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20/07/2013 by

Don’t Just Engage Fans, Activate Them

Brands have invested a lot of money creating large bases of fans. They have also hired community managers to listen and engage with these fans on social channels.

Don’t Just Engage Fans, Activate Them

The budget for this activity typically comes from the marketing department.

But, we now see the CMO increasingly ask questions like, “So who are these fans and what do we know about them?”

More often than not the same CMO is looking at the mass of fans that have been accumulated and asking “What can we do with this fan base that will help us to achieve our marketing goals?”

This lazer-focus on social media has led brands to not just look at engaging fans, but at ways to activate their community to drive advocacy and create long-term loyalty.

So What Is Needed For Fan Loyalty?

Well, we believe there are four main components of a social marketing activation platform that marketers need in order to answer the CMO’s burning questions.

Don’t Just Engage Fans, Activate Them

To activate fans you need to be able to engage them in great branded experiences with viral mechanics that increase your brand’s reach on social channels. To do this you need to create unique applications, where you can configure every stage of the user journey the way you want.

Unfortunately, if you’re using templates, they are the death of good activation applications. Luckily, we have the solution…

But campaigns and apps should not be one hit wonders. They need to be co-ordinated inside advocacy and loyalty programs that use gamification to take your fan base on a journey, interacting with your valuable content, entering into challenges and actions that support your marketing objectives.

Every fan should be given the choice to get closer to you as a brand over time and be rewarded for doing so. In turn you will leverage that fan to give your marketing programs social reach and greater effectiveness.

Don’t Just Engage Fans, Activate Them

To understand how they are activating the fan base, marketers need to track each and every fan – how they are interacting with your marketing campaigns and advocacy programs, their level of engagement, the number of social referrals they generate amongst their friends and their achievements, such as badges, points and the levels they have unlocked.

Marketers need to zealously track which fans are active and which fans are becoming dormant. And crucially, they need to evaluate how they are increasing the numbers of engaged users and advocates amongst their community.

Lastly, brands need make their advocates their top marketers by amplifying the best of what these fans are saying across a range of social channels. This advocacy content is pure gold for marketers if they can find it, curate it and publish it to their websites, campaign microsites and social apps.

Making the voices of fans the center of your marketing campaigns is the finishing touch to true social marketing activation.

My Opinion?
It’s fair to say that the social media management landscape is getting very congested. There are a number of platforms “claiming” to do everything with perfectly integrated systems, and there are specialist platforms that effectively deliver a narrow range of services that answer specific social marketing needs.

It’s fair to say there are some excellent platforms in our ecosystem that assist with community management, moderation, publishing, listening and customer service, but there are very few that enable brands to “activate” their fan base and drive long-term engagement, loyalty and brand advocacy.

In this blog post I highlight a tried and tested approach to activating a social audience, the importance of understanding the value and profile of individual fans, how to use gamification principles build valuable relationships, and how to make your best fans your best marketers.

What About You?
What are your views when it comes to social media marketing activation? Do you see the value in understanding your audience profile or are you just interested in building a large fan base?

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About the Author
Richard Jones, the CEO of EngageSciences started his career at a marketing agency, then embarked on a career in enterprise software with Sybase, Vignette and marketing automation specialist Eloqua before founding EngageSciences. Richard is a regular speaker on social media marketing topics at leading industry events.


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