’t fit in with your brand, don’t try to force it. People will know when you’re trying too hard. If you must post about it--keep branding to a minimum and leave any sales pitches out.
Several social management tools allow you to plan ahead and auto-post. However, it’s still best to monitor posts before they go live. You don’t want to be the jerk posting about your products during a national emergency, share a link to your competitor by mistake, or hijack a controversial hashtag unknowingly.
Like all things marketing, success in social media can be hit or miss. So instead of copying viral campaigns, stay true to your voice and let your authenticity shine through. By committing to creating content that shows your company’s unique personality, you can turn your followers into your best brand advocates.