The Rise of Online Social Networks
The way we communicate with one another has changed dramatically over the past few years. While social gatherings such as dinner parties and community barbecues are still popular, millions of people now interact with each other online through social networks.
These online social networks serve a variety of purposes. Some are primarily discussion forums where users can post questions and get answers from other users. Some are platforms where users can share content such as photos, videos, and articles.
No matter what your business purposes for being on a social network, you’re going to want to use the platform’s various features to promote your products and services. The following are seven viral marketing techniques within online social networks that can help you improve your marketing performance and grow your business.
1. Create a Community
Even if you have an online forum that you use for customers to engage with you, you’re going to want to promote that community offline as well. Local business communities are a popular target for marketers, as people who live and work in the area are more likely to be engaged with local businesses than with those across the country. Through viral marketing, you can bring like-minded people together to form a community that supports and promotes your products.
For example, let’s say you’re a hair salon in Los Angeles. You can create a community for people who are looking for a hair salon in Los Angeles. Perhaps you’ll even form a group with other local hair salons, and encourage your members to engage with each other and promote your business.
2. Customize Your Email Signatures
If you’re sending regular emails to customers and prospects, you can use your emails to establish yourself as an expert in your industry. One simple way to do this is to customize your email signatures. Your email signature is everything from the heading to the body of your email. Many mail clients such as Gmail allow you to edit your email signature through the use of templates.
If you have a free moment, you can download a template from your email provider that’s representative of your business, and make edits to fit your exact needs. The more you customise your email signatures, the more you’ll stand out from the crowd. Besides, with customized signatures, you can add a touch of personality to your emails that makes them more personal.
3. Use Social Media To Its Full Potential
Just because your customers are online doesn’t mean that they’re not still a part of the offline world. One of the best ways to reach people who aren’t on social media yet but can easily find your products is through social media. When people see your company’s name in their social media feeds, they’re more likely to click on your company’s social media accounts and learn more about you and your products.
For example, if you’re a fashion designer and you have a Twitter account, you can easily share the latest fashion trends with your followers. You can use tools such as Klout to find influential people in your network, and follow them to get the latest news and trends from the industry.
4. Host Events
While virtual gatherings such as Webinars can be valuable, nothing beats meeting in person. If you’re looking for ways to engage with your customers and build a stronger connection, why not host a luncheon for your employees and select customers? You can get many benefits from hosting an in-person event, such as:
- Gathering together your employees and some of your best customers for an informal chat
- Creating a space for people to network and learn more about your products
- Finding out more about your customers and what they value
- Getting feedback about your products and whether they’re meeting your needs
- Getting to know your employees better
If you don’t have the budget for a formal event, you can still host one via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or any other video conference tool.
5. Measure The Effect of Your Viral Campaign
Now that you’ve launched a viral marketing campaign, and you’re starting to see results, it’s time to measure the impact of your efforts. How has your interaction with the public changed as a result of the campaign? Did something work that you didn’t expect? Was there a specific group of people that you reached that would have bought from you, had you not engaged with them through a viral campaign?
By understanding how certain campaigns worked (or failed to work), you can improve your strategy for the next one. You can also find valuable data about your customers and how they interact with your products and services. This way, you can personalize your interaction and build a more efficient marketing machine. Did you notice a change in your customer base as a result of the campaign? Was there an increase in the number of customers who bought from you because of the campaign? How about brand recall – did the stunt improve or hurt your company’s reputation?
6. Use Gamification
Gamification isn’t a new concept, and it wasn’t created to solve all of your marketing problems. However, it does offer an interesting solution to the question of motivating users to perform certain tasks. If you want to encourage your employees and customers to engage with your brand through social media, you can use game mechanics to make that happen. This way, you can combine the fun aspects of a game with the useful functions of real life to create a more engaging experience.
For example, if you’re a fashion company and you want to encourage users to follow you on social media, you can use a game mechanic that encourages them to follow you by giving them points for doing so. Every time someone follows you, you’ll give them three points. When someone earns a certain amount of points, they’ll receive a prize – maybe a voucher for a free dress, or a trip to Paris to attend a fashion show.
Using game mechanics to encourage social media engagement from your customers is a great way to get more content on your site, and encourage people to spread the word about your company. As a business owner, it’s important to remember that not all customers are going to appreciate your attempts at humor, or your company’s promotional stunts. Make sure that you’re prepared for various reactions, and act accordingly.
7. Measure the Results of Your Viral Campaign
Just because your viral campaign was a success, doesn’t mean that you can stop investing in marketing. Even if you did gain a lot of attention through your stunt, that doesn’t mean that everyone who heard about it will buy your products. You need to continue to measure the results of your campaign, and determine its efficiency. How was your brand recalled as a result of the stunt? How many new customers did you gain as a result of the campaign? Which one of your new customers is most likely to become a long-term, paying customer?
These are all important questions, and they’ll help you find the right answers to improve your marketing strategy.