As discussed in How to Leverage Social Sites Like a Content King, social media sites are becoming an extremely valuable tool for brands and content professionals to master and it is not hard to see why. There are tens of millions of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users worldwide, who are not only observing and listening to what brands are saying but are joining in on the conversation. What makes these social sites different than any other medium is that they allow users to interact with their favorite brands, creating and sharing content on the brand’s behalf. For brands that creatively engage their audience, the possibilities are endless.
Several brands have taken the initiative and begun incorporating interactive campaigns into their social media strategy. Through the use of games, surveys, contests and participation-based promotions, brands have managed to get their audiences fully involved and excited about their products. Companies that participate in this type of interactive approach can gain valuable insight, build relationships and encourage organic growth. Here are four lessons to take away from social media interaction, brought to us by some pioneer brands that are leading the way.
Lesson 1: Promote Audience Participation
Every year Coca-Cola partakes in the highly anticipated frenzy of Super Bowl commercials and for the last couple of years they created campaigns that were driven by their devoted fan’s participation. The 2013 campaign, “Coke Chase,” leveraged real-time interaction that prompted Coca-Cola fans to vote for the outcome of the commercial. Three teams (Cowboys, Showgirls and BadLanders) competed against each other and with the contribution of thousands of voters a winner was declared. This campaign demonstrates how consumers can play a pivotal role in a brand’s story. Fans enjoy participating in the storytelling process, rather than solely being just another viewer.
Lesson 2: Increase Word-of-Mouth with Incentives
Express, a popular fashion brand among young adults with apparel for both men and women is leading the fashion industry with an innovative awards program. Express Next, the company’s points system, rewards their participating members for the following:
- RE-TWEET AN EXPRESS TWEET = 5 POINTS – Enjoy 5 bonus points up to 4 times a month when you re-tweet an @ExpressLife tweet.
- REVIEW AN ITEM ON EXPRESS.COM = 10 POINTS – Earn points when you post a product review at Express.com up to 2 times a month.
This approach keeps consumers continually engaged with the brand, while gathering insight, driving traffic and spreading word-of-mouth. Not only does it keep their current customers involved and building the relationship already established, it also reaches new potential consumers by nurturing organic growth through digital “word-of-mouth.” Word-of-Mouth is still a very powerful marketing tool.
Lesson 3: Encourage Consumer Created Content
Firehouse Subs is always finding new ways to get its customers actively involved. Their latest social media campaign encourages customers to snap a picture with a NASCAR driver cutout – found in local Firehouse Sub restaurants – to win free prizes. It’s simple: you are rewarded for creating content. This type of campaign gets customers to post for the Firehouse Subs brand, making the content on their social media channels more organic and influential. Customers that create content for the brand are playing the role of brand spokesperson and influencing their peers. Companies should take advantage of apps like Instagram and encourage consumers to create content for them any chance they get. Not only is it cost effective, it’s also very influential.
Lesson 4: Strike an Emotional Connection
IKEA, one of the world’s most recognized furniture retailers, reached its success through the implementation of an interactive campaign that struck an emotional nerve with its audience. They embraced the art of emotional storytelling to connect with its consumers by uploading images of new showrooms and relying on the popular photo tagging function to entice people to interact with the page. The first person to tag their name in the picture would win the product. Imagine the buzz this created: hundreds of people won living room and bedroom sets. Emotions were running high and Facebook was buzzing about the IKEA giveaway. An emotional connection will get people involved and talking.
Social media is a powerful tool that can create relationships between customers and brands, especially if the lessons above are studied and applied. Companies have millions of brand enthusiasts and content creators at their disposal if they just tap into the right emotion. The more a brand can encourage its audience to interact and engage with them, the more they can grow. Allowing people to become a part of the brand’s story gives them more reason to create and share content. Every brand or content creator should take note of these examples to leverage social sites and get their audience involved in a new and exciting way.