Create Social Mindshare That Will Maximize Lifetime Value of Customers and Keep Them Coming Back

By rinnie on Monday, March 25th 2013

Creating Social Mind Share With Social Media

Introducing Mind Share:

Traditionally, companies have been concentrating their efforts towards increasing their market share to maximize Return on Investment (ROI). While this is the battle between competitors and measures the number of customers acquired by the company, a better reflection of its success would be the amount of space the company and its products occupy in the minds of consumers. You want your brand name to be so strongly associated with the product being endorsed that the two become synonymous in the public eyes. A good example is running shoes; at the mention of this product, most people immediately think of Nike. This is called mind share and it is increasingly taking precedence over market share.

Higher market share is only a short-term goal; mind share brings long-term benefits like brand loyalty, particularly for small businesses. The company that focuses on customer relationships and mind share will ultimately expand its market presence in a big way. It is even possible to create an entirely new market if you introduce the product to the consumers properly, so that your brand dominates all channels of thought. This is exactly what Coca-Cola and Apple Computers did, and their success has become legendary. There are many avenues for improving mind share, such as the company’s name being featured in press releases, new customers acquired through referrals and lately, the effective use of social media.

Social media has revolutionized communication and has already started to have the same effect on the business sector. Companies are now connecting with consumers on a new level through social spaces like Facebook and Twitter, based on insights and meaningful communication. Let us show you some of the strategies which can help you create and manage mind share, leaving a positive brand impact on your customers.

Importance of Customer Engagement:

Until social media hit the scene, companies had to hire marketing agencies to engage with customers one at a time; it was a slow process. But now with the scalability that social networking offers, you are able to reach out to the masses like never before. The idea is to get consumers involved with the brand at all levels. They can be motivated to share feedback and positive experiences about favorite products to their online friends, thereby becoming brand ambassadors. You should also use social media to invite consumer opinions; this is a great way for your company to know what consumers are thinking about the products and what they would expect from them. These invaluable insights into the consumer’s mind can improve the way products and services are designed, manufactured and marketed. Make the consumers and their needs an integral part and the core focus of your business model. By giving them attention, the company is earning some attention in return; this in turn brings about more sales and maximum profits.

Now consider the other side, the consumers. Because of the close relationship they have built up with you and your company, they start to think of it more like a person, or in fact, as a friend. They are now more forthcoming with problems related to your products because they see resolutions. They offer suggestions, which are taken on board and incorporated. They see that their voice has some degree of influence. When consumers believe that the company actually cares about what they think and what they want, they automatically become more loyal to your brand.

Maximizing Customer Lifetime Value:

One of the ground rules of marketing is that it takes much more time, effort and revenue to gain a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. Even a small increase in customer retention has proven to give a much bigger rise in profits. I feel this fact is more pertinent to small businesses in particular, who may not have the time or budget to chase after new customer acquisitions. However, they can focus on getting more sales out of their existing customer base with a fraction of the effort. These customers can be offered more of the same product, which is reselling, or they can be enticed with higher / premium versions of the original product they purchased, which is up-selling. It is also possible to promote a series of related products, also known as cross-selling.

You can achieve all of this and much more through the smart strategies for creating mind share through social media, which we shall discuss a little later. The existing customers’ contact information is already available to the company, so it is very easy to carry out further online marketing with them. Apple is a great example of a company that concentrates on customer retention and the promotion of new sales from them over extended periods. After buying a Mac computer, a consumer is given such a fantastic user experience with the product and its after-sales support that he/she imbibes full value for money from this purchase. They eventually come back to buy an iPod, followed by an iPhone, an iPad and keep a keen look-out for every new product that Apple comes out with. In this way, the company has created lifetime value for that customer. If we subtract the initial cost of converting the customer and the support costs, both of which are negligible, the rest of the revenue is big profit to the company.

I now invite you to factor social media into the equation. Community networks allow you to set up a support page to answer all queries about your product; features, specifications and usage. You can invoke customers to suggest new ways of using the product. Social media can provide a seamless interface for managing customers throughout their lifetime by merging the channels for marketing, sales and support services.

When recurring customers get in touch with your company, they will be recognized, which makes them feel valued and inclined to extend continued patronage to you. This new metric in the realm of mind share is Return on Emotion (ROE); customers who have been given more appreciation will bring in more sales for a business. They are also more likely to recommend the products and services on various social media and thereby generate more leads for potential new customers.

Social Marketing Trends:

In today’s fast-moving world, consumers are pressed for time. Hardly anyone reads newspapers or watches television as much as they used to. Information does not need to be sought out since it is freely available everywhere we look on the Internet. To get your company’s advertising message across, you have to follow the elusive consumers to the place they are most likely to be spending their time, which is online and with social media in particular. Anything that grabs the viewer’s attention is spread across to friends and friends of friends; the continued chain effect through the power of social networking makes the message “go viral.” This is applicable to text and images as well as videos.

Another point that you should note is that people are often interested in and influenced by the choice of their friends and peers; what music they are listening to, which restaurants they are eating at, and what products they are purchasing. Social sites are the new media of market influence; I cannot repeat that often enough. Your company needs to tap into the immense potential of these media and take mind share and business to a higher level.

Creating Mind Share through Social Media:

To make a foray into social media, you first need to build a community of target customers, where they can connect with your company and with other customers / subscribers. This will give them a strong sense of belonging and will help towards building brand loyalty and long-term relationships. For this, create an account with Facebook, Twitter and the other social sites, then build a profile page and post blogs about your products to gather followers. With the higher number of likes and comments that the page receives, the brand name gets more visibility. However, this amassing of followers can be likened to market share, not mind share. The brand has only been discovered by the consumers, but will it remain embedded in their memory when they need the product in the future?

The bottom line is that a handful of active purchasers are worth much more than a crowd of passive followers. For this, your company needs to motivate these social media followers into action by providing ways to explore and evaluate the product offerings and put in their views. Always be clear that social network users have various profiles; it is important to understand this as not everyone is a conversation starter; this category of people may be only 1 in 100. Another 9 users will enhance the content added by the first user, while the remaining 90 do the job of broadcasting and publicizing the message. Each group is important to brand marketing and creating mind share. Activities like filling up a survey, voting in an opinion poll, joining a discussion and even the simplest yet effective tool, sharing of content, are ways in which online followers can take the brand image further. Always keep your company name and logo prominent. The human mind’s process of building associations is interesting; anything repeated often enough is likely to be recalled first.

Once you get a pull on the bait, it’s time to reel in the catch; customer engagement must lead to customer conversion. It is difficult to incorporate the actual functionality for carrying out the online sale on social networking sites, but it is easy enough to offer a wish list or an “add to cart” feature. This can then be linked to the actual website of your business for product checkout, so that it can bring in real revenue. Eventually, a loyal customer will positively influence a number of people in his social media network. They will also implicitly trust your company; effective mind share can thus lead to improved market share.

Effective Social Media Strategies for creating Mind Share:

Now that we have all the concepts clear, the stage is set to showcase the various strategies we have for you and your company to apply for increased mind share.

1· The consumer mindset needs to be understood, which can be achieved through effective communication. Promote comments on your content and encourage discussions on your products. This should include user experiences after making purchases as well as the general impression of consumers. Reviews hold a lot of importance in today’s world.

2· The new rules of consumer engagement demand experiences, not products. A brand message must be presented in a new context that the audience will relate to and it must be clearly differentiated from other brands in that sector. The key is to present an interesting and exciting image of your company.

3· Use a lot of multimedia, which is the most effective form of content presentation. Now we have Google+, Pinterest, The Fancy, Fab, Instagram as well as the older social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Instead of posts, rich images / videos work better since the past 2 to 3 years. Decide which network is frequently visited by the majority of your target customer segment and make the best use of its features.

4· LinkedIn is a great social networking site for professional, business and corporate contacts. You can join groups or use the directory to locate industry associations. Once the groups are established, post an informative and engaging introductory note about your company. Make sure to respond to queries promptly and coherently, always providing useful insight to the reader.

5· Feedback on support should be solicited from any customer who gets a product serviced. A good rating can be displayed on your Facebook page or valuable positive comments can be published on a Twitter blog. The feedback survey form should include additional products that you sell, asking the customer’s opinion on these. In this way, you know their stand regarding the current purchase and you also make them aware of the existence of these other products. You can then modify your marketing tactics to generate further sales.

6· Get involved or put someone in charge of reading all the social content coming in through posts, tweets, comments, pins and other media. Important issues can be identified through these media and then dealt with accordingly. You can show active participation on behalf of the company and continue the open communication with the growing audience. Moreover, you will be able to cash in on leads coming in through these channels. Any valid content that the company does not reply to amounts to the loss of a mind share opportunity. It may be a tedious job, but it has to be done.

7· Keep abreast of the latest technology offerings and learn how they can be exploited for higher sales. For example, Facebook has recently introduced a Gallery in their Timeline; Twitter Cards are another effective tool for promotion.

8· Keep readers informed about the latest happenings within your company; any events that you are hosting or attending, expansion of an existing branch or opening of a new branch and so on.

9· Find links to tweets, images and videos posted by other users, which would be of interest and value to your target consumers and share these with your social communities. It will keep you at the forefront of their minds as an active company as well as portray a fun image that they can identify with.

10· Any and all content that you write or share should never be directly related to your products. Social media is exactly that; social, not commercial, so direct selling is out. The power of social media can make as much of a negative impact as a positive one, if not much more. Any attempts at direct selling through your online content will only result in negative publicity about your company and you will be soon a blacklisted marketer in all communities.

11· Always include competitions, promotions and coupons that invite entries from viewers. Also give the passive viewer some way of being engaged, such as rating entries sent in by others or posting comments on them.

12· The next generation of consumers wants their information on the go. The wide variety of smartphones and tablets available on the market allows ease of mobile browsing. This trend has also caused search engines to give localized results, which makes it all the more important to create mind share among mobile consumers. You never know when they could be a few feet away from your physical store, ready to walk in and check out your products and services.

13· The bottom line is aggression and being on your toes if you want social media to work for you, in creating mind share among a larger consumer base.

Let us see how three top companies in their field effectively used various social media to their advantage.

Case Study 1:

Colgate, the personal care giant, has been providing top quality products that have become a household name for many years. But when they introduced their Colgate Wisp disposable toothbrush, it was targeted at a completely new market sector. The ad campaigns that were previously focused on young mothers now had to catch the interest of youngsters in the age group of 18 to 25, both males and females. The Colgate team decided to employ various forms of social media with the help of Big Fuel, a marketing agency with expertise in this domain.

Videos:

The theme of their marketing strategy was “Be More Kissable” and it promoted the feeling of self-confidence any time of the day or night. This struck a chord with the target audience. Creative video ads in stand-up comedy, talk-show and how-to formats were shared on YouTube and other social video-hosting sites. The video content did not include excessive use of the brand name. These 8 videos spread across the social grapevine like wildfire.

Gaming:

Colgate, supported by Big Fuel, also took advantage of the popularity of Facebook to launch a special application called “Spin the Wisp,” which became the next hot thing among the youth. As soon as the installation of the app was completed, a notification was posted to the user’s Facebook wall. The company now had access to the list of the user’s friends on this site; 16 of them were randomly chosen to play the game or the user could choose up to 16 players. Spin the Wisp offered the youngsters a novel way to flirt with any of their friends in cyberspace by sending them kisses, without being limited by geography. Each kiss also triggered a notification on the user’s wall, thereby bringing the app into the spotlight and increasing its popularity.

Imagery:

A photo contest called “Be the Face of Wisp” was conducted on the Colgate Wisp website. Valid entries were allocated a widget to be placed on Facebook and MySpace, so that their friends could place votes in their favor. An additional feature was offered to make it more appealing; participants were allowed to filter other entries in the contest based on gender and geography. This went down well with college students and young adults, who were the target audience.

Outcome:

Some of the “Be More Kissable” videos were viewed by more than 1 million users. The total engagement of viewers on all the social advertising media crossed 6 million. After the immense success of this campaign, Colgate has decided to apply mind share strategies backed by social media on all their older products. In doing so, they want to convert their brand into a social identity.

Case Study 2:

While many companies are simply accumulating fans, Lego took a giant leap and started the Lego Click site based on the hub and spokesmodel of social media engagement. Here, people are invited to share their ideas about new toys. The content contribution could be in the form of text (Twitter), images (Flickr) or videos (YouTube), all tagged with #legoclick for identification.

Pros:

Users get involved; they are made to feel part of the brand. It is a great form of engaging them. Even those who are not offering ideas are still viewing them, giving comments / feedback and sharing the ones they like with friends.

Cons:

The downside to this initiative is the information overload that is received. Many contributors are simply using the forums to talk about the Lego Click concept, rather than actually putting forth something productive. But this is expected from any mass-media initiative. The key is in filtering out the non-useful content and showcasing the relevant ones.

Solution:

Lego Click does not currently have a ranking feature on their site. By adding this, viewer votes will decide the most popular entries and these automatically get more attention. Over time, the irrelevant content is pushed to the bottom and ignored.

Case Study 3:

Best Buy has concentrated its social networking efforts towards engaging its employees as the key to its marketing success. This home electronics dealer has a staff size of 170,000, spread across various regions. The company used the following strategies to harness the latent energy of this huge workforce, where the employees could be of more value to each other and to the consumer.

Social Forums:

They used the Geek Squad Forum and the Best Buy Community for asking and answering questions, exchanging relevant information and sharing opinions as well as tips. They also held an internal competition for the best video, so that employees could be aware of and sign up for the pension plan being offered by Best Buy. Inspired by MySpace, it has created a community site “Blueshirt Nation” for employees to share information on the go, through their mobile phone or e-mail.

Outcome:

The Best Buy case study proves that social media can be used to increase mind share of a company within the organization. Improved internal communication brings about synergized energy, so that the employees in turn will communicate with customers better and will make the brand truly unique and outstanding.

Summary:

Health institutes, automobile giants and all kinds of business sectors are effectively involving social media in new and innovative ways to create mind share. Many companies that enjoyed top positions in their respective market sectors before the advent of social media have now successfully changed their strategy and adopted the latest tricks of the trade, leveraging the potential power of social platforms and networks. Whether they use crowd sourcing for generating new ideas, offer coupons and other deals, create interest through apps and interactive content or go for the very effective mixed-bag approach, they are an inspiration to other companies that are yet to experience this new wave of brand marketing.

If your company is looking to increase its ROI and ROE and to make a big change to its customer acquisition process, it is high time you get on to the social media bandwagon. This can give consumers the product experience they are looking for and can contribute greatly to increasing mind share. Small businesses should try and employ all the applicable strategies we have discussed here to engage the consumer in a strong and mutually beneficial relationship.