In Social Media buzzword bingo, “Activate” is worth double. While the word populates hundreds, if not thousands of social media strategies, very few businesses have the slightest idea how to do it. Today I’m going to tell you what activation means.
Over time, many words lose their meaning, so let’s go back to the beginning. Activate begins with “act,” which is of latin origin meaning: do. So let’s state the obvious, to activate one’s followers, fans, friends or advocates is to get them to do something.
What do you want them to do?
This is the central question that has eluded so many social media consultants and strategists. It sounds good to “active your core audience of brand evangelists” but more often than not, it’s buzzwords for the sake of buzzwords. It dazzles the clients into a feeling of inferiority rather than giving a sense of empowerment, and that’s where it ends. Let’s make it simple. You want your customers, fans, advocates etc to DO something, and most often–in business– it’s one of only a small number of things:
- spread awareness in the form of sharing something with their network,
- express interest in the form of a click through to a lead capture page, or calling a phone number
- express buying intent in the form of a click through to a purchase page.
After that, there isn’t much else. Businesses exist to make money. All else is secondary. Even when businesses are giving back or supporting a cause, activating the audience means “closing the sale” of involving the audience in that endeavor, which not only increases the company’s value to the non-profit or cause, it attaches the fans, customer or advocate to the brand to build loyalty with the potential to accomplish one of the three aforementioned things.
Before choosing what you want people to do, identify the business issue at stake.
- People don’t know who we are, what we do, or about our products.
- We need more opportunities to close a sale
- We need to close more sales.
Whichever of the three is most urgently needed will provide the focus of how you want to activate people.
Call to Action
While not every post can be a call to action, many businesses have grown fearful of ever admitting that they are in business on social media sites. It’s not wrong to sell on Social Media sites, it’s about HOW you sell. As an example: We read Copyblogger constantly. We’ve purchased virtually all Copyblogger products with the exception of the Synthesis web hosting. We’ve bought and use *ScribeSEO, *Premise, and *Studiopress Themes, built on the Genesis Framework. We even purchased *Gravity Forms simply because Copyblogger recommended it. Why? Because Copyblogger delivers a ridiculous amount of value every single day. We trust them, we trust that their products are good and that when they recommend something, that it will help us. (* – Above links are affiliate links) But make no mistake, they ask for the sale. The homepage opens up with a call to action:
The Moral of the Story
If you want to activate people there are two things you must DO.
- Build trust by constantly providing value to your audience. Be freakishly concerned with your audience. Be obsessive about making their lives better with your content.
- Ask for them to do something. Whether you want something purchased, shared or clicked…ASK. But do not do this until you have demonstrated your commitment to your audience.
Activation is a slow and methodical process in which you forget about your own self interests for most of the time and instead focus on value-creation. Then when the time is right, and still with the focus on your customer, make the ask. We think you’ll be surprised how well it works.
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