April 23, 2012 by Bob Hill
Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Industry Spotlight - Sales & Marketing, Latest News & Views - Sales & Marketing, online marketing, Technology
One out of every four clicks on the Internet is somehow related to Facebook, according to recent statistics. And yet, less than a third of companies have a clear social media strategy in place.
Most companies that have implemented a social media strategy agree the key to success is finding new ways to consistently engage prospects.
Example: PetSmart encourages prospects to post pics and videos of their pets on its Facebook page on a semi-daily basis. This creates a situation where customers can actually chat with one another in the comments section.
Once a thread has reached 100 or more comments, a PetSmart exec will pop in and provide a quick reminder of current online deals or discounts.
Two other social media promotions that have generated considerable buzz during the past year:
Ford’s Fiesta Movement. Ford chose 100 sales agents and had them spend six months recording their experience behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta. The videos were then posted on the company’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter).
Result: The videos yielded more than four million views on YouTube, 500,000+ Flickr views, three million clicks via Twitter, and more than 60,000 new customers.
In addition, sales agents created an identity for themselves, which caused customers to trust them more.
Starbucks “Mayoral” discounts. Foursquare is a social media site that allows people to “check in” on a virtual map that includes everything from restaurants to the gym to the park, or even their own homes. Users who check in to a specific location more often than anyone else are awarded “mayor” status of that locale (e.g., “You are now the Mayor of Midtown Starbucks,” etc.) Starbucks offered $1 discounts on popular products throughout last year to anyone who achieved mayoral status at one of its locations.
Result: A major rush to earn mayoral status and discounts (Starbucks also gave users the title of “Barista” after five check-ins.). The campaign is believed to have generated millions in repeat business with no overhead costs whatsoever.
All of these social media tactics are slowly transitioning corporate websites from being the main focus of online sales efforts to a “central hub” where final transactions take place.
Most successful online campaigns have one thing in common: They attract buyers via the social media page, before giving them an incentive to click on a link and buy direct from the company’s website. Zappos, Macy’s, AmEx and Apple have all created successful social media strategies based on this concept.
One final tip: Get everyone at the company involved, so customers have a chance to interact with employees from every level and department.
The more customers feel like an extended part of your corporate family, the more trust, loyalty and word-of-mouth business you’ll earn.
Source: Harvard Business Review