Most companies have not fully 'got' social media yet. Sure, they have a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a LinkedIn presence, but then what? Wait for the world to beat a path to your door? Run a few promotional campaigns and see few results? Wait for the CEO to ask "why have we only got X number of Facebook followers?"
Many brands have a somewhat passive, reactive approach to social media marketing. EngageSciences is an interesting UK start-up with a pro-active social media formula for businesses and brands wishing to attract new social media followers, and then to monetize that presence.
Firstly, you need to sign up a critical mass of fans. EngageSciences encourages its clients to create viral campaigns on Facebook and Twitter that give away something for free. Digital marketers might run prize draws, online sweepstakes, contests and quizzes, or offer exclusive premium downloadable content, such as a white paper, for example.
These incentives can prove surprisingly effective. For example, Unilever (Pot Noodles) increased their Facebook fans from 3,000 to 25,000 and Play.com increased from 40,000 to 80,000 Facebook fans within 8 weeks of using EngageSciences.
Sign-up requires an opt-in email address to be provided, so that the prize winners can be notified. Email addresses are critical pieces of digital marketing data. For digitally-savvy vendors, this contact data can then be cross-correlated with other databases and company web site visits; so that a pattern of personal behaviour can be detected that triggers further more personalised marketing communications.
Secondly, you need your fans to spend money with you. The best incentives are those that can easily 'go viral' i.e. are forwarded to friends, family and other followers. Typically these include redeemable coupons and 'flash deals' (time-constrained discount offers), such as the '2 for 1' deals used by Café Rouge and Strada restaurants, that have proved so effective. Exclusive ("offers only for you, dear fan") web page offers also work well.
As a recent IBM CRM survey proved, contra to conventional wisdom, for the most part, consumers don't really want 'relationships', and 'connection' and 'dialogue' with corporates. Consumers want offers, discounts and the ecommerce ability to purchase online. ExactTarget research reveals that Facebook consumers who are promiscuous (who "Like" a lot of brands) and those a little older (age 27+) want something of value in return for their "Like".
The EngageSciences Fan Relationship Marketing Platform provides all the technology required to push attractive offers into the key social media channels i.e. Facebook and Twitter, and capture followers' contact details for segmentation and online re-marketing.
EngageSciences' SaaS-based hosted solution is a relatively low-cost method of quickly creating a cloud-based social marketing database as a repository for follower demographic details, social behaviour, and engagement with online social media marketing campaigns. A 'test' campaign or a monthly subscription costs c. £1,000.
EngageSciences is an invaluable short-cut to market for marketers wanting to get started with executing social media marketing campaigns. Many marketers are fumbling with DIY approaches or 'big ticket' solutions that take too long to develop.
Consumers are receptive to creative online promotions now. ExactTarget research reveals that 45% of Facebook customers currently "Like" a company at least once monthly. Already the average US Facebook user "Likes" an average of 14 companies / brands. Consumer fatigue will set in over time, and fan or follower acquisition will become increasingly more difficult and expensive.
To date EngageSciences has managed to attract some impressive high calibre brands as users - Nokia, TNT and Forbes for example. One fact is clear. EngageSciences can help to re-energise a lethargic social media presence - and there are plenty of companies out there in that broad category.