Incentivise Your Follower Nation To Make Social Recommendations!
The “social recommendation” of the ‘like’, ‘tweet’, ‘share’ and ‘pin’ are now standard behaviours of the search and social web as user advocacy plays a more prominent role in online marketing. Just recently, Facebook has started the audacious practice of posting a past user’s general, positive interaction with a brand together with the promotion by the same brand of a specific product not necessarily endorsed by a ‘like’ from the same user.
A bit cheeky, to say the least!
The fact that Facebook are now ‘promoting’ any general user interaction with a product or service highlights the traditional marketing power of word-of-mouth marketing. Trust in traditional search to return worthwhile results from a query with Google or another search engine has been constantly undermined by years of relentless spam linking and poor content.
The rise of social media networking, which enables consumers to discover their own answers by community interaction and not be solely reliant on search engines, is now a key influence on user buying decisions.
While eCommerce site owners recognise the importance of great customer reviews, service or product mentions in forums or on networks like Twitter, the motivation to share should not always be taken for granted.
Social followers, like their prequalified customer counterparts, may need an incentive or reward to firstly, retain their interest and secondly, a good reason why they would wish to be seen as the advocate of an item of shareable content or make a recommendation. On the other hand, it should also be remembered that not all motivations for sharing are based on obtaining a reward but can spring from simply wanting to be seen as an active part of a particular social networking community.
Tapping into the various different motivations for social engagement are important factors that site owners must take into account when embarking on social policy. Facebook and Twitter logos simply inserted on the right hand side of the home page without any further explanation is unlikely to incentivise the specific motivations of a visitor.
Placing share buttons by every product or making a specific ‘call to action’ against particular items of content are more likely to show a brand is trying to genuinely reach out and gain visitor involvement because a response is being asked at the point of an encounter with a specific product or an item of content.
The site owner, of course, has now a readily available source of behaviour data, which not only identifies individual items of content attracting attention and being recommended, but also enables follow-up content to be created related to those specific contents for even more sharing.
How effective social link building around content buzz will be when applied to a number of everyday products / services will always be debated, but users are always looking for the “truly amazing” and “awesome” in the mundane as well as the more obvious “epic” topics!