An electronics retail chain received coverage in a Silicon Valley publication. I tweeted a link to the article. Because the article included the chain’s name in the title, the social team there saw the mention and tweeted me thanks.
Sometimes, a T-Shirt is All That’s Needed
Next, they followed me, so I followed them back. Soon after, they sent me a Direct Message: “Hey, thanks for spreading the word on Twitter. We’d like to send you a T-shirt. If you’re interested, DM us your shirt size!”
I tweeted back: “You’re welcome. XL, please. Thanks!” and a few weeks later, the shirt arrived in the mail. For two years, I’d wear the shirt in public. When friends would ask me about the shirt, I’d tell them the story about Twitter. Friends who work in Marketing admired the retail chain’s gesture.
For approximately $10 ($5 for the T-shirt and $5 for shipping), this retail chain generated a brand advocate and received free advertising for 2 years. A nice investment that stemmed from social listening, combined with creative engagement.
Now, let’s consider a few tips for engaging with your audience on social media.
Tip 1: Learn to Spot Cues (and Respond Accordingly)
One Saturday, I read an article by the CEO of a company in the social marketing space. Because the CEO wrote about how his company’s software helps brands listen and engage on social, I decided to tweet, “I wonder if anyone from [the CEO’s company] listens to social media on the weekends?”
The brand never responded. So on Sunday, I tried again. Still no response. I don’t mean to suggest that the brand really should have responded to me. But, I’m making a point that brands will need to spot cues (and clues) on when they ought to respond.
Tip 2: Retro is In!
Payphones, paper, cassette tapes, typewriters. All things from the past, right? Not when retro is in. Using “blasts from the past” in a creative way can help you stand out from the crowd. Recently, I read an article about Nicole Miller, the Community Champion at Buffer.
In the article, Nicole notes, “I’ve also always been a firm believer in the power of a hand-written thank you note, which was an important part of the Community Champion role, reaching beyond the screen to connect on a personal and tangible level.”
I tweeted a link to the article, including my admiration for the hand-written notes. Nicole replied, thanked me for the mention, then DM’d me (on Twitter) to ask for my mailing address. A week later, a hand-written note (from Nicole) arrived at my office!
Tip 3: All People are People
So here’s what I mean: we may be inclined to focus our social engagement on perceived influencers (e.g. well-known name, large number of followers, high influence score, etc.).
While influencer marketing should be a part of your social engagement strategy, let’s not forget the thousands (or millions) of “real people” that you can make an impression on.
The Twitter user with 17 tweets and 18 followers may turn out to be someone with authority and budget for your product offering. The marketer whose profile says “free agent for hire” may have limited purchasing authority today, but could be your biggest customer 5 years later.
Tip 4: Blend Personalization with Creativity
I mention on my Twitter profile that I love bad jokes. A sales rep was trying to get in touch with me. In his email, he provided a standard introduction, then continued, “Since I know you like bad jokes, here’s one for you.” And it was a good joke that made me chuckle.
Model this sales rep in your social engagement: listening (he read my profile), personalization (his outreach included something unique about me) and creativity (digging up a bad joke to try out on me). Going the extra mile (with personalization) makes a difference. It creates higher appreciation, respect and loyalty on the part of the receiving party.
Listening on social media is just half the battle. Savvy organizations start by listening, then use “rules of engagement” to determine how (and when) to respond and act. In my use of social media (as a consumer), I’ve seen some brands fall short, while others excel. Speaking of that, feel free to find me on Twitter and share a good bad joke!
Also, Watch the replay of “Social Lessons Learned from iPhone Launch” webinar to see how you can track your social campaign, manage a crisis, and gain loyal customers by listening and engaging.