Across the pond

Behind the scenes with social media

Cleaning up the house before throwing the party, by Michael Fletcher, SVP Sales and Marketing, Giftango Corporation

In our previous two columns, we explored how social media has changed the way customers interact with brands, and how digital gifting has changed the way companies engage with customers on a personal level. This issue’s column focuses on some of the housekeeping issues to be aware of ‘behind the scenes’ when using digital gifting and social media tools. 

Manage the ‘guest list’
You wouldn’t throw a party without having a good idea first of who you wanted to attend. The same is true when considering your social media strategy – what are the strategic business reasons behind whom you want to reach and why? Social media can be a great way to engage and connect on a deeper level with customers, but the true value is being able to attract more of the customers you want. Ensure your attendees are aligned with your reason for having the party, so you don’t waste resources.

Hire a good ‘bouncer’
Great parties balance generating buzz on the street with maintaining an exclusive guest list. A bouncer at an event controls the flow of entry – determining who gets admittance and whether they can re-enter. Social media strategies need to employ the same concept. While having an engaging offer is important, you need to determine in advance whether you want people to be able to take advantage of your offer multiple times (a generic coupon code), or keep it exclusive (digital e-gift offer). There are a number of social media tools in the marketplace; make sure your bouncer allows you to execute in a manner that’s consistent with your strategy.

Communicate the dress code
Have you ever gone to a party that didn’t state a dress code, only to find it was black tie and you couldn’t attend in your business attire? You’d likely be embarrassed, and frustrated that your host hadn’t communicated their expectations. The same is true with social media and promotions – you can create a lot of excited customers with free promotional gift cards, but if you don’t clearly communicate your terms and conditions (short expiration date, exclusivity of usage on certain dates or hours of a day etc.) you’ll create ill will instead. And with social media, the repercussions are swift and very public. Make sure customers know what’s expected when you extend an offer.

Your DJ sets the mood
A great DJ monitors the pulse of the party and ensures people are having a good time. Social media tools allow you to get real-time feedback, as well as generate reports that help you ‘change the music’ midstream. With real-time feedback, you can optimise results while the campaign is running, ensuring you’re keeping your guests happy and meeting your goals for a successful party. Keeping these tips in mind will ensure your success with social media and digital brand strategy.

Giftango, part of InComm, powers digital gift card delivery for retail brands and incentive and reward programmes that deliver e-gifts in the US and Canada.

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