Although we’re a small agency, Prototype Creative works with some extremely large companies and brands that require a lot of management. Because of this, we often find ourselves having to work much smarter and leaner than our competitors in order to ensure that we continue to deliver a high level of service to our clients while not missing out on new opportunities.
One of my all-time favorite approaches deals with how we utilize social media on behalf of our clients.
So how did such a small agency turn one client from a bedroom-seller to a supermarket favorite with a Facebook community of over 28,000 fans? What did we do to achieve such a high level of engagement? Read on to find out!
In short, we massaged the egos of our top social influences and turned them into powerful brand ambassadors.
As of today, there are more than five different Facebook pages dedicated to this brand, including the one with over 28,000 fans mentioned above. What’s more, neither our agency nor our client actually runs ANY of these pages.
First, a little transparency; our client’s self-tanner product hits one of the most powerful demographics available on Facebook and is a firm favorite with the subset of 20-25 year old females. This slice of the market is something we consider to be one of the most profitable segments with regard to disposable income. They are highly active on Facebook, and obsessed with appearances.
Our four-step process to building social engagement is something we’ve successfully utilized on a number of occasions, for multiple clients. It represents our most successful approach to market integration and brand awareness to date.
So, how does it work?
1. Find your market
Regardless of your market, your proposition or your product, your customers are already out there somewhere. The tricky part is to identify where that population lives online. Artisan E Liquids for E Cigs? Reddit. Car enthusiasts? Facebook and forums. This persona research is key and we’re blessed to have a team that is eager to dive into this analytic data.
In the case of the above-mentioned self-tanner client, we found that their audience tended to put a lot of trust in fashion bloggers and engage with content shared by their peers on Facebook.
2. Capture and build
In contrast to the shock-and-awe approach, we wanted to capture our client’s customers in a surgically precise, two-pronged attack.
Based on the research we had on the audience, we decided that the best avenues were product placement through trusted bloggers and social capture through Facebook.
We then distributed our created content through a cultivated list of bloggers, to whom we also shipped out product samples.We requested that any reviews link to the social media accounts linked to the products we were promoting. This request was provided along with the usual list of requested links.
We highlighted these social accounts as being of paramount importance. We believed this approach would enable us to capture the market and wanted to ensure we pushed them to platforms the audience used regularly.
It’s important to note that this strategy didn’t exist in a vacuum. Before we bagan reaching out to bloggers and social media, we seeded all of the client’s social media accounts with carefully crafted content, relevant competitions and built up a small number of users that provided an insane level of engagement. By doing this, we lead users to an active Facebook page and captured the Innovators and the Early Adopters.
You’ve seen them all on Facebook before; eager to share some “amazing” brand, or always saying how much this “Awesome little company they’ve found.” While many will find it annoying, it was the influence of these users that we wanted to leverage in order to push our product awareness.
3. Reward innovators and early adopters
These cutting-edge users dictate trends for the rest of their audience. They love to be part of something new and exciting. While they represent a small portion of customers, they’re the most powerful with regard to starting trends.
So, how did we identify this powerful user base? We cultivated a list of users that fit our profile (20-25 females), engaged with historic content and who had been talking about the product regularly.Our spreadsheet had all the demographic information we could grab about the users’ name, age, website, favorite content and so on.
Now that we had our list of influencers, to work from, we reached out to them. We told them they were extremely valuable and we appreciated the help they had given to the company and brand.
We started small and noticed that these users would naturally increase the amount of engagement and the value they brought as our relationship deepened. We soon had a list of super users that we messaged and thanked on a regular basis, even offering products to them before they became available.
4. Customer service
During all of this, we also used Facebook (and Twitter) as customer service channels. We had many of the brand’s customers communicating and interacting with the profile and found it was the best CS tool that the brand had available for their product.
One thing we noticed during all of this was that our army of influencers began supplementing our CS process. They would often answer questions from other users without us even being involved. We laid the groundwork for this automation by setting precedents for customer interaction in both social and other media.
We actually found that users who had their questions answered by another user would lead them to become MORE engaged, and this in turn meant they would grow to become part of our list of super users. As our list grew, our VIP users evolved and we were able to rapidly grow our engagement and reach tenfold by simply rewarding our brand ambassadors and making them feel special.
Prototype Creative’s methodology for promoting a new brand using social media influencers is simple: seed, cultivate, lead and reward.
- Seed your product with key users
- Cultivate a list of innovators and early adopters
- Lead by example with content and engagement
- Reward for the time they put into your brand
At the end of the day, simply promoting your content via an engaged group of proven influencers within a given demographic can achieve dramatic results! Let them know they’re part of a community and they’ll do the hard work for you.