Public Relations Tactics

Likes, follows and fans: Alternatives to the social ask

July 1, 2011

How many times a day do people ask you to friend, follow, Like, check-in or fan others on social media? From magazines, billboards and store window decals to TV, radio and even restaurant menus, these “social asks” are everywhere, which raises the question: Is the social ask overused?

If your social marketing consists of  “Like us on Facebook” or “watch us on YouTube,” then this is an opportunity for you to improve.  You already embrace social networks, so now it’s time to move away from the “ask.”
Sevans Strategy and Alterian recorded more than 3.34 million mentions during a one-month period of people making social asks around the world.  Based on this data — displayed in the infographic below —  here are tips on how to avoid using the social ask:

  • Engage followers. Instead of focusing on growing your fan base or followers on Facebook, Twitter or another social platform, direct your attention to engage with your current followers and create more organic growth.
    Followers and fans who enjoy their experience will talk about it and share with others, becoming brand ambassadors and providing third-party endorsements that can resonate better than a social request.
  • Think creatively. Updating your status with messaging from your latest marketing campaign or product update won’t necessarily increase activity; instead, identify fun, meaningful activities.
    For example, create your own Facebook currency or a point system that rewards fans for engaging. Fans can use these points to purchase products at a discounted rate or toward another incentive for your business.
    As Ad Age noted on June 3, brands like Apple, Ford, Coca-Cola and even Oprah use branded mobile codes to engage with consumers. This includes common short codes (CSC), where customers text five- or six-digit numbers to ask for information.
    Another version of this is StarStar Numbers, where customers dial branded, mobile numbers beginning with ** to receive an instant text message that sends them to websites, videos, voting, contests and other online content.
  • Offer incentives. Instead of sending viewers to a Facebook page, offer additional incentives, such as the opportunity to download a free e-book.
    Another idea? Build in an incentive using QR codes. Use a QR code that allows people to automatically Like your Facebook page as opposed to sending them to a webpage. Highlight the people who Liked the page to reward the behavior and encourage more people to do so.
  • Know the importance of ROE vs. ROI. Measure the success through ROE (return on engagement) as opposed to ROI (return on investment).  When reporting success, share anecdotes from your experiences with customers who you helped assist with problem solving. Count the number of comments, retweets and Likes and include these in your results report to your client or boss.

Sarah Evans
Sarah Evans (@prsarahevans) is the owner of Sevans Strategy, a PR and new media consultancy. She created and moderates #Journchat, the first-ever weekly live tweetchat for PR professionals, journalists and bloggers; runs her own blog; and shares a daily resource for PR professionals called Commentz.


Heather Novak says:

Sarah- Could I repost all or part of this on my customer service blog as a guest post? It is fantastic, particularly ROE vs ROI! It would be a HELP FOUND:Sevans Strategy post for your biz...I don't have a biz, just a sahm with opinions and pet peeves! LOL. Please let me know. At least I want to quote and link re: the ROE. So important and yet seems forgettable?

July 12, 2011

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