Ever received those automated pop-up messages when you visit a site? Are they effective? The short answer is “yes” but they need to be done well.
These are messages triggered by your activity on a website, blog or when shopping online. The triggered message is the double-edged sword of social media. If executed poorly, it can hurt your brand’s reputation and water down your relationship with your social audience. Those “Check out our site at bit.ly/sellyoujunk” messages are never going to move the sales needle, in fact they will just get you roundly ignored on social media.
But when executed correctly, the triggered message can be a powerful tool for brands to convert social engagement into sales.
Marketers must carefully craft triggered messages in order to incentivize follow-through to the checkout page. When an individual participates in a social campaign a good response needs to be timely and appropriate.
Here are three ways to increase engagement and sales with automation on your social platforms and website.
- Entry forms
- Follow-up emails
These will achieve the the end goal of impacting your brand’s online sales.
1. Triggered social replies
When someone posts a photo featuring your campaign Hashtag, you want to capitalize on their participation. The key is to first recognize and respond to their content. Targeted triggered messages on social keep this process streamlined and consistent, but make no mistake that the responses have to be anything but generic. Offerpop is reporting widespread success with targeted triggered messages, with up to 44 percent of users responding to the messages in Offerpop campaigns after submitting user-generated content. Use these three tips to make sure your triggered response does not get mistaken for spam:
- Use Personality and Humor: Use this opportunity to embody the brand with a blanket response. Avoid implementing a generic statement such as “Thanks for posting, click this link to enter our contest!” To some it looks like a virus, and to others it’s just intrusive.
- Incentivize: Just because someone can “win something” doesn’t mean they will click through to enter. Specify the prize at stake and add a little pizzazz to get people excited about their chances to win.
- Customize the link: Bit.ly links work well for Twitter, but because Instagram comments disable click-through links, not only is it key to incentivize, but a link that is easy to remember/input can make or break follow-through numbers. Make it a seamless process.
This example from L’Oreal demonstrates that triggered responses are effective to drive UGC submissions to the next step of submission and participation:
2. Sign-up forms
Ideally, the initial social response will send entrants to actual entry forms where the goal for brands is to capture data. Brands can leverage their UGC campaigns to deepen relationships with participants. But these entry forms must be formatted to capture the most participation. Brands should:
- Keep the data simple and straightforward: Consider crafting the requirements based on what you could respond to while browsing in a store or during a subway ride.
- Include in-store ties: If a consumer inside a store shares a photo to social using an advertised Hashtag and receives the triggered social response immediately, there is a high chance that their follow-through will take place while they are still in the store. Give the entry form an option to click if they are in store and they can receive an immediate coupon for their purchase that day via email. Give all the purchase power you can.
- Customize the perks and prizes: Consider giving the entrants an option to chose what type of prize they would like to win. You don’t have to run two separate contests, but it allows the consumer to pinpoint what they really want, and the data will give you a clear idea of the products/prizes that a particular demographic is interested in.
- Customize types of content participants can opt-into: Give entrants an option to receive more information about targeted products or brand-relevant information. For instance, allow them to choose from “Shoe Collections,” “Menswear,” “Seasonal Fashions,” “Style Tips,” or “ Philanthropic Efforts.” Again, customizing the content audiences receive will provide valuable data and help drive them to the items they really want to explore and purchase. Platforms like Offerpop even take the process one step further by loading user-generated photos as product suggestions once a user clicks through to a product microsite of the brand’s homepage.
Here is a simple, straightforward example from TOMS that gives their visitors to connect further with the brand:
3. Follow-up emails and offers
Not everyone can win the grand prize, but all entrants can still win with your brand. Don’t lose the opportunity to send triggered emails that are targeted, strategic, and useful to your new potential customers.
- Immediate coupons and discounts: Get codes and barcodes to the inboxes of participants right away. Again, consider that they may still be in store, and if you can influence a purchase before they walk out, your campaign has come full circle and both you and the customer win.
- Product suggestions: Based on the entries of the customer, send out emails that feature specific products relevant to them; a male participant that posted about his new shorts may love to see the spring or summer menswear collection. Brands can do this via social commerce platforms that will build product suggestions right into UGC galleries, and here is an example of that via Lilly Pulitzer:
Customization and timing are the keys to making targeted triggered messages complete the social commerce circle. That’s why routine-style content works; as long as there are a few filters in place and the campaign is properly planned, your brand can easily get the right content to the right people in the blink of an eye. This allows your fans continue serving as social ambassadors, posting content tied to your brand, and lets you reward them without painstakingly crawling through each step.
Guest author: Constance Aguilar is the head of strategic communications for The Abbi Agency, a content marketing and digital communications firm. Follow the Abbi Agency @theabbiagency or follow Constance Aguilar @ConnieAguilar
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