Even though social media has been around for many years, there is still much confusion about what it can do for a business. We found that our Facebook followers were highly sedated by our updates.
Do these compelling topics sound familiar?
“New Micro-Market installed – client is happy.”
“New flavored coffee to debut.”
“Route driver celebrates 25th year with Gourmet.”
“Try our newest herbal tea.”
We had hundreds of followers, but it was a total snooze fest. Our Facebook page was like a painting hanging in the hallway. It looks good, but nobody really comments on it.
Then, we changed direction and the move had a significant impact on our customer engagement. We implemented a new program that was so successful, it was featured in Gail Goodman’s book, Engagement Marketing. Goodman, CEO of Constant contact for 16 years, pointed to our program as an example of providing a WOW! experience for your customers.
Social media program features
It was simple and inexpensive.
Step One - We launched an aggressive program to get clients to “Like Us” on Facebook. Our client services reps and drivers were paid a small bonus for every client they could sign up. It was a team effort that worked and our client Facebook “likes” jumped to over 500 followers.
Step Two – We acquired a different weekly prize for a prize drawing every Friday. Each of our clients on Facebook were eligible for the drawing. Typically, the prize was valued at $70 to $150 dollars. High priced headphones, a $100 Amazon Gift Card, wine glasses with a decanter, some REI camping gear, Apple TV – all popular prizes. Occasionally, we created a frenzy of interest by offering prime Lakers, Clippers, Kings or Dodger Tickets.
The tagline for the promo – “It pays to like Gourmet Coffee Service on Facebook.”
Our telephone on-hold message talked about our weekly prize drawing and our commitment to give away thousands of dollars in prizes that year. In our quarterly Constant Contact e-mails, we referenced the weekly prize drawing right next to our new product selections and free sample offerings.
Throughout the week on Facebook, we would promote the upcoming drawing, usually scheduled for Friday at 4 PM, by posting pictures of the prize and product descriptions. At the same time, our client services reps were talking up the weekly prize drawing during client visits, adding more new Facebook followers and suddenly, enjoying some fun conversation with even the most stoic customers.
Meanwhile, our Facebook page was getting real traffic and laser focused client engagement.
While Fridays were always hectic in the coffee and vending business (any service business for that matter), we somehow found the time to update our Facebook list and transfer the names to drawing tickets. With I-Phone video rolling, one employee would hype the prize one more time, pull the name from a fancy Peet’s coffee box and announce the winner. Always ending with the tagline – “It pays to Like Gourmet Coffee Service on Facebook.”
After we posted the video, the Facebook page lit up with comments.
“Darn, I really wanted that Amazon Fire Stick!”
“What are you giving away next week?”
“I can’t believe I won!”
Were they watching to see the results? You bet they were.
One client told me he checked his phone at a stoplight on Friday afternoon just to see if we had posted a winner. When he saw that he won a set of Beats Headphones, he was so excited, he had pull his car off the road to calm down. Engagement – Connection – Fun. What a combination.
Best of all, if the client wants the prize, it must be delivered in person by a client services representative. No drop offs. That client who never has time to see anyone suddenly becomes more accessible. Usually, when a client receives a nice gift, it is a feel-good moment for everyone. We always like to ask for referrals at a moment like that.
Facebook was the centerpiece of the program. A real buzz was created. We tied it together with Constant Contact, with our telephone on-hold message and most importantly, with our people – route drivers and client services reps – who drove the message home.
When a marketing program is creating a high level of positive buzz, everything else seems to work better. We had more sample requests that converted to new product additions, more referrals and more new business than ever. When engagement goes up, good things happen.
As Goodman points out in her book, Engagement Marketing is a cycle.
· Deliver a WOW! Experience so that customers will remember your business with a positive feeling.
· Entice customers to stay in touch, whether via e-mail marketing or social media.
· Engage people through social media, e-mail newsletters, blog posts and other methods (like our weekly prize drawing) to keep them interested and help them find value in staying connected.
So why did we ever discontinue such a successful program?
1) While the program sounds simple – it was a tremendous amount of work. In a busy, fast growing company, running an all-encompassing social media program is time consuming. Solution: Hire at least a part timer to handle all social media activity.
2) In retrospect, we did not realize just how successful this program was until we discontinued it.
Over the next two years, we hired an ad agency to take over social media, Internet and all digital marketing activities. While the agency did a wonderful job of improving our image and marketing materials, from a customer engagement standpoint, our homegrown weekly prize drawing was the best client engagement tool ever.
I welcome your feedback - Cell 818 261-1758 - [email protected]
Visit the website - www.tullioB2B.com
Over the last 37 years, Bob has sold video games, cigarette machines, cranes and juke boxes to bars and amusement centers, full line vending to public locations and office environments, pay telephones to retailers, coffee service to thousands of office locations and of course, micro-markets. He has a very successful track record as key strategist, sales trainer and media manager under the title, "Director of Business Development" for World Wide Vending and Gourmet Coffee Service.