At the South by Southwest Interactive session “I May ‘Like’ You, But I’m Not In ‘Like’ With You,” R/GA’s Chloe Gottlieb explained that getting an audience to engage with your business isn’t just about collecting “likes” or followers or offering prizes — its about creating engaging, interactive experiences that meet your audience’s needs.
So how do you spearhead long-term and valuable relationships with your audience that pay off more than just collecting virtual fans? Here are some of Gottlieb’s tips.
- Market to a community of communities. People don’t always care about brands. It’s easier to get them to care about other community members and the interests that bind them together. Each community of customers is made up of small groups, and the most important people are the connectors in each group — the ones that sing your praises, interact on all levels and will cause others to support what you do. By creating ways for these communities to interact with each other using your brand (Nike’s Sparq is a perfect example) you become useful to and help them.
- Understand both your fans who “lean forward” and fans who “lean back.” Understanding fan behavior and what you can expect to get from each fan is an essential step. Fans that say something back and state their loyalty are your “lean forward” fans, while those who watch to see what they can get and simply consume content are your “lean back” fans. Most brands find they have more of the latter. Not all fans want to engage, and that’s OK. Learn to teach yourself or your boss that — and then see the value in all levels of fandom and work to provide content and campaigns that appeal to both types.
- Be ready for more than one relationship. In fact, be ready to engage multiple relationships at once and become sort of a polyamorous brand. Make sure you accomplish the different things your varying audience will want to see and interact with. They have to understand what your goal is; whether you’re trying to raise awareness for a cause, start a revolution or emphasize the importance of something, you must act around your goal on all social media channels. Then give a call to action, and make sure you’ve laid out the above statement enough to make that call one that’s answered. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask people to share it and get others involved. You need that in order to reach your main goal.
It’s important to understand who your audience is –your spectators and collectors and influencers — and engage all of them on their own level. Some want freebies and deals, so don’t count those out. Others look for interesting content and exclusive insights. And still others want to be driven to do more than watch and buy, they want something more meaningful. The future of the social Web consists of always-on strategies with many lightweight components. The key is to never forget what your fans want — if you can give that to them, they’ll be sure to give you what you want. For a great example of this, see the MasterCard Ballgame Campaign.
Constance Aguilar is a social media strategist and account manager at Abbi Public Relations, where she oversees client strategy on both social media channels and through traditional media relations as well as event producing. You can follow her on Twitter@ConnieAguilar and read her blog posts at The Abbi Agency Blog.