Social Media Tactics for Continued Engagement

A friend State-side was responsible for a targeted advertising campaign on Facebook that achieved 100,000 fans in one day. Now that they’ve got them, they are tasked with making the conversation/experience authentic, relevant and enjoyable. What tactics would you employ? Here are some of my thoughts:

  1. Be transparent. Transparency is different to honesty. Honest is when you are asked a direct question. Transparency doesn’t require a question. It is an attitude that shows people the inside of your organisation and invites your customers to participate in the journey you are on. Enable them to collaborate with you on developments – this will engender a greater sense of ownership and loyalty.
  2. A personalised poster I received at a recent social media campaign launch for thebigswitch.ieDeal with customer service issues. Since your customers don’t have a one-dimensional view of you, you fail them when you take a one-dimensional view of them. You might consider what you are doing on Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare as a marketing activity, but your customers consider it as another way to tell you about their experiences with you. Deal with it.
  3. Don’t stop talking when bad stuff happens. You immediately lose credibility in what you are doing. Get the PR guys on board from the start. If they don’t get social media, fire them – they will do you a big disservice when you really need them to help you with the crisis that will inevitably happen.
  4. Give something of value. Providing your fans with content that is relevant to them that they will be interested in is bread and butter. But your fans who engage regularly are your best marketing tool. Reward them with stuff they really want and will remember you for – free stuff they will like, exclusive invites to events or gigs that no one else can get and even really decent discounts on your products or the products of others.
  5. Entertain. We very often use social media sites as an escape from the hum drum of nine-to-five. Brands that help to enrich that time by amusing or sharing the unusual and remarkable will be rewarded with repeat visits. There are but a few social media brands that I check out on a daily basis to see what’s new, interesting and amusing – as a result I am much more tolerant of the things they do wrong.
  6. Facilitate conversation. A really powerful thing for a brand to do is to be the facilitator of conversation. You don’t always need to be in the centre – you won’t be able to economically sustain it anyway. Create forums for people to interact with each other to talk and share the things that interest them. Enable them to talk about your brand. Don’t step in to dominate the conversation; only to show you are listening, to clarify where clarification is required and to demonstrate how you are responding with action.

What do ya think?

11 thoughts on “Social Media Tactics for Continued Engagement

  1. Pretty much spot on there Brendan – though I’m consistently surprised by just how many companies don’t do that. They do some, but they forget about the people.

    There’s a bigger conversation to be had here – I must grab you for that coffee soon!

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  2. Brands always have this question when they move over to the dark side. More specifically, Facebook. The most recent Social Media blunder is the story of Nestle and while they originally dropped the ball on some of these tactics they’re beginning to turn things around (or at least trying). I think that these tactics are six solid tips for any brand or marketer looking to have continuous engagement with their followers/fans. Copy, Paste, Print.

    Solid work Brendan.

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  3. Hi Ross. It is interesting to see how sometimes even the biggest brands can get the basics so wrong. There really are no excuses anymore as the lessons are well documented.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Brendan, all good advice. It may surprise some to see that the point re PR needs to be made but it is absolutly true. It’s a pretty cliched, oft repeated point that ‘technology’ and ‘social media’ have changed / will change PR. IMO, many who say that have not the slightest clue as to ‘how’ it will change or even really ‘why’. For those of us that operate in that world that is both a threat and an opportunity.

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  5. Hi Padraig. It is fair to say that the PR industry have been reluctantly dragged into dealing with social media. The movement towards transparent open conversations about brands is in fundamental opposition to the traditional PR perogative to “control” the message. People like yourselves are rare and even at that the relationship between PR professionals who get it and the online community are often strained. I perceive a greater sense of threat rather than opportunity; on both sides.

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  6. Brendan,

    I’m afraid that your last point is all too correct and critically as you say – from both ends. Your point about ‘control’ is well made and the mindset driving that is what will resist change, but the world of PR will be changed, whether it has its hand up for it or not.

    That said, it won’t end up being all social media or technology driven either. That is just one tool or strand of having an effective two way interaction with the end audience, whomever that might be.

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  7. Padraig, you’re right about it not all being social media. But social media has certainly been a catslyst for shifting dynamics – coupled with an ever increasing mis-trust of big business and the proliferation of spin over the past decade or so.

    Social media is an enabler for more empowered consumers and citizens. The particular tools (Twitter, Facebook etc) are incidental and will come and go, but the activity of using the Internet to have our voices heard is here to stay and will only become more pervasive. PR people are, like everyone else, beginning to realise this.

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  8. Agreed and indeed we here in Ireland would be seeing that more quickly were we not constrained by infrastructure, or lack of it… but that is a whole other bag of frozen peas

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