You can increase engagement by inviting your consumers to join you on your social network across all your channels.
Tie it to print. Offer your consumer tips on products or services by using the three-step, "Paul Harvey" approach. Step one: grab their attention by intriguing them to want to read more from a direct mail piece they received. Step two: direct them to your social media channel(s) to read the rest of the story. Step three: solicit their feedback by closing with a question. Some charities do an excellent job by describing the difference they are making in a person's life. The short story with a picture is compelling to the extent that it results in the consumer becoming more engaged and involved on their website. You can try this with your postcards and other direct mail drops including catalogue inserts.
Empower your people. Ask your team what drives people to come into your store or branch or even call your call center. Take the most commonly asked questions and have your more knowledgeable employees answer them. You could create a simple blog article or even a short video of the employee answering the questions. Take this library of useful information and make it easily accessible to your consumers. Also, remember to show your employees how they can use these resources during everyday conversations. Tax season is a trying time for many financial institutions as multiple consumers continue to call and ask for similar information year after year. An innovative credit union took five of the most commonly asked questions and answered them on their blog. Their consumers found the information useful and they did not mind the long hold times. The financial institution made many "friends."
Email can drive engagement. Think about creating a "social media column" within your email marketing campaigns. Include the most popular social content for people to peruse. Invite your readers to share their opinion or buzz on the topic being discussed. As your consumer finds this information to be useful, they will look at your emails as being more than promotional. The ability for them to interact in real time makes the content more popular. Your measure of success here is to track open rates between emails that might be simply promotional versus emails that are promotional but also include social content. The most popular "click" on emails by a food supplier can be found on the recipes that they feature on their blog in each email campaign. Their consumer does not seem to mind the thrice a week emails because they consider the message to be informational.
Do it online. Most Internet shopping sites are not bashful about making recommendations on items that could be added to your basket. These cross-sells can be effective as they get the consumer to think about other items they may not have considered. A women's clothing company did something interesting for their consumers; they offered the buyer the opportunity to add a link to a video on how to mix and match outfits. A men's clothing company gave their consumers information on the nine ways to knot a tie. In both these instances, the consumer was given social information as part of their checkout process. Guess what? More than 98 percent of those consumers actually visited the brand's social sites that resulted in social conversions.
Of mobile and mobility. My local home improvement store owner is a problem solver. You go to him with a problem and he helps you resolve the issue. He used to start a discussion with his customers by asking them to describe the problem. I suggested that he open the discussion by asking the consumer to show him a picture of the "problem." This suggestion has changed the way his customers come into the store - they first take a picture. His words now make people think about the way they could use their mobile device. For phase two, I have suggested that he post both the question and the answer on social media. We should be looking for ways to get our customers to interact on social media channels quickly. Let us not forget that consumers carry their phones with them at all times. Look for ways to make the interaction easy and useful.
The lady in the picture was helping her friend sign up for a free sandwich at a restaurant via mobile. The laptop was hers and, yes, she was active on social media!
Do not isolate social media into a silo; think about a socially integrated enterprise. Your key to success is to leverage your traditional channels.
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Sundeep Kapur has been assisting organizations with their converged channel marketing strategies since 1990. From direct marketing to digital to converged, he is a passionate teacher who works with businesses across multiple industries, helping them to enable technology and services to brand, and personalize and speak to consumers more effectively.
He is an industry-recognized expert who has delivered keynotes, run panels, and delivered "relevant, inspirational, and outstanding" education for organizations around the world.
Sundeep is also an avid user of social media, having leveraged words, pictures, and video into a conversational digital book. His daily dose of best practices can be found at www.EmailYogi.com, where he has more than 1,200 articles on best practices.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT