January 25, 2010

Yet Another Blog post about Social Media and Conversion

I wrote the post about 5 misconceptions about how to convert social media users and it seems as though the post was sought after. One e-mail I received about the post asked for the recipe for social media conversion. Previously I’ve written about how to convert a social media user into a buyer. What I will do in this post is to take you through ONE 5 step strategy on how to convert groups of social media users from a Facebook group or Page.

The 5 Steps:

  1. Build the infrastructure
  2. Make a buzz about it to attract a following
  3. Build trust through dialogue
  4. Crowdsource an activity
  5. Give your value proposition a social context

Oh.. yeah… if you don’t want to read the full post you can skip to the very end where I sum up the essence of this post. 🙂 This post is far from my previous post about the 5 Misconceptions, but this one aims to spark some needed discussion on the topic.

1. Build the infrastructure

There is a lot of discussion about how you should build facebook, twitter or any other kind of infrastructure around your brand. You have some choices to go through. For this example, the infrastructure will be a Facebook page or a group. When you create the group, one way to label it (generally a good advice if you want a big following) can be to create a group that falls into a desire of a user.

(If you’re a big brand, then you should probably contact someone currently running your brand group and see if you can strike a deal.)

This means that if you are selling sports shoes, you create a “we who run 1K a day” group, if you are selling second hand cars, then you probably should create a “Driving is not an experience, it’s a lifestyle” group. This is the premium way to gain many followers in a short while. The people in your group are in the target audience of whom would perhaps be interested in your kind of product, and the potential is a lot greater that they sign up to a non-branded group.

However, be aware that if you are looking at conversion to buyers as the target for your engagement in social media, then you should look at being as specific as possible with your group branding. Many times, groups such as product review groups are extremely good for conversion. These groups can have names such as “Product x’s Reviewers”. But I’ll handle this case specifically in a later post.

2. Make a buzz about it to attract a following

Badam. You have built your group or page and you need to find some people interested in your thing. First of, make sure you’re staffed so that you can actually talk to the peeps joining your group. Ie. if you have a page for runners, then make sure you will have someone who likes to talk about running that administers the activities. Remember, pretending is not for social media. You’ll eventually get exposed. (even though that eventuality might take some time to come about)

Now stick your hand into your traditional marketing bag! If you have no followers, fans or friends in the online sphere, then you can, shall and must use whatever advertising you can afford to spark your launch. (naturally you invite your personal friends first, but they will only get you so far)

Use TV if you can afford it. Use PPC through AdWords and Facebook Ads. Use radio and use PR. Start out local, start out with the employees perhaps. This step is all about how much dough you have in your briefcase. If you have a lot of money, then launch big, if you have no money, then launch softly.

Now some of you experts out there might react and say. “Well, Jesper, you haven’t said anything about the product and the post quality. Shouldn’t people try to focus on the product and the rest will follow?” Well, that’s a yes and a no. Naturally, if you want the fans to stay in the group you should probably have something to offer when they get there.

Perhaps a question, some images and a person monitoring, answering questions and discussing the purpose of the entity. However, if you have a good group or page name, then you should be set at this stage. All you need is about 1000 members. It will cost you max 500 bucks if you do it through FB-ads alone.

Yes, you should put a link, icon or some kind of entry to the FB-page from your website. Yes, you should include it in your news letter, and yes you should tell your mother to join. Where ever you can talk about being up and running, you should. But please use your uncommon sense. You don’t want to be pleading. Anyhow… onto the next chapter…

3. Build trust through dialogue

Wow, congratulations!! You’ve applied some uncommon f**kin’ sense and you are now up and rolling with your 1037 newly won fans/friends/followers/members. Now, the first two steps are pretty straight forward and can be thought out by practically anyone who puts their mind to it. This step however, is not for anyone.

Dialogue! Can you recall the last time you had a nice dialogue? How did it feel? What did you talk about? Were you sincere in the questions you asked?

I say the best way to use your Facebook page or group is to crowdsource it. In your workplace you should include the Facebook group or page into your daily routines and discussions. Then if you find a question you think the wall might be able to answer then ask them like “Hey, we were discussing here at the office and couldn’t agree on if it is ok that “spring” means “run” in Swedish. We need you to resolve this issue for us!”.

I do not mean that you should use that sentence, but I mean that you should use the “by the way, as you are a part of what we’re doing”… kind of language. It simply cannot go wrong. Even though you are the stiffest business or product out there. If you know how to take charge of casual talk, then you SHOULD.

This kind of direct dialogue, where you ask, reply and ask again is probably the best way to build trust on Facebook. The trust and the tonality is needed for what’s to come. You have to appear genuine. You HAVE to care. You have to disagree with some people and you need to behave like a person. Regardless if you are working behind the logo. If you don’t behave like, talk like and think like a person, then you’re going to run bad.

This is my opinion and it is what works for me. Naturally the above statement will induce some reactions from people who don’t agree. However, for me it has never failed. But I guess that is the essence. It also has bearing on the converting stage that we’re coming to… right about… NOW..

4. Crowdsource an activity

To convert people through social media is almost like a serve in tennis. You have to go full circle before smashing the ball. Even though your movement might be perfect you will still hit it out of bounce about one time out of ten. If you’re hitting it out of bounce more often than this you should probably change your stance and work on your technique as that is highly unprofitable.

However!! That is a metaphor taking us off the target.

If you have set up your group to a stance where you’ve built trust through talking to them, sincerely asking them questions and setting them up for the smash, then now is your time. You can identify when a group has reached this stage when they start posting stuff themselves without you asking and that people are replying to what other people are posting. To use a cheesy expression: “Then you know you’ve created a circle of trust”. LOL… but it is true.

Now it is time for you to make the kill question.

The thing now is that you should determine an activity which requires your type of product in one way or another. You should then leave one aspect open for the users to decide. They can either decide the date, a color, a place where to do it or whatever you find suitable. This might include such things as using your product in a creative way in a YouTube video or mean that people should sign up somewhere to compete against the others in the group.

It doesn’t matter what kind of activity you crowdsource. Just know that you can afford to actually make it reality. Narrow it down a lot if you have a limited budget. Depending on what feeling you’ve managed to build on the page or in the group, you will be able to offer different things. The “only on facebook” offer has almost stopped working. You really should take some help here if you cannot think of something creative that involves your product and leaves some aspect open for user crowdsorcing.

5. Give your value proposition a social context

Now. Sometime during the activity you have collected some piece of information amongst the participants. Oh, yeah… if you have done this correctly about 10-30% of your group members will join the activity.

Time for some Video right?

So, after you’ve seen this video you probably already have some idea about how to use peoples irrational behavior in order to convert some of your traffic. If you don’t, well here comes a suggestion.

If the event was successful, you now propose: “boy, that was fun, if you ever want to do that again then I’m sure I can hook you up”.

If the event was not successful, then propose: “boy, that sucked, let me find a way to compensate you somehow, the only thing I’ve are these discount checks…”

Perhaps not that obviously scheming as the last one, but you get the point. The main idea is to connect the offer to the social context which you have just experienced. Please feel free to add better examples than the one above in the comments.

But let’s be honest… this does nothing but touch the essence of social media conversion

Cause there are 1 million ways in which you can convert social media traffic. The bottom line is, however, that you have to engage the people that follows you. The key to success is your ability to place your offer in some social context you’ve experienced together with your fans/friends/followers or plan to have. You need to put your products in a social context. Even if your product is porn. If you put it in a social context then you will have success. Tupperware is the best example of this story.

Find people through standard marketing, build a relationship through dialogue, engage them through an activity, convert them through context. That’s it.

3 Comments
  • Jon Buscall, January 26, 2010 Reply

    Great piece, Jesper. I loved the point about creating a buzz.

    I ran a similar approach for an educational organization here in Stockholm but found that Facebook ads were a complete waste of time. The kids just don't see them.

    In the end Spotify was a better way to go because they couldn't afford the premium service and were forced to listen to the ad. That actually drove people to the site and helped build the tribe a little bit more.

  • Jesper Astrom, January 26, 2010 Reply

    I've had very good experiences from Facebook ads. I think it is all in walking the thin line between what Facebook allows and what they don't allow. The thumbnail is of utmost importance.

    I actually haven't tried spotify marketing. It annoys the living crap out of me whenever the voice comes in telling me about this overwhelming need for "label search"... lol... I mean... who needs "label search"... and why is this being repeated since November as though it was the Apple Tablet... haha...

    But that was on a completely different note!! Really appreciate the comment!


Leave A Comment

Leave a Reply