A Practical Guide for Monetizing Social Media, Part 2 - Motivate
This is the second installment of my three-part series on strategies for monetizing social media.
In my last column, which appeared in the Sept. 17 edition of eM+C Weekly, I focused on the importance of assessing your current footprint within the various social communities, and then identifying your customers who are active in those social networks and have the potential to be influencers for your brand.
Today's column dives into how to motivate those influencers to share valuable messages on your behalf.
Very few marketers have figured out how to take the knowledge of their social presence and make it actionable. Marketers must understand that successful social marketing is based on getting identified influencers to carry their messages within their personal networks or social graphs.
This is very different from traditional marketing communications. Instead of a one-way conversation, you're attempting to establish a dialogue with consumers. Brands must motivate influencers to invest their time and reputations — their social capital — to have dialogue on their brands' behalf. To do this, organizations must do more than insert social sharing opportunities into existing programs; they must create new communication strategies that drive influence.
To do this successfully, marketers must understand the four social motivators that are effective in getting influencers to help extend their reach to new audiences.
- Self-expression. The highest form of social motivation, self-expression motivates influencers to share because the content they're sharing supports or reinforces their visions of themselves to their peer groups.
- Achievement. Influencers often look to share personal achievements with their social networks. Whether it's achieving a particular status in a loyalty program or scoring high on an online quiz, influencers are often quick to share personal achievements with their peers.
- Altruism. Influencers often are willing to share content online that benefits the broader community and not necessarily themselves. Whether it's an article about a new medical breakthrough or a free concert, influencers will share this information if they think it's valuable to their networks.
- Self-reward. On the social web, self-reward alone is the lowest form of motivation. Influencers rarely are willing to spend their social capital and harm their reputations in exchange for points or discounts.
When building social programs, companies must consider how one or many of the above social motivators are leveraged to drive sharing among influencers and their networks. These factors are rarely considered by marketers in traditional direct programs. Ignoring them on the social web can severely hamper your social marketing efforts.
Once you understand them, you then can begin to develop viral campaigns that leverage these social motivators in a context that's relevant to your target audience. Keep in mind that these motivators don't have to be used exclusively. A program that rewards influencers for sharing by passing on discounts to those in their networks and donating money to a charity if someone from their networks makes a purchase actually taps into a combination of altruism and self-reward.
Now that you understand the principles for motivating your influencers to share, you must find a way to build direct programs, establish metrics and track the results of your campaigns so you can find out what's working — and fine-tune accordingly.
In the final installment of this three-part series, which will be published in the Oct. 1 edition of eM+C Weekly, I'll discuss program development, tracking and metrics.
Ryan Deutsch is vice president of strategic services and market development for StrongMail Systems, a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of commercial-grade solutions for marketing and transactional email. Reach Ryan at email@example.com.