There's a significant amount of cross-pollination in the digital media space. Brands like to help each other out. They do it because they're drawn to success - the success of social media properties, for example, in obtaining a critical mass of users. Like those users, consumer brands also have the capacity to recognize the potential in a good online product or service. Hence, they create Facebook pages and Twitter feeds and YouTube channels galore.
Whether they realize it or not, consumer brands endorse media brands by utilizing their services. Media brands, in turn, rise in stature due to their usage by consumer brands. It's a win-win situation made even more promising when digital marketers choose to actively leverage it. Promoting a brand's participation in social media helps to increase exposure and create a following, yes. But it must be taken seriously.
In other words, as important as it is to create a campaign around your product itself, the value of doing the same for your media affiliations shouldn't be overlooked. Treat them as a media buy in their own right and you can earn a sizeable return on investment.
Motivate Like Zulily
How better to incite engagement with your social media affiliation than by offering a tangible reward? Zulily, a daily deals site centered on products for kids and moms, sent out an email to its subscribers not only promoting its Pinterest boards but promising a $15 credit to everyone who posts a pin of a Zulily-related image that successfully generates a subscription and purchase from the site. To make things easier for its users, the brand linked to a selection of "pinables" - in essence, static banner ads - perfect for posting to Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or sharing by email. And to further emphasize its offer, Zulily features in its daily emails a credit balance box with links to Facebook and Twitter and the call to action, "Tell your friends."
This strategy increases awareness of Zulily's Pinterest boards and other social pages. More than that, though, it creates exposure by enlisting its users to distribute its images across the web. As self-appointed brand ambassadors, these users wield an influence over their peers so powerful it can translate directly into additional loyal customers and sales.
Highlight Like Thrillist and DailyCandy
Every brand worth its salt now links to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc. within email promotions and on their sites. Consumers are accustomed to seeing these links, to the point where they're apt to overlook them. If they're enamored with your content, most will seek out a way to share it of their own accord. This trend is bolstered when brands take measures to encourage social sharing among those consumers who might not be quite as quick to make the connection.
One way to do this is by supplementing social site links with a house banner ad. Male-oriented lifestyle publication Thrillist does this with a 300x250 button at the bottom of its emails driving readers to its Facebook page. "Bonus picks, photos, and prizes" can be had by visiting the site, Thrillist says, and in case consumers are still hesitant about clicking the iconic thumbs-up symbol for "Like," is accompanied by a verbal nudge to "Do it." It may not be delicate, but you can bet it's effective and could work just as well for any number of social media sites and services to which a brand subscribes.
DailyCandy takes a similar approach by dedicating some of its email ad space to a banner touting its Pinterest boards. Instead of simply including a link to this new social media content in its existing social sharing box at the bottom of the email template, the media property chooses to highlight it with its own above-the-fold banner. The result is a bold invitation to explore its content in another form - one that promotes an even higher level of online sharing than its own emails.
You spend countless hours planning digital campaigns to promote your products. Isn't it time to spread the word about your social media presence, too?
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Tessa Wegert is an interactive media strategist with Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy and services agencies, serving such brands as Bioré, Bratz, Food Network, illy, Hunter Douglas, Jergens, and Olympic Paints and Stains. An industry veteran, Tessa has worked in online media buying and planning, marketing, and online copywriting since 1999. She is an active freelance writer specializing in interactive marketing who has contributed to U.S. and Canadian publications, including "USA Weekend Magazine," "Marketing Magazine," "The Globe and Mail," and "The Montreal Gazette." She is frequently quoted as an industry expert and speaks regularly at industry conferences and events.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT