We write this post partly in response to an interesting article
we read on PromoMarketing's
website and partly to offer our thoughts on using
promotions in Social Media.
We've mentioned before our rather scathing attitude towards the
phenomenon of brands just trying to accumulate as many likes and
follows as possible, which we regard as confusing faux popularity
with brand engagement. However, there have been one or two
promotional campaigns utilising Social Media, e.g. Ocean Spray's
Bounce Your Berry, which have been exclusively Facebook-based
and have proved extremely effective.
The main point of the Promotional Marketing article was the
assertion that creative promotions stimulate engagement, which we
heartily agree with. In social media terms they are fast to
implement, relatively cost-effective and great for motivating
individuals to do your marketing for you. They also cite 3 consumer
types which you should consider: the self-explanatory 'spectators',
'joiners' and 'creators'.
Whilst they alude to it with the 'creators' category, we
actually think that this sub-division is the most important target
group and where the majority of effort should be focused. Malcolm
Gladwell in his famous book,
'The Tipping Point', refers to the 'law of the few'. The basic
theory is that 20% of the people do 80% of the work in making an
idea go viral. They are categorised as Connectors, Mavens and
Salespeople - people that draw people together, people that acquire
deep knowledge on every subject and people that are naturally able
to sell. Seth Godin takes the concept further in his book 'Unleashing the Ideavirus'
which talks about harnessing the power of 'promiscuous sneezers'
and 'powerful sneezers'.
Promiscuous sneezers people who can be
bought by a variety of inducements and are not held in high esteem
as opinion formers - but if they're promiscuous enough they can be
a very useful ally. They'd even share their grandmother if it got
them entry into a prize draw.
Powerful sneezers are extremely influential and
held in high esteem and (in theory) can't be bought. If it was
known that they were being bought they would lose their credibility
and hence influence. (B-list celebs do it all the time).
Now if you embark on a Social Media campaign, we would
confidently suggest that the majority of people that are
proactively using these services are sneezers of one sort or
another. Indeed the casually promiscuous sneezers fall into the
category that we highlighted at the beginning of this article,
namely people who are following and liking everything in their path
if there is a prize draw or discount in it for their trouble.
So your social media campaign MUST bear both categories of
sneezer in mind and treat them accordingly.
Here are some techniques which will help you harness the power
of Social media sneezers:
1) Make it relevant
Think of your brand personality, your product, what people
perceive you as. Whatever form your campaign takes, it must reflect
your personality and enhance that perception with your target
2) Encourage viral seeding
The cornerstone of spreading a virus is to make it easy,
appealing and rewarding to do so. Your campaign treat, freebie or
offer must be easily (and ideally engagingly) shareable. Think:
apps that make an amusing video or image using your uploaded photo
or a game that enhances your brand personality (see Doritos for
examples). Reward the promiscuous with extra entries for the more
people they refer, a bigger discount, an extra free
gift. Always make it very easy to share your efforts. The
promiscuous types are going to shout about any little extras they
earn. They yearn for this validation / attention.
3) Get the Edge - don't let up after starting your
It's tempting to think that creating a FB promo and setting up
the prizes, or whatever, is the end of the story. To mis-quote the
Jim'll Fix it Song - your effort was only the start of it.
Promotional Marketing makes passing reference to Facebook's
EdgeRank. EdgeRank determines what appears on your news feed when
you sign in to Facebook. So, it's a very important part of getting
your campaign message across and motivating sneezers.
An Edge, as far as Facebook is concerned, is every interaction
you make whilst on Facebook - every like, every photo uploaded,
every status update creates an edge. EdgeRank uses an algorithm to
determine the order of news items on your Facebook feed based on
Affinity (how friendly you are with the entity you interacted
with), Edge Weight (some events like a photo, have more of an edge
than just 'liking' something*) and Recency (or time decay - the
older the less relevant without being ageist of course). We'll
focus on EdgeRank in more detail below.
4) Don't lose momentum
It's easy to get complacent and stop when you've reached a
target number of Likes etc. but your Social Media equity can soon
plunge like a black day on the stock market. You wouldn't just stop
talking to real friends just because you've got enough so why do it
to your virtual friends?
Predictably there are plenty of services out there that will
help you get your brand up the EdgeRank and make your marketing
efforts work harder for you. EdgeRankChecker
was the top result in Google last time we checked!
But, if you prefer a more hands-on approach, here are some Top
Tips to make your Social Media activity create a buzz and give you
the edge on EdgeRank.
- Increase affinity with your fans before a campaign / launch to
increase your presence on their news feed - create some teasers,
start a debate, ask questions related to your brand etc - Where,
When, Why and Would are a good place to start
- Post Games, Apps and Trivia - these score highly on
- Interact with fans - respond to them, start conversations
- Upload relevant Photos, videos or use Wall Sapplets (polls,
coupons, etc) all of which rank higher than regular posts
- Time is of the essence - determine when most of your fans tend
to login to their accounts and start interacting with you then time
your posts accordingly to be top of their news feed (if your
EdgeRank is healthy of course). Also, make your activity
time-sensitive and make a big fuss of building up to the event as
well as during and after!
- Use Links in your posts - they may rank lower than photos or
videos but links can still encourage engagement and do have an
impact on objects overall EdgeRank
- Spell it Out clearly - apart from in teaser campaigns where
cryptic is the name of the game, if you want your fans to take a
particular action, tell them what to do. Research by Buddy Media
found that fans follow instructions well. The simpler the
Like most aspects of marketing, forewarned is forearmed. It's
all very well doing a big, expensive, glitzy promotion, but it
won't fulfil its potential if you don't pay attention to the
details, the build up and keeping the dialogue ongoing, fresh and
interesting. Every penny counts when you're putting together a
social media campaign so you have to make sure every effort is as
effective as possible. Go and start spreading those Sneezes!
* See! We told you gettings Likes on Facebook isn't all it's
cracked up to be!