Social Media - A Coupon Clipper's Delight?
There's plenty of debate as to why consumers track their favorite brands via social media channels. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone with functional neurons that they do so for free stuff. According to a consumer survey by Cone, 77 percent of consumers look for incentives via online channels when deciding whether to engage or not, and nearly half of them are looking on social media networks. The danger of studies like this is the possibility that companies using social media will simply decide to give consumers want they want.
So before rushing out to post 50 percent off coupons, contests and free bacon for everyone on your Twitter account – think about what all these giveaways net a business. Sure, they bring followers, but social media marketing is still in its infancy and far too many executives still believe that the metric they need to pay the most attention to is follower count. It's not surprising. That's the most visible number and the easiest to understand. But while giveaways and coupons drive up those metrics, they don't create engagement – the social media holy grail and the white whale that all social media wonks dream of but all too often fall short of. When not supported by true engagement, free (or discounted) stuff does nothing to create brand advocacy or future purchase consideration. Creating engagement takes a bit more effort. The elements are simple, but far from easy:
1) Customer service: Brands live or die by their customer service and it's no different on social media communities. If anything, it's magnified. Customers expect their needs to be addressed almost instantly when reaching out via Twitter or Facebook and often more effectively than if they were calling a traditional customer support number. But there are advantages as well – brands can be proactive, swooping in like some branded superhero when there's a discussion about the company's products or services and come out looking golden. Plus, the transparency allowed by the public nature of these channels means the world can see either the efforts you're making to make things right, or that a customer is being unreasonable. Either way, if done right not only does the customer feel better, but their entire social network gets the warm fuzzies about the company.Continued on the next page