Inspire word of mouth recommendations from your loyal fans

Woman using coupon 1.22.1392% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising—an increase of 18 percent since 2007, according to a study from Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy. *

Many marketers have put considerable effort into enticing fans to join their communities on Facebook, google+, Twitter and Pinterest. And why do fans accept the invitation? They are extending their approval and loyalty, but they are also expecting exclusive offers, invitations or opportunities to participate in promotions. What have you done lately to retain those fans, show appreciation and inspire word of mouth recommendations from your fans and followers?

CoupSmart, (full disclosure: Raise Your Share provides sales & marketing for the company) is all about the science of social couponing. According to CoupSmart, 58% of consumers cite coupons as the top reason to follow a brand on Twitter and Facebook. That means your posts, your pics, and your poems– they’re all fine and dandy, but (per usual) it’s money that really talks. Realize that there’s been a one-third increase in coupon usage since 2007. That’s huge.

So what’s the big deal? Why social coupons?

More consumers now than ever are pre-shopping. That is, they’re making decisions before they even leave the comfort of their home or office. In today’s faced-paced world, people know what they want, where to go, and how much they’re going to spend before they shop, and that’s all heavily dependent on where the deals are. According to CoupSmart’s research, the percentage of consumers searching online for coupons before making a decision on what to buy and where to shop doubled in 2011 to– wait for it– 64%.

CoupSmart offers a simple and straightforward concept

(1) Offer an exclusive deal, (2) make it worthwhile for the consumer and (3) make it available only for a limited time. It sounds simple, and it is. CoupSmart’s tech makes it so. Like all things social, the key is to let your strategy work for you. Services like CoupSmart are delivered to your fans on Facebook. Automated analytics work with you to track who responds, how often, and which offers they redeem, providing a sense of accountability for where, exactly, marketing dollars are going. The key is turning the passive observer into an active user – a fan into a customer. Offering an exclusive offer to your fans, which, in turn, allows them to make a word of mouth recommendation by sharing the offer, satisfies your fan’s expectations and gives them a way of including their friends too! Everybody wins.

Contact Raise Your Share for more information about what CoupSmart can do for you. Want to learn more about couponing with social media? Follow CoupSmart’s blog now.

* Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages report, 2011

3 social networking sites to bolster your strategy

Blog 1.15.13If you’re allocating portions of your advertising budget for social or digital media, odds are you’re investing in Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or LinkedIn. When it comes to market share, the logic is sound: Twitter and Facebook continue to dominate the world of social, Google has yet to loosen its grip as the “Boss Tweed” of search engines, and LinkedIn is a no-brainer for companies looking to expand their presence in the professional digi-sphere. For those with some spare advertising change (or not) and a bit of gusto, consider viable alternatives with your marketing strategy.

Here are three options you’re probably not considering yet:

Pinterest
Pinterest was the dark horse from day one, but is starting to show up on marketing strategies, especially for retailers. According to an eBizMBA ranking in December 2012, Pinterest is the 10th most-used social networking site on the web. With 15.5 million users, Pinterest could be a gold mine for the social-savvy company looking to break into a relatively untapped (at least in comparison to Facebook) area of new media marketing. Businesses that rely heavily on visuals (interior designers, publications, photographers, jewelers, fashion designers, etc.) will find Pinterest to be an ideal platform. The best part— it’s free. Businesses can’t advertise directly on Pinterest. They instead “pin” photos to be followed and shared by fans. As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

StumbleUpon
For those familiar with StumbleUpon, this might seem like a curve ball. Advertise with a site that allows users to “stumble” around the internet aimlessly? How? Truth is, there are some advantages to paid discovery with StumbleUpon. For one, you’re automatically exposing your business to a user demographic that’s primarily composed of educated young adults and college kids. The perks? There are no ads or links here. Just webpages. StumbleUpon exists for the sole purpose of trafficking surfers to other sites. So there’s no Timeline, no profile, no blog— the traffic’s delivered to your doorstep.

Foursquare
Earlier this year, Foursquare completely revamped their advertising model, allowing companies to begin to pay for promoted updates. According to Forbes, “adults who used Foursquare in the last 30 days are 72% more likely than adults in general to live in households with annual income of $100,000 or more.” That’s one heck of a demographic. The fact that the same study also found that Foursquare users “are more than twice as likely to indicate that an important reason for using/visiting social networking sites is to show their support for favorite brands and companies” is just icing on the cake. With over 20 million registered users, at the very least, claim your business listing to make sure your information is accurate and get free access to Foursquare’s business tools.

Generating a social media strategy for small business

Social media and big business have a special kind of love affair. The problem is, when it comes to small businesses capitalizing on social resources, there’s often the all-to-daunting question of where, exactly, to start. This confusion often spawns a seemingly prototypical response: Social is not right for my business. It is easy to dismiss the potential of social media marketing when that first blog or tweet goes un-talked about. Read on for some tips for where to start when generating a social media marketing strategy for a small business.

Be your own bookie
Numbers are key to knowing where to focus your energy. While outsourcing is an efficient solution, it’s not completely necessary to launch by employing a third-party analytics or automation platform. Keeping track of your social activity might be, at first, as easy as logging your daily ratio of tweets to re-tweets. How many individuals “Liked” an update? What was the subject matter of that post? All of these are things to note.

Know the relationship between media and platform
The type of media you’re trying to publish has a close relationship with the platform you are using for distribution. For instance, Tweeting is ideal for hyperlinks, URL’s and quick bytes of information. Pinterest is great for images. Facebook is excellent for sharing, contesting, couponing and telling stories. Think about what you are putting out there and recognize the ideal platform to utilize.

Rebuild your brand
When you go social, you are telling the world that you are ready to interact. You have just showed up at the party of the year and it’s time to prove to everyone just how interesting you are. Maybe the sign outside your office is beige; your best customer is your eighty-year-old relative or you only have three employees— none of it matters anymore. Stepping into the world of social media marketing is a fresh start for your brand, your image, and the dialect through which you choose to translate. Why are you different from your competition? What do you want people to notice? Think of it as the first day of high school.

Invest in your community
Big things have small beginnings. Share your insights with the community and develop a group of references, mentors, partners, and affiliates with a presence on social networks. Address questions, concerns, events, and trends in your area and collaborate with local entities to maximize local impact on a global scene through couponing, special offers, sponsorship, and symbiotic promotions. Keep it close to home.

Publishing pros cite 5 benefits for establishing a Facebook presence now.

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Five tangible benefits to consider as you are weighing your Facebook investment:<a
1. Content syndication
2. CRM/customer support
3. Story development/R&D
4. Subscription revenue
5. Sponsorship revenue
Read the entire article from emedia vitals last newsletter of 2010:
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