As more and more people adopt social media tools and get used to Tweeting, Liking and Checking In, smart marketers are employing a raft of tactics to get them to do more and more of just that.
One of the most important reasons to promote and incentivize sharing on social networks is that it can multiply your message and carry just a hint of referral, albeit it very faint one.
Even small, local businesses can take a clue from large organizations, like Dell and national events like the MLB All-Star Game to create a “command center” approach to promoting a concentrated happening such as a new product launch, new store opening or seasonal sale. The key is to approach it as a very special event and not something you’re trying to maintain long-term.
You may, in fact, discover some elements do play long-term, but most businesses and their customer base can’t sustain something like this more than a days and couple of times a year.
Let’s take a common example that a local retailer might explore – Black Friday.
Black Friday has become a major shopping holiday in the U.S. as shoppers head out to snap up deals the day after Thanksgiving. (Between you and me, I prefer Small Business Saturday, but that’s another story.)
Many big box chains spend heavily in local markets in an attempt to lure local shoppers with loss leader pricing. Local shops generally can’t compete on price so they need to get creative and I think the command center could be the answer.
For this illustration you might create an “anti Black Friday” or “shop local” promotion and employ social media as your bullhorn.
A noteworthy assumption here is that you’ve been active on social media and have created at least some engagement and following. It’s tough to go “poof, I’m social.”
The way to make this work is make it one person’s responsibility to create and monitor all of the moving parts. Think in terms of the technology, services, monitors, etc that your point person will need to keep tabs and keep promoting.
Choose one or all of the following to build social media buzz around your promotion.
- Create logo for your theme! – a simple visual to use in all of your merchandising for the event can be a great tool when it comes to sharing on sites with images.
- Decide on and check an event hashtag – choose a #hashtag that you will use throughout – make sure to check and see if it’s in use by some other cause or theme as you don’t want to find out mid-sale that your hashtag is also slang for a very naughty act in some Iowa subculture.
- Claim your Facebook location for checkins – if you have not yet done so claim your location on Facebook and create ways for people to earn prizes by checking in on their Facebook page. (Check out Wildfire and North Social apps.)
- Twitter hashtag tweets – Start tweeting using your hashtag a week prior and create in store posters, flyers and emails to publicize all of your social media activity during the event
- Choose a local or related charity partner and donate so much per tweet or share during the day
- Twitter search – Set up a number of twitter searches related to products and other aspects of your event and reach out to people tweeting before and during your event
- Pinterest – Create a Pinterest account and start pinning images of products you are featuring during the event
- Live Blog – Create a live blog on your WordPress blog with this plugin or use Tumblr and create updates throughout the day
- Live Tweets – Assign someone in store to live tweet out hourly specials, giveaways and images of happy customers using the hashtag
- Google Hangout Live to YouTube – Run hourly Google+Hangouts streamed live to YouTube and announce offerings, interview customers and create news like coverage
- Foursquare checkins – Create Foursquare checkins particularly focused on swarm discounts
- Hourly specials – Promote your hourly specials on every channel
- Display real time stream – Use a tool like Postano to display real-time tweet and social stream in the event
- Bring Facebook into the event – Install a camera station and let customers upload images to the Facebook pages for even more free stuff
- Hide discount codes in YouTube videos – Create a series of YouTube videos featuring products on sale during the event and hide discount code in the videos and promote sharing the videos and codes
- Facebook ads – Run tightly focused Facebook ads and promoted content ads focused on local and related brands – if you sell certain brands target any local fans of the brand or product category
- Tweet branded messages to get early, early access – Create early, early bird access for people that fan, like, share and RT
- Consider a street team – think about sending employees out into busy places throughout the day to surprise shoppers with free stuff for tweeting, Liking or sharing images.
Another benefit to all of this work is the momentum factor. Even if someone doesn’t veer off course on the given day of your sale, there’s a good chance that you’ve exposed a great number of people to your business and some of those might decide to check you out later.
I’m not suggesting this won’t take some work and planning, but hey, the little guy wins always wins when they outsmart and outhustle the big guy.
So, any ideas you care to add to the list?