4 Tips to Building a Social Network Contact Strategy
The social media space has taken an exciting new turn for direct marketers in the past year. With resources that enable them to identify which customers are on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and many more, direct marketers can now build a structure for an ongoing social networking strategy.
Rather than viewing social network engagement as random chat that happens on the side, marketers have a rich opportunity to leverage social relationships and their potential to influence a customer’s lifetime value.
If you've ever designed a contact strategy for email or postal campaigns, you know that the strategy will contain the following:
- list(s) of customers and/or prospects;
- content for messages or offers;
- list segmentation plan that orchestrates the message/offer content and timing in the most effective way;
- schedule for delivering your messages or offers;
- method for measurement of results; and
- disciplined practice for reviewing results to refine future campaigns.
Today’s new frontier holds the opportunity to develop contact strategies for Facebook and Twitter with the same precision and discipline that direct marketers have perfected in the email and postal channels.
Here are four important tips to consider when building a social networking contact strategy:
1. Understand the roles of Facebook and Twitter, and how they work best to complement each other. Many brands make the mistake of thinking the two networks fulfill the same purpose, and simply use Facebook to populate their Twitter streams to conserve time. The reality is that Twitter offers some valuable benefits over Facebook in its ability for brands to communicate directly with consumers. Twitter is a one-to-one customer and prospect engagement tool, while Facebook is a powerful community manager. The two sites require very different strategies in order to leverage them most effectively.
2. Enhance your database with social network data so that you understand which customers are on which networks. Flag customers who like you on Facebook and/or follow you on Twitter. For those who don’t, reach out and begin to engage with them on Twitter (i.e., follow them first). Send an email to customers who are Facebook users asking them to become a fan of your brand. This email must include a compelling reason why they should become a fan of your brand.
Keep in mind that the culture of social media is very different than traditional direct marketing. People want to be recognized. If your key competitor is recognizing your customers via social sites and you're not, you're giving your customer one more reason why they should choose your competitor over you.
3. Segment these populations in your marketing database so that you can acknowledge the social relationship at every touchpoint, as well as measure the lifetime value influence of social relationships. Just like top customers should be treated differently than prospects, Facebook fans and Twitter followers deserve recognition for being viral ambassadors of your brand. Expand your email and postal list segmentation strategy to enable it to deliver messages and offers that are unique to fans and/or followers.
4. Track customers and prospects that are engaging with you on Twitter and Facebook. Like the disciplined email marketer who collects opens and clicks at the customer-level to design future email campaigns that maximize results, today's social media marketers should strive to capture and manage social engagement data. This intelligence will provide the framework for creating a plan that defines which customers should be contacted socially and when.
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