Monday, April 23, 2012

Social Media Marketing: What's Your 'Carrot?'

If you want people to come your way, you better give them a good reason. I call this reason, the 'carrot.'

The fact is, the Social Web is flooded with all sorts of people offering all sorts of things. If you expect someone, anyone, to come your way, you need to make it worth their while. That doesn't mean you need to buy more ads or flood their streams with links, that tends to have the opposite effect. Instead you need to differentiate your product/service through some other means. Offer them a 'carrot.'

What other means? Well, it depends on what you have to offer.

Knowledge is the first thing I look at when I approach a client. What is their knowledge base and how can this be leveraged to bring more visitors to their Facebook page, web site, blog or whatever? This knowledge comes in a variety of forms. It might best be offered in an advice column, a Q&A on Reddit or even through the use of knowledged-based social media networks like Quora.

It is also possible that their knowledge can be more practical, like a service based analysis of their home, car or even their online network.

If a client has a product, like an ebook, it might be a good idea to offer that free to people who visit the Facebook page, sign-up for a newsletter or do some other thing my client would like them to do.

All of these things (and more) can become the 'carrot' which entices people to move in the direction which you want them to move in. It is not effective to use the 'stick' approach in social media, especially when you are trying to build relationships. You can't beat them for not Following you on Twitter (no matter how much you might want to) so you need to find some other way to bring them into the fold.

In essence, using the 'carrot' is the best way to promote your brand because it usually represents what you do best.

Everyone has a different 'carrot' to offer, so everyone can use this technique to differentiate themselves from their competitors. This differentiation is what makes people 'Like' dozens of different Pages, bookmark favorite websites and read specific blogs, even if they all follow the same or similar themes.

There is absolutely no reason to duplicate what someone else is doing because the chances are, if they have been having success at it, they already have a built-in core audience which gives them a definite advantage over you. Instead look for something which is uniquely yours; something you have and nobody else does. Then dangle it front of your prospective visitors like a carrot.

Try this, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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