Every day there are businesses and brands producing and publishing amazing content, and tightly integrating traditional media with their digital and social programs.
It wasn’t long ago that I was writing about Ikea’s awesome 2014 augmented reality print catalogue, and Ikea has knocked it out of the park again with their second-hand furniture campaign.
What they did
For the eight-week program, Ikea shared their media space with customers looking to sell their old furniture.
Ads were created for chosen participants’ used furniture. These ads featured professional photography, descriptions, prices, and contact information for the individual selling each piece. Then, they were run on a number of media channels including print, television, OOH, and digital.
Finally, Ikea Norway’s Facebook Page was turned over to their audience to serve as a digital flea market where these ads dominated their Timeline.
Check out AdAge for a more detailed description of the program and video that concisely summarizes Ikea’s activity.
Why it’s killer
What makes this campaign so amazing is that numerous lessons from social media and content marketing are applied seamlessly in Ikea’s integrated campaign.
Executing this campaign meant engaging and interacting with Ikea’s audience, the provision of huge value – not just for the sellers, but for buyers as well, and focusing not on selling product, but proving a brand promise.
It’s exciting when brands take a leap like this and do something that doesn’t immediately and obviously connect with sales. How does selling used furniture boost Ikea’s bottom line? It’s not so obvious, right?
But it does. It proves that Ikea loves furniture and that they are the go-to experts on, and providers of, cost-effective furnishing solutions. Whether it’s their product, or their consumers’ second-hand product, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day Ikea has created a memorable experience for everyone touched by this campaign, which will build affinity, loyalty, trust, awareness, and ultimately, sales.
What can be applied to your business?
Personalize your mass media communications
Customization and personalized messaging are not relegated to being social media marketing tactics. Find ways to build contextual relevance in your mass media communications to truly gain your audience’s attention, versus blasting a forgettable message and hoping just enough will stick to affect your bottom line.
Shift focus from your business to your consumers
Whether you are creating social media content, or mass media communications, stay sharply focused on your consumers and what will add value to them versus what you want to say. Your consumers will appreciate you putting them first, and if you’re truly adding value, they’ll actually pay attention to what you have to say.
Create communication ecosystems
When planning social media, content marketing, above the line advertising, below the line advertising, or anything in between, consider how every touch-point can work together to enhance the experience your targeted audience has with your brand. Every time your audience has an experience with your brand it should build off the last to amplify the effect of each individual component. Keep adding value, and keep wowing your audience, and you’ll win consumers.
Get creative and take a risk
I can’t imagine this campaign was easy to pull off. Selling this through Ikea’s hierarchy to buy into this program would have taken guts. It would have been easy to kill this in favour of a more traditional campaign pushing Ikeas newest wares, but they didn’t. They took a risk and it yielded an amazingly creative campaign that has people paying attention. You will never achieve great things by doing what everyone else is doing. Take a risk.
What do you think of Ikea’s Second-Hand Furniture campaign?
What risks have you taken recently that have paid off?
Have you seen any killer content recently that you’d like to share?
It would be great to chat with you about your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Despite having an amazing opportunity to initiate and sustain meaningful dialogues with their consumers, many brands treat social media primarily as a broadcast platform.
Emphasis, energy and resources are typically pumped into the creation and publication of meaningful content – which is great – but minimal effort is put toward initiating conversations with current and prospective consumers. Virtually all interactions are the result of consumers taking it upon themselves to comment on a business’ content, ask a question, request customer assistance, or other consumer-initiated dialogue.
By proactively initiating a dialogue with consumers, you can expect to reach a broader audience, attract new consumers, build affinity for your brand, encourage reciprocated sociability, and increase the likelihood of consumers adding your brand to their consideration set. In short, you’ll be on your way to building real relationships, and if properly sustained and nurtured, and you continually offer tremendous value, you will experience all of the resulting benefits.
Not bad for starting and sustaining a conversation.
And, it makes sense. In the context of face-to-face interactions in the offline world, initiating a dialogue is the best way to have a meaningful conversation. Lurking in the shadows, waiting for someone to talk to you rarely results in amazing interactions, and the same holds true on social media (except, of course, for rare circumstances).
So, the question is, how can you go about initiating a dialogue with your consumers on social media?
Spend more time listening
The openness of many social media platforms means that as a business or brand, you have the capability to listen in on and observe your consumers’ conversations. By spending more time tuning into the pulse of your consumers’ conversations, you’ll be better positioned to identify opportunities to jump in and be a meaningful contributor to a conversation that is relevant to your brand.
Follow and subscribe to your consumers
A great number of businesses and brands have a strong focus on audience acquisition though rarely think about the benefits of following their consumers. Not only will this serve as an ice-breaker to introduce your brand, but will allow you to more easily monitor and follow the discussions your consumers are having on various social media channels.
Get involved in related communities
Believe it or not, your consumers are talking about your business and brand in channels that are not your own. In some cases, there are thriving, vibrant consumer-run communities that are focused on conversations to do with your business, brand, category, competition, and other related topics.
Take some time to monitor the discussions that are happening around the web that are relevant to you, and gauge the appropriateness of joining in. There will be some cases where the injection of your brand may be viewed as an intrusion, through there will be other cases where it will be welcomed. After thorough monitoring, use your best judgment to make a call as to how to proceed. The worst-case scenario is that you’ve found a meaningful forum for discussion to do with your business or brand, which can be a great source of insight.
Set goals and dedicate time to engagement
In my experience, the trouble most businesses and brands have with proactively initiating conversations on social media is a perceived lack of time. It’s one more thing, and in some cases one more thing too many, to do on top of an already ambitious publication schedule, responding to comments and questions, and other marketing activity.
To overcome this, I’d recommend you add goals to your social media strategy for consumer outreach and initiating conversations. Start with something manageable such as initiating X number of conversations with targeted consumers daily. Keep it small, get a feel for the time it takes, and build on that.
How do you actively initiate a dialogue with your consumers?
If you don’t, what keeps you from doing so?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
This post builds on an article I wrote entitled, Is Your Business Forgetting to be Social on Social Media, and will be followed-up with a future post on overcoming organizational barriers to being more social.
Most businesses that invest heavily in social media tend to forget one key component to maximizing their success in developing direct relationships with their audience;
They forget to be social.
Much effort and attention is given to creating valuable content, publishing at just the right time to maximize impressions, determining what triggers to use to incite sharing, figuring out how to encourage comments and ‘likes’, and more.
All of this is great, but there isn’t anything social about publishing content and hoping for virality metrics to shoot through the roof. Even replying to comments left on blog content, Facebook updates, tweets and Google+ posts isn’t truly being social.
Think about it in the context of your life. You don’t go to a party, see some guy standing in the corner all by his lonesome, and think, ‘man, that guy is really putting himself out there!’. He’d probably answer a question if you asked him, but he’s not doing anything to garner attention, attract people to him, or develop new connections or relationships.
Except for very rare circumstances, businesses and brands simply cannot expect to develop meaningful relationships with consumers on social media without behaving socially.
The beautiful thing about social media is that it gives businesses the opportunity to proactively speak with their audience, including current and prospective consumers. That’s powerful stuff.
Initiate a dialogue.
If you are hoping to develop real relationships with your consumers, attract them to participate in the discussions that are occurring on your social media properties, and encourage them to be social, I strongly encourage you to initiate a dialogue with them in the places that they are naturally spending their time online.
By initiating conversations, you are greatly enhancing the probability that you will not only receive a reply, but also achieve reciprocated dialogue. When you create a dialogue with your consumers, you’re going to be better able to understand them, know what they want, fully comprehend their needs, and figure out how to provide tremendous value with your products, services and content.
Develop direct relationships with your consumers.
You are also going to greatly increase the value of the interactions you have with your consumers if there is some give-take. Nobody wants to be involved in a relationship in which they are simply broadcast to. That’s not a relationship at all. People want want to be part of a discussion, and have influence over its course.
This can be unnerving to businesses and brands that are used to retaining control of their communications, but it is also extremely exciting if you can adapt, learn, and be nimble enough to take advantage of the tremendous value that the direct relationships you cultivate with your consumers will yield.
If there is one thing to take away from this post, it is to find ways for your business to be more proactively social on social media. You don’t sit on your hands waiting for consumers to learn about your business or brand in the offline world. You market, advertise, write press releases, work to generate word of mouth, and develop and build relationships. All of this is proactive and action oriented.
On social media you should really be doing the same. Try to avoid turning social media into a broadcast channel for your content, and get involved with your consumers where they are interacting and engaging on the social web.
How do you proactively engage socially with your consumers online?
In future posts I’ll get into details about how you can initiate a dialogue with consumers on social media, as well as how you can overcome organizational barriers to being more social.
In the meantime, it would be great to chat with you about your thoughts on this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Undeniably, the people around us influence our behaviour, and the same holds true on social media.
In a recent article on PR Daily about the persuasive power of ‘likes’, that cites a recent study conducted by the New York Times, it is revealed that an initial ‘like’ will increase the chances of a subsequent ‘like’ by as much as 32 percent.
This study reaffirms what many of us intuitively know; that people tend to be followers in some capacity.
And there is power in this.
Before we get into how you can tap this knowledge for the benefit of your business’ social media and content marketing, I want to point out that the same statistic didn’t hold up in this study when it came to down votes, or negative comments. People didn’t seem to demonstrate the same level of being influenced by negativity as they did positivity. That’s great to know.
Following are a few thoughts about how marketers, advertisers, business owners, and brand managers might be able to benefit from this information:
Seed your content
In a recent article I discussed the importance of promoting and seeding your content, and this study supports just how important that can be. If you can get the eyes of brand influencers and loyalists on your content early, you are much more likely to receive an initial wave of positivity. When other consumers discover your content, already with indication of it being ‘liked’, shared or positively commented on, they will be significantly more likely to follow suit, creating even greater momentum.
Ask loyalists, evangelists, and ambassadors for their help
While I don’t necessarily recommend blasting your entire audience with a plea to ‘like’ every piece of content you publish – it can come across as being a bit desperate – you may want to consider asking your loyalists, evangelists, and ambassadors to give your content a little ‘like’-love to give it a fighting chance of gaining greater traction.
Nurture and invest in positivity
It can be difficult for businesses and brands to see the value in nurturing a small list of influencers or loyalists, but their small bit of positivity can create a huge sense of social validation that can build momentum for not only your social media content, but your business, products, services, brand image, and more. Achieving high levels of engagement can be supremely valuable, and if your influencers and loyalists can help to boost your engagement rates, then you should really be investing to cultivate them.
Don’t let a negative minority get to you
It’s easy to let the odd bit of negative sentiment on social media get under your skin. And who can blame you? This is your business or brand that jerk (I restrained myself) is talking about! But don’t sweat it. You certainly don’t want negativity to get out of hand, or to ignore it, but just because you receive the odd down vote, negative comment, or less than stellar review, doesn’t mean that your entire audience is all of a sudden going to jump ship. Chances are that they’ll see the negativity for what it is, and retain their positive perception of your business or brand.
What strategies do you employ to create a sense of social validation?
Are you more or less likely to ‘like’, read, click or comment on something when others have first?
What effect does social validation have on you as a consumer?
It would be awesome to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Before you put time, effort and money into creating amazing content, you should develop a content promotion plan.
For most businesses and brands, attaining a critical number of hits on their content is of utmost importance. Goals, objectives and KPIs tend to be built around audience engagement and conversion, and I hate to break the news to you, but your content isn’t going to work toward converting people that don’t see it.
Failing to properly promote your content means you’re missing out on maximizing the ROI of your social media and content marketing efforts.
So, what to do?
The good news is that there are many channels through which you can promote your content to a highly relevant targeted audience.
Following are a few ideas for inclusion in your content promotion plan:
I know it’s obvious, but paid media is a great way to get a predictable number of hits on your perfectly crafted, and highly valuable content. There are many options at your disposal that allow for hyper-targeting your ads to guarantee that you’re paying for only the most relevant eyes to fall upon your content. By choosing ad products with great targeting capabilities, you can greatly increase the efficiency of conversions.
One thing I want to address here is that many people that I speak with feel like paying for an audience to view your content is somehow ‘cheating’ at social media. The reality is that every large-scale marketing organization that kills it on social media is paying to get as many eyes on their content as possible in one way or another. Paid media, in many cases, should be a strong consideration for content promotion.
There are many people that will tell you that publishing your content on every imaginable social media network is the path to successfully promoting your content. The assumption that is made by these people is that you have a significant social media following or fan base to begin with, which isn’t always the case.
Absolutely yes, you should cross promote your content on your business’ various social media platforms, but unless you’ve got a huge community, don’t expect this alone to be a highly effective method of content promotion.
How many people do you work with? How many personal connections do you have in your target demographic? How many personal connections do the people you work with have in your target demographic?
When you’re thinking about an approach to promoting your content, sometimes the beginning of a groundswell is sitting all around you at your workplace. Encourage your coworkers, employees, managers, and partners to share your business’ content with their social graphs, and you do the same. Sure you’re not likely to garner thousands of hits this way, but it’s easy, and even better, it’s free.
If you are conducting even the most basic social listening, you should know who your biggest advocates are, which consumers have demonstrated extreme interest in your business or brand, and which online and social communities exist that have a focus on your business, brand, category, competition, or other relevant themes.
When you’ve got amazing new content to publish, consider sending it to these people and communities and asking them to share it amongst their audiences. Depending on whom you ask to distribute your content, particularly if they are of significant status, you may need to sweeten the deal with a little cash, some free product, a pre-baked social media contest that they can execute with their community, or some other incentive.
There are times when the best place to maximize exposure of your content isn’t within your own social media communities. The basic principle with guest posting is to go where your audience is, and provide value with your content through those channels. Guest posting blog content is a prime example of this, and many high-profile blogs will consider publishing guest contributions if they meet their audiences’ expectations for quality and subject matter, is of value, and is topical.
Not only will this gain that particular piece of content tremendous viewership, but it will work toward establishing you, your business and brand, as being an authority within your category, and ultimately draw traffic back to your official social media networks.
The recommendations I’ve made here are fairly general and should be applicable to most businesses and brands. However, feel free to get creative with where you promote your content, and be sure to choose channels based on where your specific target audience can be reached.
What tactics do you employ to promote your content?
Which tactics do you find to be most effective?
Is content promotion part of your ongoing social media and content strategy?
It would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial