Spreading Your Seeds in the New Year: the Art of Social Seeding

You spent all of 2012 clutching tightly to your traditional marketing strategies – SEO, email marketing, cold calling, snail mail and event marketing. It was a robust portfolio in which you dug deep into your financial pockets to support. But the end of the year ROI statement was not what you expected. It’s now 2013, you’ve had a month to digest and now have 11 more to act. Are you open to a new online marketing strategy? Try Social Seeding.

With social seeding you can develop a stronger relationship with your target audience through an emotional connection, quality content and highly visible platforms, which lands them right at your doorstep when they’re ready to buy.

Understand Your Audience

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You may think you have a keen understanding of your audience – but do you know what makes them tick? What makes them happy, sad, excited and enraged? You may want to dive further into your research budget to uncover some answers to these questions.

Gather qualitative data:

  • Give a survey/questionnaire: You have many options open to you when it comes to polling your audience. Use them! Likert scales, for example, are a great way measure respondents’ attitudes by asking the extent to which they agree or disagree.
  • Use Focus Groups : Ask people about their attitude towards a product, service, concept, etc. This will help you gather valuable feedback.
  • Interact with them: Face-to-face interaction tells a lot, even if it’s on a smaller scale. Mingle with people at a special event, for example. Be sure to observe and take notes on non-verbal cues.

Qualitative data does not simply count things, but is a way of recording people’s attitudes, feelings and behaviors in greater depth.

One of the main goals of social seeding is to understand how to connect with your potential consumer in a way that will elicit a deep-rooted emotion causing them to act. Put yourself in their shoes. What gets them talking and sharing? It’s always important to ask yourself—why should they care?

Create Content Your Audience Wants to See

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Pop·u·lar – appealing to general public: appealing to or appreciated by a wide range of people

You want your content to be popular, especially within your target audience.

A few attributes to be mindful of:

  • Quality: Your content needs to have depth. It needs to be strong enough to withstand being tossed around in the viral community without losing its value. It needs a purpose. It needs to stand out amidst of a pile of over-worn, unwashed and under-thought out content. Give us substance.
  • Timeliness: Keep your content fresh. Do not bombard your audience with ideas and stories that were hot topics last month. Move on to what is trending today. You will never connect with your audience in a way that causes them to share with their social network if you are lagging behind. Do your research on what’s trending and see how you can create meaningful content that reflects what’s going on now.
  • Staying positive: Never downplay the power of positivity. Don’t play hardball and discredit your competition. That kind of admiration went to those who had nothing bad to say about others, the focus was on them and the positive things they were doing. Keep the limelight on you.

Spread Your Best Content through Social Networks

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Your next step is to get your content placed on highly visible platforms. You want to confront your audience with the content so they can determine if it is worthy of re-posting, tweeting, commenting, liking and ultimately planting new seeds within their social network.
Determine which social media channels your audience hangs out in: Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Reddit, Linkedin, Pinterest and Stubbleupon are a few places to start. It might be beneficial to add this to a survey or questionnaire in order to get an idea of where you should start. Ask them how much time they spend a week in each outlet. Then go fishing where the fish are.

Ask Your Audience for Help

Although it’s sometimes good practice to challenge your audience with the invitation to buy upon their initial encounter with you, it is not always a good idea. With social seeding, you want to be much cooler in your approach. Some members of your target audience are not completely sold on your brand. By asking them to purchase immediately, you may cause them to withdraw and not give your content a chance. Your best bet in this instance is to rely on building a foundation of trust, resonating with them, and building good rapport.

Don’t Put All of Your Eggs in One Seed

shutterstock_106427135Social seeding by no means is a strategy that will carry the weight of your entire marketing campaign. It will not stand on its own. It’s meant to be a supportive role. It will increase your visibility online and build relationships with social media users which sets the stage for viewers to return to your business in the future when you can fulfill a need that they have – secondary conversion.

Keep It Up

Now you have a better understanding of the marketing art form that is social seeding. You know that you need to connect with your audience on an emotional level, create quality content that will get your target audience talking and sharing, plant the content on a highly visible platform, keep it fresh, and most importantly: keep it up.

The tough part for most marketers to understand is that there is no concrete fashion in which we can measure the profit of social seeding in terms of purchase rate/ratio. Add this to your marketing mix in 2013 and see for yourself if it makes a difference on that end of the year ROI statement. Good luck!

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About the author

Danielle Mapes