So how can businesses find the “fine line” between embracing those who share their live entirely online while also still enrapturing them into a physical, in-person experience?
The answer lies in the intertwining of digital sharing with a person’s electronic network and making sure that a customer has the best in-person experience they possibly can.
- Require More Action. For instance, many Houlihan’s (a midwest American restaurant chain that began in Kansas City) offers customers a free plate of frites for every check-in on FourSquare. How can Houlihan’s set themselves apart from other restaurants offering deals for check ins? Up the ante. Give mayors 25% off their entire order. Have customers show their server a tweeted picture on TweetPic of their table posing with Houlhan’s menus. Allow for brand saturation in instant memories– that is a photo of a happy hour with friends that might not have been recorded had Houlihan’s not offered the deal.
- Inspire Conversation. Use online media to get people talking in situations where it may be awkward at first. At an industry conference, give away t-shirts where users write in their Twitter username or website URL with a sharpie. Have trivia questions at the beginning of group employee orientations that require users to use their smartphones or to share a fact about their online self (eg. “How many Twitter followers do you have?”)
- Don’t Make Everything About Social Media. Find creative ways to tie-in a company’s social media presence, without making it the main message. Business cards are a great example of this. An employee’s name, phone, and email should still be the crucial information here, necessarily the company’s URL or the reminder to “Follow us on Facebook!”. Should a banner at a company-client mixer simply say, “We are on FourSquare!”? Or would a better use of banner resources be something like, “We offer 10% off all color letterpress invitations we offer for every FourSquare check-in”. Give customers a reason to connect on social media. Simply telling them to do so doesn’t give as much initiative as the answer to WHY does.
- Stay as Up-To-Date As Your Industry Is. An Internet marketing business may have more clients who know about Scvngr than a company that sells semi-truck tires. Many semi-truck tire customers may not even know about Twitter. Hence, focusing resources on an up-to-date Twitter account may not be the best use of resources. Be up-to-date with customer’s interests and what they use most of instead of trying to stay up-to-date with technology as a whole, which changes by leaps and bounds every year.
Focusing on core customer demographics and what they are actually using has a lot more benefit than diving headfirst into all social media networks out there and hoping one or two of them get the company more new and returning customers who enjoy interacting online.
What are some other ways companies can use social media without letting it run their entire marketing and customer interaction strategy?
Images Courtesy of: Tribute Media and Scvngr.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.