Today more than ever businesses can put social marketing to work for them and leverage its power to create profitable relationships. You can send out a campaign that creates a series of social contact points where customers can “like” or share the message and propel that message further into the social network to find more customers.
Just how far it travels depends on the value of your content and how well you execute your social campaign. Here are some steps to help make sure your message has a money-making trip:
Dan Forootan is president of email marketing company StreamSend Email Marketing (www.streamsend.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What's your point? It may sound paradoxical to set up parameters, goals and objectives for what is, ideally, a conversation, but never forget this is a campaign. And campaigns are based on their purpose. What do you want out of this? Awareness? To directly drive sales? To drive page traffic? To tap into how your audiences feel about your organization, good or bad?
- Know your audience. To use email to leverage the power of social, first consider if your customers' email addresses are the right ones to reach them at the best time and place. Also make sure to respect opt-ins or outs. Once your message enters the social sphere, learn recipients' preferences through two-way communications and analytics; then learn more by experimenting so you can personalize further.
- Go light on the sales. Yes you're trying to sell, but your content balance needs to be heavily tipped toward the value you are offering your community. The best campaigns are thoughtfully “prospectcentric,” and the call to action must seem more like a way to keep the conversation going.
- Choose your channels. Businesses can use email to automatically share campaigns and messages with Facebook fans, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections, Google+ and email subscribers, not to mention fan pages and blogs. Many messages can run the gamut, but let the nature of your message help determine which channels are appropriate.
- Keep it social. Your social campaigns run on social content, not news energy. Keep it light, fun and engaging. Do it right conversationally and your point won't get lost; it will get shared.
- Simplify with templates. You'll want templates that let you easily produce Facebook landing pages, create engagement and deliver messages with professional-looking “like” pages. Approaches already proven effective can be easily uploaded to email, shared and posted.
- Explore video. Industry researchers report that video can lift conversion rates by 50%. Using email plus video to kick off the conversation lets you show benefits instead of telling about them, and viewers respond to that. Meanwhile, technology has progressed so that everyone can afford to do it right.
- Report well. Reporting, integrated well with Google Analytics, will show how campaigns drive page visits, shares, new Facebook fans and email subscribers so that you can not only track it all but also measure your success exactly to fine-tune future campaigns.