The social media marketing space has seen a lot of M&A activity in the last couple of months. Before Memorial Day, hardware engineer Oracle acquired Vitrue for a reported $300 million, and less than a month later, software company Salesforce nabbed digital marketing firm Buddy Media for around $745 million. Perhaps it’s a sign that social marketing has really come of age, as more and more companies — large and small — understand the importance (and ROI) of social engagement with their customers.
New York City-based social media marketer Offerpop works with close to 29,000 merchants (mainly SMBs) both in the U.S. and abroad. The company offers merchants 19 applications — 15 designed for Facebook and another four for Twitter — that range from tools to enable deals and exclusives to more engaging promos to drive traffic, clickthroughs, and email signups (and ultimately sales). Street Fight recently caught up with Offerpop’s CMO, Mark Cooper, to find out more about how the company helps small businesses engage consumers over social media.
How does Offerpop’s platform work?
You typically set up the campaign through the platform, so that means figuring out what kind of program you want to run, be it sweepstakes or a referral program, or an engagement program like a photo contest. And then from there, you pull together your assets. You’re uploading text about what the campaign is and why people should participate. You’re uploading images to depict what that campaign’s all about, the fun that people will have participating and even clues, legal copy, contest rules, etc.
Once you go through that process, when you publish the campaign, we actually make it a very seamless step for users to publish the campaign to their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, whereas with other vendors, they make you go in through the Facebook and Twitter platforms and go through a manual configuration. That’s just the typical process that every other vendor puts their customers through, and we believe that goes in the face of providing easy use and simplicity, so we took that complexity on with our platform and just made it very automatic. We’re taking care of things on the back end, and our system is just asking publishers for a few key pieces of information, like what page they want to publish to and when they want to start their campaign. When they hit the publish button, it’s automatically generated on their Facebook page or on their Twitter account.
At the end of the day, when you’re engaged in social, it’s all about driving clickthroughs.
The buzzword for social media marketing is always “engagement.” What can small businesses do to drive likes and accrue followers?
What engagement about is a couple of things: If you’re in a social environment and you have active fans that are engaged, that means you have an active fan base with a high reach. When you’re looking at an active fan base and looking at the reach numbers on Facebook, every fan has an average of 130 friends. And then, through studies, they’ve also seen that friends of friends are greatly effected by a given fan. If you have an active fan base, that means that you have an active reach, that’s much greater than your overall fan base. That’s number one.
Number two is frequency. If you’ve got an active fan base, that also means that if you’re engaging them in a proper, authentic way and doing a great job of particularly keeping those active fans talking about you or interacting with you week-to-week through social actions that their friends via their friends of friends see, that means you’re doing a good job by getting frequent messages out about your brand or your new product to this active fan base.
And then, the other side of it is clickthroughs. At the end of the day, when you’re engaged in social, it’s all about driving clickthroughs. And when I look at that, that means that you’re getting a fan or their friends or friends of friends to take action. That means that they’ve clicked through to your website and are potentially going to make a purchase. They’ve clicked through to your form field, and they’re leaving you their email address or opt-in information for future marketing communications, so that you can build out your email list, which is actually something that a lot of small businesses use us for. They’re taking a look at content that you’ve set up, and you have sponsors or advertisers that are driving revenue around driving traffic to that content. You’ve got linked that back into a membership system, so you’re acquiring members through our programs.
How can social media marketing tools help foster customer loyalty?
We’ve got a couple of apps that fall into that category. One is called Exclusives, where it’s actually available on Twitter and Facebook, and that’s just the ability to say, “Hey, if you’re an existing fan or follower, you get exclusive access to this unique promo code or printable coupon or exclusive content.” We’ve seen company kind of run the gamut as far as offers go. That works very well in terms of fan and follower acquisition, as well as ongoing loyalty. They’re also very easy to deploy. Marketers have no time, and small business marketers in particular, have no time in their days to really think about and try to go through the headache of setting up campaigns.
Another app we offer, which is on Facebook, is called Deals. Deals is about being able to manage consistent offers, be they coupons or unique promo codes, and schedule them out, so that as you run out of a particular item, you can have that deal automatically expire. You can set them for a certain timeframe, so when July 15 comes along, you can set the deal to automatically expire. You can schedule a new deal to come in, say starting August 1, and once that’s set up in the system, you can just do it automatically.
Patrick Duprey is an intern at Street Fight.