As online publishers fight to survive through growing their traffic online, engaging their audience and finding creative ways to monetize their page views, creating a dialogue with a loyal user base has never been as important.
Marketers can learn from this in their approach to social media marketing and start thinking like a publisher. Here are five tips that can help spark conversation, as well as build the much needed relationship with your most valuable assets: your brand advocates.
1. Give them something to talk about.Burger King did something right when they created the "Sacrifice" campaign on Facebook which asked Facebooker's to "sacrifice" eight friends in exchange for a free Whopper. Thousands of people were asking, "do I remove those people from high school that aren't really my friend, maybe that scary guy in accounting or that ex-girlfriend that won't leave me alone. This played out across the blogosphere and was redistributed thanks to all the "sharing' functionality and various networks like Twitter.
2. Listen. Monitor what people are saying about your brand and listen after you engage them. Recently a brand I work with slipped up and released a press release about a product launch too early. Management freaked. Their social media champion was able to showcase all the great discussion of what people were saying and worked closely with the pr / marketing team to use that discussion to clarify some missunderstandings and improve their positioning.
3. Foster relationship through offering social currency. Your brand advocates obsess over things that you might see mundane. Think about how you can arm them with "inside information," cool opportunities that they might not normally experience or features within their social media destinations that will make them happy. Arm bloggers with opportunities they can feed their audience, sponsor features that make their blogging easier, offer skins, design themes, layouts so they can show off gorgeous designs on their profiles/blogs.
4. Align with influencers to create something unforgettable. Creating incentives that are in line with the needs of your target market helps drive adoption and helps cut through the overwhelming clutter. What is the dream vacation that you can provide to an influential blogger? How can you create the ultimate sports vacation? Once you create the idea, then the question to answer is: How can I amplify that amazing opportunity throughout blogs, social networks through driving conversation, commenting, sharing, etc.