Whether customers comment on a blog post, join a conversation thread on Facebook or Twitter, or respond to an online promotion, the goal is more, more, more. Earlier this week at the "10 Ways to Screw-Up Your Social Media Marketing" event hosted by New York Social Media Meetup, Offerpop cofounder Mark Cooper shared six strategies companies can use to encourage customers' participation in social settings.Go with the flow: Take your cue from use behavior. For example, use Twitter to share links your followers can retweet; share photos or start discussions that encourage comments on Facebook.
Tap the "conversation graph": Understand what your customers like to talk about (it may not exactly what you think), and create pathways to conversations on those topics. Experiment with topics to see what sparks the most interest.
Use incentives: Sometimes it helps to encourage participation by offering an incentive. This may be the ability for customers to unlock exclusive content, or receive a promotion limited by time frame or number of participants, or a chance to win something (which can even be small like a $5 Starbucks gift card).
Think carefully: You need to understand the "what's in it for me?" and provide customers with some type of payoff for participation beyond standard incentives. This can be a simple as earning status by getting a badge for posting the most comments. Additionally, when offering promotions, hosting contests, or co-creating content, make the participation processes simple and seamless--and market it across channels.
Double up with partners: Collaborating with partners on promotions, contests, and the like extends the reach of both companies, increases the potential number of participants, and introduces you to a new audience of prospective customers, followers, and fans. It may also help you learn more about your customers, as well as show you as a trusted source.
Measure and respond: Establish KPIs and then track campaign-level results using real-time reporting, which will allow you to make changes or updates on the fly. Tracking results will also help you to make improves for future campaigns, and determine what's easily repeatable.