Consistently publishing quality content and disseminating it via your own social channels is great, but the real power in social media lies in the influence of your followers. In other words, a successful social media strategy is defined by whether or not people are talking about you.
Three Tips for Sparking Social Conversations
Let’s say you’re browsing social media and you see a paid post from Nike about a new pair of running shoes that just hit the market. They claim that these running shoes are five-times lighter than the closest competitor’s shoe and that they’re twice as comfortable. You make a mental note – but in the back of your mind this statement is rooted in some level of bias – so you keep scrolling.
A day later, you see one of your closest friends post a picture wearing these same Nike shoes, and going on and on about how comfortable and lightweight they are. Suddenly, you’re a bit more intrigued. Then, five minutes later, you see another friend holding her new shoes and saying the exact same thing. Now you’re sold.
This is the value of organic mentions. While advertisements and statements coming from the brand aren’t ignored, they’re certainly discounted. But when a customer with no stake in the game praises a product, it comes across as much more believable.
Whether you’re a name brand or a small business, you need to focus less on self-promotion and more on sparking genuine conversations.
- Leverage the Shock Factor
Safe just doesn’t do it. While a press release may sound like a great idea from your perspective, how many of today’s customers actually care about what one says? The only way to generate conversation is by delivering the shock factor.
You’ll have to get creative in order to generate a shock that’s loud enough to get people excited, but common options include releasing a viral video, offering free giveaways, and presenting limited time offers or flash sales.
- Give People a Stake in the Conversation
While not quite as valuable as generating random and spontaneous conversation, you can encourage organic social mentions by giving customers a stake in the conversation. This typically happens in the context of an affiliate program.
To see what this looks like in practice, check out KicksUSA’s Affiliate Squad Program. With this program, KicksUSA partners with social media users and bloggers to feature their products and (hopefully) drive sales. It’s a powerful method for engaging customers via their peers and tends to produce strong results.
- Identify and Target Influencers
There are certain people within your industry who carry more weight than others. These individuals are known as influencers and tend to have large audiences, successful blogs, or some other sort of recognizable platform.
If you can identify, target, and successfully leverage these influencers, you’ll find it exponentially easier to generate word of mouth on social media. Once they start talking about your products, their followers will take notice and join the conversation. You may have to pay for relationships with influencers, but there are also plenty of backdoor ways to successfully target them free of charge.
Shut Up and Listen
There’s a lot to be said for taking an aggressive and proactive stance on social media branding, but it’s certainly not the only approach. As time passes and we learn more about what does and doesn’t work, it’s becoming clear that sparking organic social conversations is exponentially more valuable than talking about yourself.
The sooner brands understand this and invest in word of mouth marketing, the better off they’ll be.