Have you heard about a new trend in social media marketing? It’s called action-gating.
Action-gating is a process where businesses ask for information from their followers, such as an email address, age, location, user feedback, etc., in exchange for a valuable piece of content, a coupon or a prize.
Now that Facebook has decided businesses can no longer ”like-gate” their content, it’s time for all of us to re-think our social media strategies, and shift our focus to building a valuable audience rather than just a large one.
I just read an interesting article from Marketing Magazine that discussed big brands that were moving away from Facebook and utilizing social alternatives. It mentions three interesting stats:
- Red Bull’s main Facebook page has 44 million fans, but only generated 330,000 interactions last month.
- Coca Cola’s main Facebook page has 84 million fans, but had engagement 20 times lower than Red Bull’s.
- MAC averaged just one monthly interaction for every 500 Facebook fans.
The article goes on to show how these brands are finding success on other social networks. The reason these brands are pulling away from Facebook is so they can marketing with a combination of multiple social media platforms.
For this post, I’m going to discuss three main business goals and explain how you can achieve them with action-gating. These three goals were taken from a recent survey of ShortStack’s user base where we asked business owners to tell us what their top social media marketing goal was.
Social Media Goal #1: Convert Followers to Leads
There are hundreds of social media networks, however a majority of businesses focus on the top five – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+. Whether you’re involved in one social network or twenty social networks, you have followers everywhere! The key to converting those followers to leads is to learn more about them so you can give them what they want.
The easiest and quickest way to learn more about your followers is to run a promotion in which you ask your fans for a piece of relevant information in exchange for a prize.
For example, if you own or manage a restaurant and one of your goals is to increase your weeknight sales, you may consider running a giveaway that includes a prize of two free dinners.
In order to enter the giveaway, followers would first have to answer a simple question: “What night of the week are you most likely to dine out?” Once they answer the question and provide their email address, they’re entered to win two free dinners. You’ve now taken everyone that’s entered your contest, learned what night they prefer to eat dinner and turned them into potential customers you can get back to your restaurant in the future. You can even adjust your menu/restaurant to accommodate the most popular night for eating out, or even offer extra discounts designed to drive traffic on your slow nights.
The online supermarket, Ocado, recently ran an action-gated campaign that demonstrates what I’m referring to. They were giving away the chance to win a home-cooked meal by a Michelin-starred chef. In order to enter, followers had to provide basic information including their name, email address and zip code. They were also required to answer the question “If you were to open a restaurant, what would you call it and why?” They also required followers to tell them how they heard about the giveaway.
Ocado published the campaign on the web and promoted it across their social channels, including Facebook, and their blog. The campaign is still active but we’ve been told that they usually see around 3,000 entries into their campaigns, and since they’ve published to the web they’d already seen 5,000 entries within the first few weeks.
Ocado Giveaway Campaign
Ocado Blog Post
Ocado Facebook Post
Ocado Twitter Post
Social Media Goal #2: Convert Leads to Sales
In order to convert those leads into sales, you need to continue to speak to your audience outside of social media.
Let’s continue with our restaurant example. Let’s say you received 50 entries into your free dinner competition. You now know what night of the week 50 people enjoy eating dinner and you have the email address for those 50 potential customers.
To turn those leads into sales you could build an email marketing campaign informing those people of any special events, perks, or happy hours taking place at your restaurant. Maybe 70 percent of those people said they like eating out on Monday so you’ve implemented a new happy hour that lasts longer on Monday nights. You can email your participants letting them know of this accommodating change.
Let’s look at another example. Last year we had a guest post on our blog by Kristina Allen, a new e-commerce store owner. Kristina was just starting her soy candle business and she had zero email contacts. She decided to run a contest where she gave away $100 worth of candles to one lucky winner who opted-in to her email list. Overnight — literally — she had 200 people opt-in. She had also set up a series of auto-responder emails that provided each of her new subscribers with a 20 percent off coupon for a soy candle. Kristina immediately leveraged her email list and turned a number of her leads into sales. She then had the email list that she could continue marketing her products to.
Another company utilizing this method is Simply Measured. They offer all of their resources as landing pages on their website and in order to download them you must provide information about yourself and your social audience. Once you download an eBook you receive an email within 24 hours from a member of the Simply Measured team who specializes in the area you’re interested in.
Simply Measured Landing Page for an eBook download
An email my co-worker received within 24 hours of downloading the eBook.
Social Media Goal #3: Grow Your Social Media Presence
The third goal that many marketers have is to grow their social media presence. While this is a very broad goal, there are still some ways that businesses can achieve this goal with the help of action-gating.
I’m not into forcing people to like or follow a business on social networks. I’ve always believed that a follow or like should happen because a person is interested in your brand and wants to receive the information you’re offering through that particular network. If you’re constantly pushing your Facebook fans to follow you on Twitter and Instagram all you’ve created is a blanketed audience across all of your networks. The key is to continually bring new eyes to your social networks by offering something unique through each channel.
To do this you need to use your non-social channels to reach your audience such as your website, blog, or in-store location. In these places you continually talk about the benefits your audience will receive from following you on certain networks to build your social presence.
For example, lets say that you want to give away a 15 percent off coupon for your business or service. You can create a campaign that is published on the web and inform your audience of the coupon giveaway through your website and blog. When the audience gets to your campaign they enter their email address in exchange for the coupon and they’re encouraged to follow you on Facebook for more giveaways and exclusive offers. Now you’ve driven traffic to your Facebook page and you’ve collected email addresses so you can continue to market to those people and convert those sales.
Before you start your next social campaign, think about your overarching goal and the best way to achieve it. Action-gating is an inexpensive and easy way to collect valuable user information that can be repurposed in social, mobile and web campaigns to achieve your business’s goals.
And there you have it – 3 Facebook Social Media Marketing goals and how to achieve them with action-gating!
Do you think Facebook made the right move getting rid of their “like-gate”? What are your thoughts on action-gating?