Social media strategies: Sell and Tell

This post highlights the second of four social media strategies I uncovered in my experiment to learn how companies use this medium to engage their customers. I highlighted the first strategy, the Placeholder, yesterday. Today's strategy is called "Sell and Tell". All the strategies are a function of how much 'social' and how much 'media' is used.


Sell and Tell

The Sell and Tell is high on media, but low on social. It involves using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media applications to sell products or tell your customers something interesting that's related to your products.

When to use it

The Sell and Tell is a good strategy to use for two purposes:

  1. You have something interesting or useful to share with your customers. It might be educational, tips on how to use your products, or some 'behind the scenes' information. A great example is Cuvaison winery, which posts videos on Facebook of their wine maker discussing tasting notes for the latest club shipments right before they go out.
  2. You want to exploit Facebook or Twitter as a distinct sales channel and the effort provides a decent return. I've been largely unimpressed with Starbucks in this experiment, but they did use Twitter effectively to announce "Free Pastry Day" yesterday. Mmmmmm. Free is my favorite price.

How to use it

There are three basic steps to using the Sell and Tell strategy effectively.

  1. Clearly state why your customers should tune in. Are you offering exclusive deals? Mention it! Should I follow you on Twitter for breaking news? Tell me. Should I not expect a response to a comment on Facebook? Make that clear too. I responded to several Sell and Tell posts during my experiment and I always felt better when I got a response. If you aren't responding to comments or Tweets, just make it clear it's a one-way street.
  2. Provide useful information or unique offers. Fiji Yogurt uses Facebook to announce the daily flavor line-up at each of their locations. Terra uses Twitter to share updates like specials or new menu items. The caveat here is to make sure your offers are clear and your communication channels are working. I'm still waiting for a free dinner from Terra that I won for responding to a Twitter promotion two weeks ago. This type of miss can ruin customer engagement or even create an ex-customer.
  3. Track your results to measure return on effort. It doesn't cost much to use tools like Facebook and Twitter, but it does take some time and coordination to do it right. Be sure you track how many customers are responding to your promotions or using the information you provide. This will allow you to evaluate whether your Sell and Tell strategy is worth the time. Remember - your are better off using the Placeholder strategy than doing a poor job of Sell and Tell.

As always, your comments and ideas are appreciated!