By now, you’ve surely heard of multi-channel or even omni-channel marketing. In an increasingly connected world, the goal is to spread your strategy across mobile, desktop, retail stores, and the full spectrum of social media. Multi-channel social media marketing can produce some great rewards – but it also takes time, planning, and the right tools.
What are the benefits of multi-channel marketing?
Multi-channel social media and marketing are valuable for brands and consumers. Let’s take a quick look at the headline benefits.
- Increase brand recognition and authority. If your brand appears in more places, more people will see it. Make your logo and branding a familiar sight for your target audience.
- Boost virality and search engine rankings. This applies especially to your social media. If you’re posting on multiple networks, chances are that you’ll improve engagement and SEO.
- Monitor consumers… and the competition. Explore the power of social listening. Find out what consumers are saying about you, and get insight into your competitors’ strategy, too.
- Save money. One reason why marketers love social media? It’s cheap. You can reach a lot of people for very little money. Leverage that to make your multi-channel marketing more cost-effective.
- Be accessible to your customers, wherever they are. Help consumers discover your brand on social media and offline. Then follow up with great customer service in store, via email, and on your social channels.
But with all that said… Many brands still don’t use multi-channel social media in their marketing strategies. Why? The biggest barriers are time, motivation, and knowledge.
In the rest of this post, we’ll talk about a specific multi-channel social media strategy that’s quick to run and easy to pick up. And with all these advantages on offer, you should be full of motivation!
How to create a multi-network social media strategy
When it comes to planning out your strategy, you’ll need to consider two main points. What types of content are you working with? And which social networks will you include?
Of course, you should be posting a wide range of content. We’ve previously discussed how to balance in-house, external, and user-generated content.
But since we want to save time and effort, we’ll focus on user-generated content for today. You can collect original, creative social media content from your users in the form of photos, comments, survey responses, votes, and even videos. Reuse this content to engage with customers, and save your resources for in-house content.
Next, let’s consider your communication channels.
Here’s an interesting coincidence: on average, customers need 6-8 “touches” from your brand before they make a purchase. Now, guess how many social media accounts the average internet user has. That’s right: 6-8.
Of course, posting on 6 to 8 networks may be too much of a stretch. For marketers, there are really just four big players in social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Depending on your brand and niche, you should consider smaller networks too, such as SnapChat or Pinterest. But if you’re just starting out, then keep things simple and stick to the networks you know.
So, to sum up: we’re looking for a strategy that serves up user-generated content on the Big Four social networks.
Viral and content strategies for social networks
One time-honored way to collect content is by running an online contest with a prize incentive. In the next few steps, we’ll take a look at how that works, and how to make your contests multi-channel. You’ll find two options below: one which focuses on content, and one which focuses on maximum viral reach.
The content option: Mention + hashtag contests
If you use a contest app with API access, you can collect user-generated content by tracking specific mentions and hashtags. You can collect mention + hashtag contest entries from Instagram. That includes photos and videos.
This type of giveaway is especially effective, because it has a dual effect. First, you collect user-generated content, as we’ve discussed. Secondly, when followers mention your brand and use your campaign hashtag, they boost your online profile in real time.
You can create giveaways to share anywhere. Use the photo contest app to create your competition with email sign-up form. Then share the unique URL on all your networks, via email, and even offline.
The viral option: Multi-network giveaways
Everyone has a different social media strategy. For example, you might not be interested in original photos from your users, but still keen to increase engagement across all your social channels.
In that case, the answer is a multi-network giveaway. By organizing a single contest, you can maximize your viral reach without investing too much time or money. Use a single app to collect comments from multiple posts, on multiple profiles, on multiple social networks.
If you run a multi-network giveaway, remember that you need to be consistent across all channels. Offer everyone the same prize, and keep the entry requirements the same. The easiest option is to ask a question, which your followers can answer in the comments.
How to make your promotions multi-channel
So you’ve run a multi-channel promotion, with contests to collect user-generated content. But now we need to take things off social media. Your strategy isn’t truly multi-channel until it connects across social media, email, your website, and even your brick-and-mortar stores.
Here are some quick ideas to expand your promotions into the multi-channel space:
- Follow up with emails. Set up personalized, automated messages to thank your followers, or share updates about contest results. You could offer a small store discount as a reward, too.
- Use instant response tools on social media. Just like email, this is your opportunity to show consumers you care. Make them feel seen – and give them an opportunity to click through to your website or online store.
- Share limited rewards. If you offer prizes or participation rewards, set limits to encourage customer conversion. For example, if you want to increase online sales, share a free shipping voucher. If you need more in-store footfall, give away coupons that are only valid in-store.
- Start promotions in-store. You can be really creative here. Run a mention + hashtag contest where users can only learn the “secret” hashtag from your store staff, or ask for photos taken in your store.
- Add newsletter subscriptions. If you run a giveaway with a registration form, ask users to sign up for email at the same time.
Multi-channel social media marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re just getting started, then focus on a few, specific promotions to develop your strategy and skills. Check out our contest apps to learn more about the possibilities, or contact the Support Team to discuss your ideas.