With that in mind, here’s how to achieve 3 key marketing objectives, based on the way people actually use social media.
1- Drive Awareness
Driving awareness requires you to reach as many relevant users as possible. Users may have strong ties to only a handful of their connections, but social media has considerably increased the reach of individual users – people have 140 connections on average, up from about 100 a year ago.
Users may not always value purchasing advice from every single one of their connections, but if friends share content, people are most likely to see it. And if the content is appealing, users are most likely to click it. This applies especially to videos.
A great way to drive awareness is to create videos that people want to share. Sharing content on Facebook or Twitter does not always feel as instinctive as liking or commenting, so the video must be compelling.
The most relevant users to seed your videos are the ones who generate the most engagement in Facebook and Twitter. These are usually the long tail of every-day users, because they know their connections personally. This is what we focus on at the startup I founded, and so far the results have been impressive.
2- Generate Sales
Generating sales requires that you tap into a much different social network structure.
As Paul Adams, Global Brand Experience Manager at Facebook, points out, people talk to the same 5 – 10 people 80 percent of the time. People are tightly connected to five small groups, on average, with which they share a common interest or affinity.
Influence can be so strong between these few connections that it can actually generate sales. To generate sales in social media, create very exclusive offers rather than trying to reach the masses. This way, users are incentivized to share them with their most relevant and trusted connections. Doing so will maximize your sales.
3- Increase Loyalty
Increasing loyalty is another very valuable way to leverage social media.
Promote your Facebook page and Twitter account wherever you have access to your customers. Then, provide these customers with engaging content that will start a conversation between your customers, their friends and your brand.
Since the objective here is to start a conversation, this content should be more about your customers than about you. Check out the example below:
Getting your customers to engage with your content is crucial. It will deepen your relationship with them and increase their loyalty. It will also turn your customers into your best advocates and your most valuable assets in social media.
In short, social media can help you achieve key marketing objectives with unprecedented results. But you should not try to apply old-media strategies to social media. Instead, brands should see themselves as regular social media users, and provide valuable input to start conversations around their content. Ultimately, this will help you boost sales.
Olivier Lasry spent 3 years working in financial services at Ernst & Young, with clients mainly operating in the new tech / media industries. Passionate about the new technology industry and its disruptive forces, Olivier then created Wingsplay, the first viral video advertising network ever, which connects influential social media users with the best viral video advertisers.