Every company in the world, for the most part, has Social Media on the brain. Most of them hear about Twitter and Facebook and instantly assume they can make millions. The problem is that most of them don’t actually get how to use these channels or more importantly to actually prepare to use them.
The first thing you need to do when planning a Social Media campaign is to ask yourself why you are there. Then you layout a plan on how to get there and how to build and engage a community. After you have the community you then need to keep their interest and find a way to take them from social mode to conversion mode. Conversion mode could be sales, newsletter sign ups, going to a rally or even just continuing to support you. Assuming that people are just going to follow you and buy from you because you are on these networks is not going to happen, unless you are a giant name brand, then you definitely have an advantage but still need to be smart because people aren’t as gullible as they used to be. Social media gives the power to your customers and instead of you being able to block out negative reviews, they can say what is on their mind and on their own terms. If you ignore it or trash them than you may find even more negative feedback. If you address it or apologize or if you already engage with your customers they may even come to the rescue and stand up for you.
The reality is that most companies fail at using Social Media because they forget that Social Media is about letting the community drive it and have control, not to mention that many companies forget to actually plan how to reach their goals. The other thing that most companies forget is that there are other Social Networks besides Twitter and Facebook. There are niche sites and communities which are much more relevant to their user base, but they forget to look for them and that is where they can really lose out.
If they go there and properly engage their community, those people will go out on Twitter and Facebook and build the following for them. With that said, how can you use sites like Twitter to drive revenue or conversions and who in my opinion is doing a great job? Here are a few strategies that you can use and a few ways that companies and celebrities are using Twitter to drive revenue and conversions.
Distributing deals and products or coupons to bring in revenue.
Anyone can feed their entire feed or tweet all of their deals into a twitter account. The ones who succeed though are the ones who actually think about how to do it so that their tweets are targeted more closely to their followers. You may run a coupon site or you could be a large retailer which puts 500 products on sale each day. The problem is that not everyone is interested in every product. If you set up different accounts and teach your end users how to set up different lists, then you divide your feeds or products up by category and only feed them into the account that properly matches the interests of your followers, you are not only delivering more relevant promotions to them but because they are no longer receiving a ton of offers that are not relevant to them you may find that you get a better reaction and click through rate from them. It is important though to give clear instructions on which account to sign up for and to not over tweet out your offers or your followers may end up following the wrong account or getting offers that are not relevant to them and they may stop following you or responding to your deals. You may also want to run tests on time of day and keyword or phrase based to see what time and what words create the largest amount of reactions and click throughs on your campaigns.
Celebrities who keep their fans active.
Not only can you find three of my favorite and three of the most talented people on Broadway Kristin Chenoweth @KChenoweth, Betty Buckley @BettyBuckley and Seth Rudetsky @SethRudetsky on Twitter, but the three of them have figured out how to not only make twitter work for them, but also how to get it to convert. What makes these three people successful at Twitter is that they not only actively use it to talk to their friends, but they all actually talk to their fans and respond to certain questions and comments.
Most celebrities leave it up to their PR companies or a “Social Media Expert” to communicate and respond back to fans. The reality is that not everyone can keep up and responding to everyone is impossible. Other times they hire the wrong fan and the fans get annoyed when they find out it isn’t the real celebrity. It’s like sending in a fan letter and getting back an 8×10 glossy with a fake autograph.
What’s even more ridiculous is that some fans actually believe that the celebrity they are following is available to tweet 24 hours a day or just happen to only tweet during business hours. No one can do that, especially not a working celebrity who has to be at a show or on set. What makes Betty Buckley, Kristin Chenoweth and Seth Rudetsky amazing (in Seth’s case Amahazing), is that they not only actually respond to their fans, but because of the actual engagement with their fans, their fans start to follow them and actually pay more attention to what they have to say.
With that said, they don’t respond to everything you write to them. Instead you have to get their interest and get something in front of them that is worth responding to. You have to remember that they are people just like you. If you were the celebrity something was general or you get a million times a day like “OMG I Love You!!!!” or “Hey, Great Job”, you probably wouldn’t respond to it either. You need to tweet something that is unique or that they would enjoy. Imagine yourself in their shoes and then think about what you would respond to. Then use that to try and get their attention. With that said, I’m not saying to message them every 5 seconds to figure it out, but if there is something that is worth saying then say it and they may actually respond.
Betty Buckley actually made my day when I got an private message from her directly. I was almost in shock. It was just about as cool as when Inaya Day @InayaDay (I think this was the right one) left a comment on my blog without me reaching out to her and tweeted the post out to all her fans. By giving that one little response because I shared something of relevance with Betty she responded back and got me to watch her posts even more closely. Seth did the same thing and I even ended up creating multiple posts across different blogs to promote one of his events called the You Are Not Alone Benefit which was to support an amazing cause. Each of them realized that it is good to engage with their audiences and fans, but they don’t have to respond to everything. Just being accessible and not having some random PR rep there or “Social Media Expert” keeps your fans loyal and lets them know that they respect them.
Zappos.com’s CEO Tony Hsieh. @Zappos
Tony not only embraces his shoppers, but he gives his customers a way to reach directly to the top of the food chain. By enabling Zappos customers to voice their opinion to the CEO, he not only builds brand loyalty but he has also been able to show them that their voices matter and that Zappos pays attention to their customers and their needs. Other companies can learn from Tony and understand that encouraging all feedback isn’t always a bad thing.
If customers are angry then why not keep them where they can interact with you instead of letting them go all over the rest of the web where you may not get a chance to respond. This also gives you a chance to show other potential customers that you not only address issues, but you are there to provide amazing customer support. By letting your customers give you feedback you not only get their respect, but you may get new ideas on how to make your customer experience even better. This may also help to increase your profits by creating a better sales funnel or just by gaining their trust. Tony was ahead of his time by making himself available to his customers and it definitely paid off.
Each of these people and hundreds of companies go or sign up on Twitter and found a way to make it convert by either driving sales or by actively engaging their fans/customers and building loyalty. If you set up a plan on how to begin, how to properly engage your audience and you keep your messaging relevant and targeted, you may not only be able to convert people from social mode to shopping mode but you may also build more customer and brand loyalty.