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Smart marketers are putting a lot of thought into how to get their brands “Liked” on Facebook. But what happens after the Like?
You may be pushing out content to your followers, but with the clutter and limited shelf-life of the feed, are your efforts really paying off? Are you really connecting with your audience?
Here are six ways to build up the engagement with your brand’s community of followers::
1. Maximize fan value. Drink maker Red Bull is the gold standard here. It created a new content category (extreme sports) that one could argue didn’t exist at scale prior to them focusing on it. Red Bull is a modern media company that, oh yeah, happens to sell beverages. The company’s X-Games Central site, which lives off of Red Bull USA’s main page, has helped the skate and snowboard industry reach new heights.
Original music is another, massive fan touch point for Red Bull – its Music Academy as well as its Soundstage tirelessly identify and prop up emerging musicians, extending their reach to new audiences and “giving them wings.” This year, the MLS team the company owns, the New York Red Bulls will have four Soundstage artists playing a Red Bull Tour Bus outside the stadium before games (and they’re giving away tickets)! Red Bull is so invested in creating content that it created the Red Bull Content Pool (pictured above), with more than 5,000 videos and 500,000 images for anyone to use.
2. Don’t give anything away for nothing. Always think about the value exchange between your brand and your fans. Think about it as “gating” content in unique ways that can unlock the value of that content so everyone wins. Whether that’s signing in, linking to Facebook, Liking your page, listening to a song, watching a video, or playing a quick game, get fans to take a “social action” but give them something in return. I’ll get to it further down, but that will also help you segment your audience and identify Super Fans.
3. Crunch numbers. Many platforms like Google (conversion data), Foursquare (location-based data), and YouTube (engagement data), now give marketers data and metrics about their engagement and conversion. These numbers give you the evidence you need to invest in more targeted forms of branded content, not just shouting at Facebook or Twitter. Facebook can only reach 16% of a brand’s fan base at a given time.
4. Recycle what works. A Like shows inherent interest and therefore value to brands. You should think about how to repackage social content into other channels that give it a second or third life, ensuring that it doesn’t get “lost in the feed”. Examples include the recent weekly newsletters coming out of Twitter and Pinterest as well as LinkedIn’s, which has been around for a bit. These email-based products aggregate content to ensure that engaged fans don’t miss what has a seemingly limited shelf-life on the original social sites.
Various segments of fans exist and you’ll need to create unique content channels to ensure they’re reaching the most passionate brand advocates in their preferred way. An email subscriber can be nearly three times as valuable as a Facebook fan, so it’s logical to invest in a socially-driven piece of email content as well. Be sure to make use of your fans, too. You aren’t in a “push” ecosystem anymore, you’re also pulling content from ardent fans so show them that you’re listening to what they’re saying and how they’re expressing it.
5. Be a brand partner AND a content creator. Open yourself up to creating partnerships with other influencers who can help you tap into new audiences and affinity groups. Don’t limit how you reach people. Burberry and American Express are great examples of companies that have tapped into new groups with their content. Burberry has long been lauded as digitally-savvy, but its“Tweetwalk” during London Fashion Week was really terrific. The company tweeted every look before it went down the runway and streamed the whole thing on Facebook live and in HD. It even said it was as much a media company as a design company! With 12 million Facebook fans, that action and engagement are enviable.
Not to be outdone, American Express is also tapping into new audiences with visibility across events from the Tribeca Film Festival to the US Open. Sure those sponsorships come with big dollar signs, but AmEx is investing in creating experiences for fans both online and in the real world. It syncs its cardholders and merchants with experiences in order to foster an eventual transaction — the underlying theme being, you couldn’t have done this without your AmEx.
6. Validate Super Fans. As I mentioned previously, in the current environment, it’s important for brands to recognize Super Fans, reward them, and pay attention to what they have to say. The most successful brands today are not only pushing content but also pulling content directly from fans and influencers that help them tell the whole story. Elle/Guess?’s Global Street Chic Ambassador contest is one to look at in this category. It allowed both brands to reach many stylish young people through the social platforms they’re already familiar with. This contest revolved around people showcasing themselves wearing the brands’ goods. I imagine that with this validation, these people will be providing content for the brands for years to come.
Misaligning your content and your brand can, in some cases, do more harm than good. So content decisions shouldn’t always just come back to the most dollars (although we all know why they do); they should come back to the most authentic relationships between your brand and your content creators. If you achieve that authenticity, it will pay for itself and more.
David Dowd is vice president of Brands Group at fan-management and marketing platform FanBridge.
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools.
Chime in here, and we’ll share the results