If you’re in eCommerce in 2019, you know how competitive it is out there. There was a time when an online presence was seen as a novelty. But now, in an era when everyone has the internet in their pockets, the digital marketplace is rife with opportunity and competition. You need to stand out to succeed.
Coupons, promotions and discounts let you appeal to new shoppers, create brand loyalty, and incentivise larger purchases. Social media is a great way to deliver these kinds of offers. Almost half the world’s population are active social media users, and the average person spends 1/7 of their waking hours online. But any old, sloppy social campaign won’t cut it in 2019. You need to get things right to succeed.
This is your guide to making a connection online — pulling together social media and promotions to create a potent force. You need to think outside the box, and we’re here to help.
1. Understand why social media is so convincing
To be effective on social media, you need to understand what makes it so appealing. This is the key to matching your messaging to what people expect and want on social media.
If there is one phrase that sums up the power of social media ,it’s ‘Influencer Marketing’. Tapping into influencers is all about making your advertisements genuine. It’s about bringing word-of-mouth recommendations into your marketing strategy in a controlled and targeted way. It allows you to maximise your visibility across targeted audiences and grow in ways that are hard to otherwise imagine.
The power of seeming genuine is hard to overestimate — 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 33% trust ads. If your marketing seems like a recommendation, not an ad, it will connect and resonate.
The key to achieving this in advertising is honesty and adding value. People appreciate information they can use. They also appreciate discounts. Promotions are central to the entire ‘influencer’ strategy because they make the offer genuinely useful and appreciated. They also allow you to track results — more on that later.
You should also remember that ‘social influencers’ don’t necessarily need to be Youtube celebrities or Instafamous. Some of the most effective influencer marketing can come from your own customer base — something that offering gamified promotions can help you do. When thinking about all of the other strategies we outline here, think about the value of tapping into your own audience and the influencers’ to create real connections with shoppers that add value — all of these aspects are key to success on social media in 2019.
2. Have a presence on social media
To coin a term from those old lottery ads, “you’ve got to be in it to win it!”. In 2019, there’s no reason why your brand, whatever it is you do and whoever it is you do it for, shouldn’t be on social media. That said, the right platform for your business will likely depend on your chosen industry and what kind of people make up your target market.
Many nascent brands, for example, assume that Facebook is the best platform on which to reach younger consumers. But while many young people have Facebook accounts, they don’t use them as actively as they do more visually-oriented platforms like Instagram or Snapchat.
If you are a retailer, you generally can’t miss with Facebook, Facebook messenger and the rapidly rising Instagram Shopping.
Whatever your preferred platform, simply having a social presence allows you a free advertising platform. You can integrate promotions into your posts and ensure that your loyal following gets access to the best coupons and deals. You can use special promotions specific to each platform to incentivise users to follow your brand.
Integrate your coupon campaigns with your overall social campaigns and you’ll be likely to find success when you’ve found the right platform.
3. Get creative with the kinds of promotions you offer
Great news! You can have fun designing clever and customisable coupon campaigns while giving prospective customers more of what they want. In today’s landscape, customers not only want but expect personalised offers based on their own previous history with your brand.
Believe it or not, 79% of consumers say they will likely only engage with a brand if it offers discounts tailored to their past interactions and purchases. It makes sense, really. In an era where reward schemes, coupons, discounts and offers are rife, consumers will naturally gravitate towards brands that will give them more of what they want.
Social media coupon campaigns also lend themselves fairly well to gamification. Encourage users to click on posts which will lead them to single-use “Mystery Rewards”, or use “First To Claim” coupons which offer discounts of diminishing return the more users click on it. For example, the first 10 users may get a 20% discount, the next 10 get 10% and the next 10 get 5%.
Oh, and giving users access to a special promo on their birthday or the anniversary of their first purchase/interaction with you is always a good idea. This level of personalisation is what will make customers feel valued, helping to secure their loyalty to you.
4. Tap into influencers and micro influencers
As we previously stated, consumers trust influencers, especially those of the millennial generation. In fact, 40% of millennials say that their favourite YouTubers understand them better than their actual real-life friends.
Whatever your opinion of this may be, influencer marketing is something that you overlook at your peril. Find out which high profile influencers mean the most to your target market and approach them with their own promotional codes. Many brands use these to give influencers’ followings access to exclusive discounts (and thus grow their target audience) while also giving influencers a monetary incentive to promote their products and services.
Have you ever heard someone on your favourite podcast offer you exclusive access to promotions for Audible, Casper Mattresses or the Dollar Shave Club? Have you seen your favourite Youtube channels invite you to try Skillshare? That’s influencer marketing hard at work!
However, as we were saying earlier, you don’t just need to set your sights on the “celebrities” of social platforms. There is no shortage of more niche micro-influencers with smaller but no less loyal followings whose word could mean a lot to the people who make up your target audience. They tend to be cheaper in terms of the perks that they expect and can really help you to achieve highly-targeted market presentation within their niche followings.
5. Turn customers into influencers
Remember, sometimes the most potent influencers are your already existing customers. There are some highly effective ways in which you can turn loyal customers into brand advocates and influencers.
You can give customers special coupon codes when they refer a friend, relative or work colleague to your business. Not only can the new customer get a discount, the customer who referred them gets one too. The Uber model is a fantastic example of this. You were most likely introduced to the ride-sharing service because a friend referred you so you could both nab that discount.
Done correctly, this can also be gamified, with special bonus incentives for customers who make a set number of referrals in a week, a month or any other time frame of your choice.
Use automation technology and protect yourself from code misuse
For your social media coupon marketing campaign to be effective, however, brands need to insulate themselves from the risk of coupon misuse. Leaked or abused coupons could diminish the rewards you reap from a coupon campaign while exponentially multiplying your risks. Releasing generic codes on social media brings a sizeable risk of code misuse.
The ability to generate unique single use-codes is the only truly effective way to ensure that your campaign is free of risk. The good news is that when you invest in quality software to generate these codes, it can also come with other helpful functionalities. For example, it can make the personalisation that we discussed earlier quick and easy, bringing value to your brand effortlessly.
Like most things in business, success in leveraging social platforms for your coupon campaign is all about investing in the right tools. The tools that will automate potentially time-consuming processes so that you can have fun and get creative when designing your coupon campaigns.