It’s every marketing managers dream to sit back and watch their marketing strategy work itself, right? Especially if kicking it off is so simple that it felt too good to be true.
It no longer has to be a daydream or pie in the sky idea – using the power of social media, it is happening more and more in reality. Companies are asking their customers and prospects to talk about them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, and then just sitting down to watch what gets said. But something has to be the catalyst, and of course what can be said can go one of two ways – this is a game to play very carefully!
Kick starting the conversation
The new generation of customers and consumers – the millennials – need to be rewarded for what they are great at… being connected.
Not a moment passes when you don’t see an 18 – 32 year old, somewhere in your vicinity, not picking up their smart phone to check social media, post a review, do a youtube video, or express their opinion in some way. It’s what comes naturally to them, driving the growing trend to share positive – and negative – experiences online.
While 84% of social media users globally like or follow a brand or product, only 19% of users globally actively recommend their favourite brands to others – this results in only 6% of UK consumers making purchases after hearing about products from another person.
While the conversion rate is great – equating to about a third of all advocators resulting in new consumers or customers – the proportion of advocators is still relatively low for a generation of highly opinionated individuals. This means companies need to find new ways to persuade customers and influencers to explain the values and benefits of brands to others.
So, how do you turn followers in to unsuspecting marketers?
Using millennial platforms
Asking your followers to change their behaviour and start conversations unnaturally can be hard – after all, what is in it for them? But give them a talking point, a catalyst, and this generation can converse naturally for hours.
For the brand, the key is in following the conversation. The hashtag has been around since at least the 1970s, when it was used for computer programming, but since Chris Messina’s use of the symbol in Twitter to support trending words or saying through linking search results, it has become a tool for companies worldwide to kickstart conversations and start marketing campaigns, and track both popularity and details of who is saying what. Today, hundreds of millions of people us the hashtag to share their thoughts on what is happening around them.
The trick is understanding how to start the hashtag, or linked conversation, and how to keep the conversation positive.
Rewarding current behaviour
Unless a company is brand new to their marketplace, they will have existing customers. These are the people they need to focus on when starting a conversational marketing campaign.
A traditional reward, such as a pre-paid card, may appear to be a one-shot wonder when it comes to rewarding this audience, but the clever marketer knows that everything can be used to start a conversation.
Asking your loyal millennial followers to choose their own reward – whether it is their favourite snack, a new item of makeup, funding a takeaway and bottle of wine with the other half, or cinema tickets – before taking a picture of the branded card with their chosen purchases, posting to their favourite social media campaign can buy a brand #admiration. You are a company giving people what they really want, not what you assume they want, and we all know millennials make their own minds up on their preferences.
With the average number of followers on Instagram standing at 843, just 10 pre-paid card rewards can be seen almost 8,500 people – an increase of 85,000%! So just think what 100 of your most loyal followers talking about what they have purchased, on the dime of your brand.
Keeping conversation positive
Millennials expect the best. It is easy for them to follow brands online, and if they don’t feel the company have hit the bar then four in 10 would be willing to pay more for better service while 86 per cent of respondents would leave an organisation that treated them poorly.
Delivery of the conversation kickstarter has to be slick and spot on – a thank you note for their loyalty, an engaging suggestion of what to write on social media while avoiding preaching to the choir, perhaps smaller rewards to give to their closest friends, a message back when the individual does post online, great branding and a reward value that shows true appreciation.
So, now time to sit back and watch the story write itself….