We study all kinds of social marketing campaigns — from companies, non-profits, artists and more. While we’ve seen campaigns big and small, cast wide and extremely focused, there are some universal tips that apply to any strategy you’re planning for your new customer outreach.
Often, it all boils down to getting the little things right.
Here are three examples of common sense outreach tips that your brand would be wise to adopt.
Don’t Blackmail Your Visitors
If you’re judging your inbound marketing success solely on metrics like your number of Facebook fans, you may be tempted to lock up certain key information by making it accessible only to people who “like” your page. While that might seem logical, it can actually backfire on you.
That’s because the casual visitors who find your page may not yet know enough about you, and they may interpret the act of “liking” you just to find out basic information (like your location or your business hours) as a bait-and-switch tactic that could leave them vulnerable to future marketing spam. (Or, worse, they may like you once and then never interact with you again, which damages your edgerank.)
One example of a company that isn’t afraid to share its secrets with fans and non-fans alike is Pittsburgh’s Scarehouse, one of the country’s top-rated haunted houses. A visit to the Scarehouse Facebook page gives you all the information you need — whether you’re a fan or not — including their reviews, hours of operation, links to their website, and a video that showcases some of their most delicious frights. And if you really like the Scarehouse enough to become a fan, they let you in on all their “making of” goodies through the year, as an ongoing reward that keeps you interested long after Halloween is over.
LESSON: Give the people what they need, but reward the people who ask for more.
Minimal Is the New Everything
There’s a constant urge to “be everywhere” in social media, because you don’t want to miss a chance to connect with your audience wherever they may (prefer to) be. But the truth is, sometimes, less is more.
D Center Baltimore, a social organization focused on better living through better design, uses a Tumblr blog for their homepage. They do outreach via a Twitter account and a Facebook group. Compared to more robust options like WordPress blogs, YouTube channels and Facebook fan pages, these tools are easy to update without requiring much knowledge of coding, formatting, etc. That means they’re easy for anyone to use, they save time, and they purposely limit the options and distractions that could complicate delivery of a simple, timely message.
LESSON: Know the difference between “doing enough” and “trying to do too much.” One method spreads your message; the other thins your resources.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Speaking of simplicity, the Twitter account for GOOD, which is an organization dedicated to positive news and social change, rarely tweets anything that isn’t a direct link to their own articles. But that doesn’t mean their account is being piloted by robots.
On the contrary, they use their Twitter background to list the Twitter handles of their contributors. Thus, while the GOOD Twitter account serves as a news feed otherwise uncluttered by conversation, fans of their content are still invited to engage with the content creators themselves within their own personal channels.
LESSON: There’s more than one way to create a connection with your audience — and it doesn’t all have to happen in the same place.
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