Best Practices for Driving Measurable Results Via Social Marketing Programs
As the social marketing landscape continues to evolve, so do the methods in which brands calculate and quantify the results of their social marketing investments. Back in 2009, brands began their social media marketing initiatives with monitoring tools and by building profiles on Facebook and Twitter. In 2010, the focus shifted to driving engagement metrics, including "likes" and "followers."
Brands have made significant investments in building social marketing presences and amassing social followers, but the question still remains: What's the real value of these social marketing initiatives? As we move into the next phase of social media marketing, what's top of mind for every marketer is how to drive measurable results from their social marketing investments. Tapping into the power of consumer-to-consumer (C-to-C) dialogs across channels enables brands to drive quantifiable results via social referral programs.
Social referral programs, by nature, tap into consumers’ need to share information and content with their peers, resulting in C-to-C conversations. If brands can properly harness the power of these C-to-C dialogs, they can identify highly engaged, loyal advocates and turn them into social advocates who, in turn, refer the brands and the products and/or services they sell to their friends across their social graphs. Social referral programs foster the creation and sharing of consumer-generated content by incentivizing social advocates to refer their friends.
Successfully executed social referral programs drive measurable social marketing results for brands and create a high-value marketing channel. Here are some best practices when creating your social referral program:
- Make referring easy. Providing the right sharing tools to make it easy for your customer advocates to share their passions about your brand with friends and social communities is one of the most critical elements of any social referral program. Advocates can share social referral programs with their friends in a number of ways, including email, personal URL (PURL), Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.
- Promote across channels. The more customers who see a social referral program the more likely those customers will become advocates and share the program with their friends. Use your available owned assets to promote your programs, including corporate website, email lists, social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and key customer touchpoints throughout the customer experience.
- Increase participation with incentives. The offer or reason to share is the fundamental driving force behind a social referral program. Effective programs provide customer advocates with a compelling reason to share the program with their friends and incentivize those friends to engage with your brand as well. Offering incentives can dramatically amplify participation.
- Make it personal. A simple and personalized friend experience fosters a high level of trust in the referral experience, which leads to engagement and participation. One of the most effective ways to create a personalized experience is via a friend landing page. A friend landing page is the page that a friend sees upon clicking on a trusted recommendation from your customer advocate. That landing page should communicate what the program is about and the offer, as well as include a call to action for conversion.
- Add recognition and gamification. Tap into human desires and behavior to compete, excel and be recognized for achievement. Add in leaderboards and scoring to your referral program to foster participation and additional sharing.
Armed with these best practices for social referral programs, marketers can map their goals and objectives to their results. The measures of an effective social referral program are participation, amplification, friend clicks, referral traffic, clickthrough rate and conversion rate. The ability to track and measure across these dimensions and channels enables brands to optimize their program for ongoing success.