Yesterday, Oma Areh wrote 6 ways to drive sales via social media. Among the 6 great point she gave, I found one to build on – contests. Thanks to Oma for being the angel of the moment 

Your contest sucks if it’s difficult and lacks equal reward in exchange for the efforts of your potential participants

Truly, one of the major ways to boost sales or brand awareness via social media is to launch a contest. We’ve seen several companies do this over and over again both local and international. Among this, we’ve seen the kick-ass contest and we’ve as well seen the poor ones. Your contest sucks if it’s difficult and lacks equal reward in exchange for the efforts of your potential participantsSomewhere in between, we have lessons to learn from both. Fortunately, I’ve ran quite a number of contests for certain brands, so you should listen, shouldn’t you?

Considering a social media contest for your business? Here are few tips for you:

  • Ease of participation: People don’t fancy complexities. They have more complex issues to deal with than your newly launched contest. More people are likely to turn their eyes off a contest if they perceive it very difficult for them to participate in. Put yourself in the position of your customers, will you participate in this type of contest?
  • Ease of Understanding: The second is like unto the first :). Yeah, you may have a cool contest, but if it leaves potential participants with so much questions to ask, failure is likely in view.
  •  Reward: Err, follow this and break the first tip if you like. Though, you aim is to drive sales or increase awareness, you want to ensure you give something exciting in exchange for it. Your contest will suck if participants do not consider the rewards a good exchange for their efforts. State the rewards (prizes) ahead of time. Let them know what’s in for them. A handful of people who participate in contests do so primarily to aim for a big reward. Also, ensure you set realistic reward. Err… you don’t want to announce an airplane as gift, do you? Emm, a certain brand did and we all saw the outcome.
  • Social Media cut beyond borders and transcends boundariesDistribution: You decide up front how you intend to get prizes across to your winners (assumming you’re giving out something ‘handy’). Social Media cut beyond borders and transcends boundaries, therefore, you should decide if your contest is geographically limited before you start. Never assume all participants recide within the geographical boundry of your local city. Social Media cut beyond borders and transcends boundariesIf you have to ship prizes, who bears the cost of shipment? I recommend you state this upfront.

CONCLUSION

It is imperative to put yourself in the shoes of your customers when launching a new contest. What will be your response to this kind of contest? Be sincere and realistic. If you won’t participate, ask yourself why and review immediately. Your potential participants are humans like you and they just might have the same feeling.

Your contest sucks if it’s difficult and lacks equal reward in exchange for the efforts of your potential participants.

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rubber-duck-website-funnel

ays ensure you use a tone that sounds more conversational. Articles that are not conversational are most times boring irrespective of the depth of the insight offered.

Be Emotional: If you can get into the emotions of your readers, you have won them to your side. This should reflect in your choice and command of words. My next point provides more help on this.

Use Great Images: As often said “a picture speaks a thousand times louder than words”. Let your pictures help you drive your point home in all your posts. Pictures also help activate the emotional sense of your readers. Images also help keep your readers busy thereby preventing boredom while reading.

Be Brief: Brevity rules the World Wide Web. A handful of online readers have short attention span. So, you want to ensure that you make your point clear in few words. Chances are that your readers are part of the many online readers who scroll down to see how long your write up is. These set of people will only scan through your page or even leave your site completely if they consider your post too long. This is one of the reasons why I love Seth Godin’s blog. He offers depths in few words.

Evolve!

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Why firms should embrace social media recruiting -Expert

FEBRUARY 21, 2013 BY TEMITAYO FAMUTIMI – LEAVE A COMMENT

In this interview, Segun Akiode, a social media recruiting strategist and career coach, tells Temitayo Famutimi, that local firms in Nigeria should take advantage of opportunities inherent in social media recruiting

What is social media recruiting?

In simple terms, it is the effective use of social media and networks by employers to attract, engage with and hire candidates. Social recruiting is a growing trend in human resources today.

It is a relatively new concept which human resource professionals in most parts of the

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Beautiful, just beautiful, this socialmeep.com x lookbookoutlet store amazing soft fabric dress is smooth stretch jersey and is floor length with an extreme thigh slit from mid-upper thigh to the floor. The Lattice lace top, overs a plunge v-neckline giving this dress the most beautiful and enchanting look ever. The lattice lace up dress is a bodycon fit, almost snug to the skin, combined with its long sleeves make this a sure crowd pleaser. Great for clubbing, dinner out and high end parties. This dress is designed for ultimate wear; it’s the new go to dress if you want to make people envious! The best part of this dress is it can be tossed in the machine after you wear it! The material Viscose and Elastane make this a unique fitting dress, showing all the right angles of your body. Glide along as you walk, combined with heels, light jewelry and a clutch to match you will knock everyone out!

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Though still at infancy, social media has suffered from several self proclaimed “expert” in this field. Whether it is articles like “5 things you must do about your social media presence” or “10 guaranteed ways to engage your customers via social media” and all sorts of articles or even books out there – most of these have one thing in common, generalizations. This shouldn’t be an issue, right?

See, social media is not chemical science where you’re sure to get certain results (reaction) everywhere, anywhere, anytime after mixing certain quantities of chemicals together. Nah. Any business that deals with people (not things) cannot be so predicted.

Several rules, do this, don’t do this…blah blah blah. Wrong! I’ve watched certain brands break a handful of those rules and still became successful on social media. I make bold to say that social media is a “game” of doing what works for your brand. For instance, I’ve read several reports that claim that evening tweets are not effective, yet ALL the accounts I oversee to get good results with evening tweets. There are several other rules I have personally broken and I’ve seen the results roll out like magic.

In this context, I’ll like to say that there is no rule on social media, except the ones you make for yourself. Study your audience and ensure you’re engaging them and achieving results. The process can never be pre-defined. Plan your strategies right, if you don’t get the desired results, re-strategize. I bet this is one of the constantly changing faculties of every business.

At the end of the day, do what works for you. For my Nigerian brands, if tweeting humorously in pidgin English gets you more result, go ahead, so long it doesn’t go against your values. Many things work here. Not one thing is guaranteed to work for all. Everyone can only write about what works for them, or at least what they’ve seen work for others. Either ways, it doesn’t mean they will work for you. Just be social.

As Jay bear would say “focus on being social and not how to do social media”

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If you were active online last year, chances are that you must have heard about Beni American University – Africa’s first Hybrid University.

Beni American University is a great example of the kind of advantage social media can give you when you don’t have a fat bank dough (money) to be spent on blind traditional marketing. Till date, Beni is yet to spend a penny on offline ads, not even online ads – to the best of my knowledge. So, how did they manage to do it? What exactly did they do to get such awareness both locally and internationally?

  • Tell your story: One thing evident in Beni’s social strategy was (or is) the fact that they told their story constantly and consistently. They did this via blog posts, Facebook posts and several Twitter posts, intimating their followers and distant admirers on every progress made. The result of this was that the public became a part of their story. This included the founder, Gossy Ukanwoke, himself sharing several “exclusives” via his Twitter handle. To go viral online, understand that you have to be great in digital story telling. Researches have proved that customers feel more associated with businesses that tell their stories. This may be from Google posting pictures of its data centers across the world to other small businesses sharing their business stories. The result cannot be overemphasized. Give your customers (potential/current) something to talk about.
  • Interviews: If you have a great business, why should you run away from interviews? At some point, the founder of Beni American University posted a tweet (informally) asking technology blogs in Nigeria for an opportunity to be interviewed via their platform. Within 2 minutes, a tech blogger, Jesse Oguns (then with Otekbits) picked it up and alerted the Otekbits team. Voila, the interview date was set and did rock. This is just another way to tell your story, but this time, you’re giving your fan base an opportunity to question your actions.
  •  Show, don’t tell: Before launch, Beni organized a beta session for the public. Here’s the catch: if you want to get money out of your customers’ pocket, show and not just tell. This is beyond story telling. It’s actually showing them a real life benefit of your core propositions. It’s the same reason why companies will allow you try their product for 30 days and then ask you to pay afterwards. The result of this can be seen in the next point.
  • Customer story telling: Nothing, I mean nothing, can be as effective as having your customers tell your story on your behalf. Surveys have revealed that customers trust the opinions of a fellow customer who has a direct experience with a product that marketing stunts of businesses. After all, which business will advertise against itself? At every point in your business, ensure your customers are telling your story. Take it a step further by rewarding them for this, if you can. When we took the beta class, I noticed several participants sharing the experience on-the-go. This made their followers eager to know more or even participate themselves (but beta applications were closed). At the end, some participants (like me) took it a step further by writing a blog post about the experience. First, have social sharing buttons across your site so it becomes easy for your visitors to share your story. Second, after delivering a world class service or product, call your customers to action. Let them advertise on your behalf. A tweet from one customer does a lot than dollars spent on ads. You gotta trust me on that.
  • Listening: Get off social media if you’re not ready to listen to your customers. One of the things I noticed Beni did effectively (I think :)) was that they listened to the opinions of the participants of the Beni session. This made them adjust their models. Social media is not a broadcast medium. It’s a two-way channel. While it’s good to ask your customers for feedback, it’s smarter to device ways of listening to them even when they’re not aware of you. Customers communicate freely among themselves; social media has made these conversations easy to track. A Twitter search of your name and related terms may say the day.

I hear Beni has some major projects coming up. I personally can’t wait to get full details.

These are strategies noticed from afar. It will be great to interview the Beni team to get an insider detail of their social strategy soon enough. Let’s hope they see this J

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For the past few years, customer relationship has slowly left the confines of the telephone and the front desk and has made a strong foothold in the social media atmosphere. If you are asking why, it is simple: because that is where the people/the audience/the customers are! Added to that these days, traditional media are all on social media platforms.

WATCH THE TRENDS

If you have any interest in grabbing and sustaining the attention of your customers, make a habit of watching trends. This means of course that you ensure that you are positioned to receive such information. Be hungry for information, watch your competition and other similar individuals or organizations and observe what it is they are doing. If you watch carefully enough, you would notice a pattern and would be able to identify the brands that are successful in social media engagement.

GO WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE/CUSTOMER IS

So you have you been on Facebook for a few years now, then Twitter, now it’s obvious Google+ is getting a lot of attention. What are you waiting for? You’ve been watching the figures; the next step is to get there. For brands, the earlier you are on a social media portal and are able to gain some mastery the better.

You do not want to be like the company that joined Twitter after a customer made a complaint that became a major trend for a long while.

You do not want to be like the company that joined Twitter after a customer made a complaint that became a major trend for a long while. By the time they joined, they had lost the opportunity to have a say in the matter and an incredible amount of goodwill.

BE SOCIAL

It is a social network, you are not just there to be counted, you are there to interact and connect with your fans and followers on a one-on-one basis. This simply means no short detached answers, no rude commentary and one of the most unforgivable sins for a brand to commit on a social network is to be non-committal or act superior to its customers. This was clearly the case with Nigerian airline Arik air that got more than it bargained for by hoping that a customer’s complaint would die away. What followed was a long (by social media standards) drawn out war-of-words which led to a public perception of notoriety of the brand. This means, address customer’s complaints politely and always give feedback. If you are not ready for that, don’t join the train!

BE REGULAR

To connect and engage with your audience via social networks, brands must learn to provide information on a regular basis in such a manner that the audience is expectant of certain information at certain times, this leads to engagement in the long term. If you give tips for instance, you can schedule them for a certain time of the day or on a certain day of the week.

DON’T MARKET ALWAYS

It is difficult to resist selling your brand and products all the time especially if it has started to work. If you want to maintain that connection via social media, you must learn to give out other information and support others. Brands like “Victoria’s Secret” do this by celebrating their models, fans and other issues that revolve around their brand. Their numbers and interactions tell the story; their personal level of interaction is working.

What other ways are there to connect? Feel free to share!

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Question

I run a small business in Lagos. I have read quite a number of articles about the importance of social media in this era. However, what is not clear to me is whether I should hire a social media staff, a social media agency or just do everything myself. I will like your insights about these options. Thank you

Answer

Hey There,

Congratulations first of all for taking a step to running a business in Lagos, and even considering exploiting social media, as many business are yet to understand any value for using social media tools for increasing reach, engagement and in turn sales. Social media can become a leveler especially for small business, so congratulations again.

That said, it is common place to ask the question – who best to handle social media management for my business – and you seem to have listed out the options:

1. Hire a social media manager

2. Outsource to a social media agency

3. Manage it for yourself

However, it is going to be more tricky giving you an answer as there is no one correct answer, and it boils down to what your business needs, where your business is, and an overall marketing strategy. You did say you run a small business so you may just consider an hybrid between the first and third option.

It is always good if you are very much involved with your social media management, and even though time is always almost the problem, the more you get involved at the start the more habitual it becomes – remember social media is same as you would get social offline – meet people, engage with those interested in you (in this case product or service), but this time online.

Albeit, business can be so good that you really have to handsoff, then hire a social media manager but try to work with him or her as you want to be consistent in terms of communication and marketing strategy, including tone, call-to-actions, and conversion mechanism.

Let’s face it. Doing social media marketing the effective way is quite hectic. It is not only about posting, but also engaging – from simple things like replying comments, mails, and twitter mentions – to the not-so-simple things like setting and following up on web alert, and then reporting and analytic. So if you want do it right, you probably want to hire someone, but if you are not still sure, then ask yourself these questions.

Perhaps one day your small business becomes big and you want to outsource social media management, then you should know these 5 Real Reasons To Hire A Social Media Management.

Till next time, I hope these information helps.

[Editor’s Note]

This is a question and answer series. Do you have any social media related question? Send it to editor(at)socialmeep(dot)com and we’ll have Alex or any of our contributors respond to them.

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5 Steps To Building A Facebook Audience In Africa
  1. Invite Family, Friends, and Friends of Friends: Facebook gives you the option as an administrator of a page to be able to invite friends to a page and even automatically add friends to groups. This is pretty amazing as you can easily leverage on that to get from 100 to 500. If you are lucky enough, they also get to invite their friends (I have seen a Facebook community grow this way to about 1000 fans). Taking it up a notch will be actually telling current fans to invite friends, and in turn you can offer incentives from public recognition to freebies and prizes. However it is best to have fans – i.e. people who are actually interested in what the Facebook page or group is all about, as they easily go from fans to become advocates that will get more fans and keep engagement level on the platform at a high level.You don’t want to end up with 1000 Likes and only 5 people talking about it.
  2. Spend-A-Little: Run Facebook Ads: Social media is mostly free and you do not need to pay to get a Facebook account, but be ready to spend a little when it comes to increasing reach. I do mean it when I say ‘spend-a-little’, as the cost of running Facebook Ads is very affordable by any standard. How does $1 for 500-1000 fans sound? It is important to you know your target and run different campaigns for different demographics and pyschographics.  Fortunately Facebook allows you to easily monitor and tune variables such as location, gender, age, likes and interests, relationship status, workplace, and education, while serving the Ads. See more at facebook.com/advertising. You are totally in charge of how much you spend, whether it’s daily, weekly and monthly. So you can run parallel Facebook ads targeted at different groups, and choose to turn ads on or off anytime.
  3. Engage, Disengage, Re-engage: So, yes, you have a Facebook page with many fans and the ads are running, but the aim is to build a Facebook audience and not a crowd. The Facebook page or group should not be taken as a place to only disseminate information but also an avenue to get feedback and ask questions. Updates can come in form of: Questions, Polls, and further engagements can be built around images, videos, and other media forms.Therefore strife to have at least one post per day and make it a two way communication, not one. You may also want to stimulate engagement by running campaigns and giving out freebies or any form of recognition.Extra: Don’t forget to work on a landing page and device means to collect data: email, telephone numbers, BlackBerry Pins (but let the audience willingly give you these data). Call to Action ‘buttons’, and links to landing page with much more information should be worked on and placed on Facebook Ads and group or page updates.

That is all I have got for now and sure will be updating you with any other steps that I uncover in my social media journey. Feel free to share yours too. You can also ask your questions using the comment box below.

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The Moscow rules of Social Media Marketing

Last week, we focused on the first five Moscow rules as they relate to Social Media Marketing. We will focus on the last five rules today. Kindly click here for the earlier publication. The short list as shown in the International Spy Museum summarized them in just 10 rules:

  • Assume nothing.
  • Never go against your gut.
  • Everyone is potentially under opposition control.
  • Don’t look back; you are never completely alone.
  • Go with the flow, blend in.
  • Vary your pattern and stay within your cover.
  • Lull them into a sense of complacency.
  • Don’t harass the opposition.
  • Pick the time and place for action.
  • Keep your options open.

Now let’s get down to the explanation of the remaing five rules:

  • Vary your pattern and stay within your cover: You want people to know you and your product. You want to have a personal brand. The truth is that it is easier to dwell within your comfort zone when it comes to branding. The reality is that you could become boring and unaware of technology changes etc. Vary your pattern of approach. If possible, work with collaborators to spice up your banding style. Abilities are skills. Skills can be learned. Your abilities are not fixed.
  • Lull them into a sense of complacency: This could be a bit tricky to implement. The usual marketing strategy is to put your best foot forward but it will be great to create some form of suspense that could speed up the authenticity of word of mouth marketing that would come directly from satisfied offline clients. In other words, ensure to under promise and over deliver.
  • Don’t harass the opposition: Referring to rule three, you will know that anyone can be the opposition. In a situation where you find yourself being the opposition, the suggestion will be constructive criticism. The best outplay here will be for you to not just proffer criticisms but ensure to provide a positive alternative. Be seen as a solution provider and not a mere problem finder.
  • Pick the time and place for action: Timing and location is absolutely important in strategy execution. You have to be aware of what is currently trending so as to conveniently align your branding to blend with that. You do not want to expend so much energy advertising when no one is paying attention. The time of execution and place could be seen as being more vital than the strategy being executed.

Keep your options open: Keeping your options open means that you should try to be as flexible as may be required. You can create brand new opportunities by embracing brand new situations. You do not want to be caught unawares. Simulate and anticipate changes and also adaptation strategy that will see you soar high in the actual occurrence of such changes.

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