Beyond Offers

Vintage Advertising

When I see how companies use social media, one of the biggest things I see them doing is pushing offers and contests. Sure, that’s part of marketing. But that’s like saying that the only show on television is The Price is Right. There are plenty of other ways to engage your audience, and to me, the real meat is in seeing beyond offers and into other ways to engage.

Encourage Enthusiasm

Take a look at BMW USA’s Facebook page, especially the Wall. They’re empowering enthusiasm. Some of these people probably don’t even own a BMW – yet. But they’ve found a place to bask in the cult of BMW for a while, and I bet they’re thrilled.

BMW USA's Facebook page

Empower Community

Want to know an example of a great Twitter community? Mack Collier runs a weekly chat at 9PM ET on Sunday nights called #blogchat. If you ever have the opportunity to watch it live, it’s a blur of useful information and camaraderie. If I were a community manager at a company, I’d look to emulate something like what Mack has done. It would be a very beneficial experience compared to just making offers.

Sample Blog Chat Stream

Tell Stories and Entertain

If you’re Hubspot, you just keep making more and more content to keep your audience entertained. Every production has a bit of humor, a bit of useful advice, and a bit of message reinforcement. You tell stories over and over that get your primary points across. You make sure people understand the context of the tools you’re pitching, so that they understand why they should care in the first place. There’s no one better at keeping their customers immersed in context-reinforcing content than Hubspot. You could study them and emulate them and the improvements would be obvious and fairly quick, provided you got the intent correct.

Hubspot TV

Serving Suggestions

Mick Galuski runs Toy Soldier Games downstairs from my office. It sells comics and all kinds of game products and accessories. Many of these games can cost the average customer around $200 (my estimate because I’m too lazy to walk downstairs and ask Mick of that’s right). The way the games work is that you have to buy products and accessories to tell specific stories. Mick does a great job of helping parents and their kids get into the storylines. He helps people find budget methods to get into certain games. He also works hard to show people age-specific entry points to gaming, knowing that a gamer becomes a customer for life if they’re cultivated nicely.

By offering serving suggestions, Mick goes well beyond offers in his marketing efforts.

Toy Soldier Games

Look Beyond Offers

Your buyers want much more than discounts. They want to express themselves, they want relationships, they want context, and they serving suggestions, just to name a few. What are you doing to bring them beyond offers? How do you see the various platforms of social business helping or hindering those efforts?

ChrisBrogan.com runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Theme Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you're a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides you with the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

With automatic theme updates and world-class support included, Genesis is the smart choice for your WordPress website or blog.

Become a StudioPress Affiliate

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    I totally agree. In fact, I’m looking more for the opportunity to share my opinion, to talk with people that align, to make new connections and learn from the billions of geniuses hanging out on the net. I think you make a great point here.. focus on other things, too.

  • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

    WHERE did you get that ad? Goodness!

    Did you catch Mack’s blog post from a few days ago about how it’s much better to empower others to be awesome rather than just trying to be awesome yourself? I was lucky when I came into Social Media because I found your tweets and blog and the content of other good peeps like Jay Baer and Mack, who all preach along similar lines. To wit: don’t be a tool.

    Companies may think that that is all light and fluffy hippie dippie stuff, but in fact, this post brings it all the way around. Shine the spotlight on your blog readers, you get happy readers. Shine the light on your customers, and guess what? You get happy customers.

    Darned tootin.

    Of course, I’m just a woman, so what do I know? :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      That ad is sexy. Don’t deny it. : ) Can YOU open a ketchup bottle? Of COURSE you can. Thanks to her. ; )

      Mack’s totally right about this not being the fluffy. It’s the meat.

      • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

        Ketchup bottles are easy. Let’s talk about pickle jars or apple sauce jars. Those are ridonkulous!

        • http://www.kaplancopy.com/blog Jodi Kaplan

          I can open a ketchup bottle too.

          As for pickle jars and apple sauce jars, my grandma (all 100 lbs, 5 foot nothing of her) taught me the secret to opening those. Use a “church key”can/ bottle opener.. Hold it with the pointed end up. Slide that under the lid. Push the lid up with the opener. This breaks the seal. The jar opens in seconds.

          • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

            Ah, Jodi…where have you and your grandma been all my life!? :)

  • http://spirocks.com Spiro Pappadopoulos

    Social media gives us the chance to be a part of our community members lives, to celebrate, witness, understand, and champion them with information we never had before in marketing. It is my opinion that this level of intimacy has caught many marketers off guard, and resulted in the offer pelting that you referenced.
    In addition to that companies big and small should be taking this unprecedented opportunity to become a part of the community, to ask questions, to offer solutions, to reach through the technology and make human connections. It is right there for the taking, but it isn’t all about ‘hey get two for one today!’ that may be a good deal… but what are you going to say tomorrow? Where will your friends/followers/audience find the value in your presence? Or will they just let you fade from their attention?
    Thanks for a thought provoking post.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Great point, Spiro. Offers are only interesting for a single day.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    This reminds me of something that a lexus dealer in Atlanta is doing.
    If you buy a lexus it provides you a special parking spot at Atlanta Braves game. It is like a Lexus only spot. I heard a couple of people say that was one of the reasons they chose lexus over other luxury vehicles…for the parking spot.

    I thought that was a great idea but they could have gone a step further and provided free parking. Almost like the lexus was your ticket into a nice parking lot that had a valet, car wash, etc…

    It reminded me of what companies are doing with social media. They see they have to be on it and even offer up some deals but in reality they still do not get it. The risk of offering up everything in return for loyalty (like free parking) seems to high, but in reality the way word spreads fast and the idea that we are getting special treatment (like car companies that give iPads as the owner manual) makes us feel special and also makes us want to tell the world.

    You provide some great ideas here Chris.

  • http://www.jtpedersen.net JT Pedersen

    Hello Chris,

    Thank you for the thoughts. I was recently describing this basic notion with friends over coffee. The topic was how one of our local motorcycle dealerships compares to others in the area.

    The dealership had gone through a number of owners following the founder’s passing. None of the subsequent owners wanted to do anything but try and run it like a car dealership (one of the owners ‘was’ a car dealer. The motorcycle dealership languished and just never delivered a fraction of the potential it had originally.

    Then, the current owner grabbed the reins. The difference was visible immediately. All of a sudden the floor had more stock than it’d ever had. More importantly, the owner has continuously worked at making his business a community center. He attends various motorcycle club meetings and events, hosts open houses with major sport celebrities present, and now hosts track days.

    Where’s the action at? Where do I want to by my next new motorcycle? No question. The other dealerships pale by comparison.

    Cheers,
    JT…

  • http://twitter.com/susangiurleo susangiurleo

    All great examples, Chris.

    At the core, all of this is the psychology of being social. We want, no we NEED to be connected to others, something bigger, feel part of a group.

    To really leverage these tools we need to look at being more social, less emphasis on the media…meaning, see social media as a platform to connect and engage. Shoving offers in my face is boring and borders on the insulting when I know you as a company can do so much more with a little creativity and time invested.

    It really does come down to that “know/like/trust” stuff that sounds passe, but is still how we’re wired to be human – online and off….connect with me as a human and my choice to do do business with you is easy…

  • http://www.fromdreamstolifestyle.com Patrick

    I agree, it goes beyond just making an offer. Engaging your customer throughout the process is invaluable. You not only gain a sale but a supporter, a colleague and maybe even a devoted fan. Developing relationships help you and your audience create products and services that best suit everyone.

  • Mack Collier

    Chris thanks for the #Blogchat shoutout! I agree with you, a Twitter chat holds great potential for companies, but many of them can’t realize that potential because they aren’t willing to invest the time and energy in growing the community around the chat. But then again that’s a problem common to most online community-building efforts.

    It’s a lot of work, unless you happen to enjoy creating a place where people can come together and learn from each other, then it’s more like fun ;)

  • http://mainspring.tv MainSpring Video

    Thanks for this list – these are all interesting ways to market using social media. Storytelling through video is especially important to our company, so we’re glad to see it on the list. Making that connection with customers is #1.

  • http://twitter.com/rockstarbrands Steve Jones

    Love the point about looking beyond offers. There is a store nearby that is always offering huge discount coupons… 40% off… 60% off. It has become so routine and expected that we won’t shop there without a coupon offer. There is no emotional connection to the store and no reason to go beyond a price point, which to their detriment has been eroded badly by constant discounting. It is sad really, especially since this store deals in framing and artwork… something that could very easily be the stuff of passionate communities of like-minded fans.

  • Anonymous

    Great list, Chris. Everything is about promoting conversations. Offers may create short term interaction, but conversation creates and nurtures long-term relationships.

  • http://www.idoinspire.com Jody Urquhart

    Hubspot does do a fantastic job of building more and better content. They also have content camp that involves detailed sessions on landing pages, conversion, writing calls to action and more

  • http://www.idoinspire.com Jody Urquhart

    Hubspot does do a fantastic job of building more and better content. They also have content camp that involves detailed sessions on landing pages, conversion, writing calls to action and more

  • luissandovaljr

    Well said, but I don’t think it’s lack of ability to offer different approaches, it’s definitely a lack of knowledge, or more importantly the lack of man power. When companies have dedicated teams, or person managing their social media with a strong strategy behind it, there tends to be more order to the chaos. When social engagement is added to a list of tasks to someone’s daily to-do’s then it strategy takes a back seat to the need to just do something to attract eyeballs.

    No one wants to be a one-trick pony, but you’re right in that diversity tells a better story and engages much more deeply.

  • http://www.corporationwiki.com/Florida/West-Palm-Beach/alfonso-fanjul-P2839162.aspx Alfonso Fanjul

    When social engagement is added to a list of tasks to someone’s daily to-do’s then it strategy takes a back seat to the need to just do something to attract eyeballs.

  • Anonymous

    Great ideas, it’s easy to lose sight that our customers are people who like interaction, not just numbers in the books. Finding creative ways to engage my audience is definitely something I need to work on.

  • Pingback: Social Media a Great Way to Spread the Word » Blog | GoGo Dropship

  • http://www.blistmarketing.com Brandon Yanofsky

    I really like this post. It’s something I will definitely talk about with my local business clients. I made the mistake of pushing discounts and offers for a very long time. But this makes perfect sense. Time to change up my strategy.

  • http://twitter.com/iMeetTweet iMeet

    Loved this post. We really love the idea of starting a conversation and relationship with our customers instead of just pushing products and self-promotions. Creating ways people can interact with not only us but with others in our community keeps our interactions creative, real and human.

  • Pingback: USM Stands For…? Ultra Scuba Monitoring?

  • http://twitter.com/benglatz BenG

    Great Post – love the toy soldier game story and cultivating your customers – reminds me of my trusted Bonsai merchant who runs very cheap yet great workshops here in the UK. When you have had one of those you just want to do more and more and end up buying shed loads of stuff from him … and then you come back for more.
    Even if you didn’t he’d still be happy to help you – that’s how you build customer loyalty.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual office assistant

    Its good investing in Social media. Social Media platform is ideal for different uses and should therefore have a customized strategy. Due to the rapid rise in popularity and relevancy many online marketing companies now offer Social Media Marketing and strategy development services which are paramount to the success of Social Media as a viable marketing channel.This will give good outcome when our customers want to do business with us continuously.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual office assistant

    Its good investing in Social media. Social Media platform is ideal for different uses and should therefore have a customized strategy. Due to the rapid rise in popularity and relevancy many online marketing companies now offer Social Media Marketing and strategy development services which are paramount to the success of Social Media as a viable marketing channel.This will give good outcome when our customers want to do business with us continuously.

  • Pingback: Top 5 car dealers blog articles for April 2011 — The Dealer Geek

  • http://www.automanager.com/ Car Dealer Software

    Social media is changing constantly so you have to make sure to keep your users attached and wanting more.  This is a great small guide to get people started in their SMM.