The role of promotions and sales messages in social media marketing

  • I have often written that your social media marketing has to focus on the needs of the audience first. However this recent article by Clay MacDaniel cites research by Razorfish and She’ are indicating that a primary reason for consumers to fan your company or brand is to receive promotions and discounts.  Let’s take a look at some ways that you can find a balance between social media marketing that attracts the attentions of your audience and social media marketing that pushes sales messages to them.

Nail a need. Make your offers highly targeted.
If you are involved in social media marketing you can use the information that you gain from constantly monitoring and engaging in the online conversation around your brand to generate offers and promotions that are specific to the needs being expressed by your audience. For instance, let’s say you are monitoring the social conversation around your restaurant and you find that the health-conscious portion of your audience often comments favorably about the dietetic options on your brunch menu. You could develop an offer that is specifically designed for them by offering a discount to a local spa or free admission to a local fitness event as part of a package. In fact, if you are monitoring the sites that your health-conscious audience frequents, you can use those sites to help get the word out. The advantages here are many:

  • Higher redemption rates of more specific offers with lower overall promotion costs
  • Generate fan loyalty in your audiences by speaking directly to their needs
  • Generate promotions and discounts that add value to your brand rather than cheapen it.

Test and monitor. Use the channel to refine your offer strategy
The immediate data that you gather from distributing offers online affords a great opportunity to test and tweak different aspects of it. What if you change the value, make it time sensitive, make it referral-based, or make it a contest? You may notice that some promotions generate interest but lower redemption rates whereas others get less click activity but generate better sales.

Keep the balance. Make the largest volume of social media marketing about engagement with your audience’s interests.
This is the tricky part. Your audience wants to be rewarded for their loyalty but they don’t want to be barraged and bored by your endless series of offers. Whats the right balance for you. Is it a deal of the day or of the week? If you have 6 specific audiences that you can monitor online do you make sure you offer at least one promotion to each audience each month? The right fit will become apparent of you continue to track things like your rate of new followers, click-through rates on all your posts, how often your posts get passed along or commented on, and the engagement of your audience off-site. Your primary emphasis should continue to be on creating the force of attraction that draws them into your social media marketing with a generous sprinkling of offers and promotion to keep them active.

Be specific, keep testing and trying, and don;t overdo the promotions and you will find that social media channels can help you get those sales messages out in new, cost-efficient, and effective ways.

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