Marketing is dead, long live marketing!
Okay, so that might be taking things to extremes, but there is no doubt that the marketing and advertising landscape is a lot different now to what is was ten or fifteen years ago. Where companies would once bombard their target audience, whether they were a B2B or B2C organization, with marketing promoting themselves, people are now looking for greater endorsement before they part with their cash.
The following table, based on research from Marketo, shows just how important it is to engage the audience and turn your customers into your marketing team.
While only 33% of people trust and make a purchase based on an advert alone, a massive 92% trust product or service reviews, and use them as a key informant for their ultimate purchasing decision.
You might not want to accept it, but the reality is that customers are not listening to you anymore. It is up to you, then, to turn this to your advantage, and make your customers share your content to get your message across and recommend you to everyone they engage with through social media, as well as in the real world.
What are the top five ways you can engage your audience to share your content, and bring new business to your brand?
Play the Game
The vast majority of people who have an individual presence on social media do so because they want to stay connected with friends, and have fun. If content sharing is not fun, people simply are not going to do it. Therefore, you need to turn content sharing into a game from which you reap the rewards.
How can you make this happen?
Easily the best way to make social media work for you in this respect is to share two or three thoughts with your audience. Remember to let them know you are going to do it first, however.
When the time comes, simply post three posts on your timeline, relating to products, services, or opinions from your company. Ask your followers to re-share the content that they most agree with. Immediately, those that are engaged with what you do will be putting your name in the eyes of a wider audience. Later, announce the winner, encourage people to share this news too, and perhaps even name drop some of the people who voted for it to show that you love your audience.
Before you jump in and think, “We’ve tried this,” you need to think about going further than product discounts for things that your market might not want.
Think about what you offer as a company, and come up with the biggest and best incentive you can think of. For example, if you were an SEO agency targeting other businesses, you might run a promotion that says, “Everyone who shares 10 links from our site will be entered into a prize draw to win two months SEO work FREE.”
Straight away, people are going to pay attention to that. All you need to do is tailor what you offer based on what you do, and what you can afford. Smaller examples might be that you are going to send five new products to people who share a link two weeks before the official launch.
Target Your Audience’s Human Side
Whether it is for the sake of their own vanity or because they have real belief in a good cause, people love to share things that are helping the community, whether on a local or a global level.
Think of an initiative you could take part in. Perhaps for every share you could donate something to charity. Not only does the sharing have an impact in terms of people seeing your brand and for SEO, the people who do engage see you as doing something good, and will then be more likely to recommend you themselves.
Run an Exclusive Offer
Many products and services, especially subscriptions, are sold based on something being exclusive. Obviously, whatever it is will be down to what you do, but if we continue with the example of the SEO company, you could offer your top sharers exclusive access to a powerful range of SEO tools for a certain period.
Another idea might be that anyone who shares a piece of content can then email you and qualify to be sent an exclusive product, either before the official launch, as we suggested earlier, or even better, on a limited edition basis.
Promote Growth with Mutual Value
You could apply this point within any of the previous four, but we believe that it is so important to content sharing that it deserves its own highlight.
There is a chance you might have been looking through our suggested options so far and thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Admittedly, sometimes you have to write off some products in the form of a giveaway in order to try and drag attention and more money towards your business. However, if you do not wish to follow that path, you could always create a ‘co-value’ promotion, where both sides benefit and you make a profit.
For example, you could begin a referral program where anyone doing business with you as a result of shared content receives a small discount, as does the client or customer who did the sharing. Another idea might be to offer a discount if 10 businesses sign up together, which could work given the rapport and willingness of small businesses to work together.
The Value of Sharing
Your audience sharing your content is great, and how you motivate them to do so is likely to be crucial to your marketing strategy over the coming years. These ideas will all need to play some part in your thinking if you are to be a success; remember the huge discrepancy in the numbers who trust adverts versus personal recommendations.
The trick, of course, is to ensure that you are able to turn shares and awareness into sales and growth. These ideas, and others that you come up with yourself, will help you to achieve these goals.
Karl is an online content writer who works with a range of SEO specialists in London to produce a wide range of copy, including blogs, press releases, and research studies.