Referral marketing is the most effective form of marketing; social media is the best place to find leads for your business. So it is no wonder that referral marketing and social media have been brought together, creating a powerful marketing concept: social media referral marketing.
How does social media referral marketing work? A traditional referral programme targets customers, asking them to refer a friend and enjoy special benefits (discounts, early access to new products, etc.). On social media, you can target a larger group: your followers and their friends. This opens up many opportunities for your business to create an effective traffic and sales funnel and to build strong relationships with its prospects and customers.
Now comes the part where we bring you down to earth: building an effective social media referral marketing strategy is not easy. It is not enough to share content and write posts at the right moments of the day. A good marketing strategy is about building trust and interest to the point that your followers will have no second thoughts about inviting their social media friends to like your pages, subscribe to your newsletters, and buy your products.
So, how do you get started? Here are a few best practices to adopt:
- Add Social Sharing Buttons Everywhere
There is a saying stating that heaven helps those who help themselves. This is very true in social media referrals. You want your content shared across social media platforms, and your blog readers, or newsletter subscribers want to share interesting pieces, too. But you don’t have social media sharing buttons.
This is the very basic first step you must make, even before you craft your strategy. Even if you are not certain about the final shape of your referral programme for social media, those buttons have to be there to help your content go viral. Free notoriety and exposure to new audiences are things you cannot underestimate.
- Set Up Friend Invite
Let’s make a small experiment. Which of the two are you most likely to click on your Facebook™ newsfeed: a product shared by a friend, or an ad? Just like 75% of the users involved in a survey, you would probably click on the friend’s post.
Friend invites are very effective in social media referral marketing programmes. If you promise your customers a small incentive for inviting their social media friends to visit your website, or subscribe to your newsletter, they will do it. After all, they trust your brand, and they want to help their friends discover quality and useful products.
- Customise Social Sharing Messages
Make it easy for your readers to share your links on social media. No one likes posting links without a few words of explanation. But typing (or tapping) those words takes time, especially on a mobile phone.
As a sign of courtesy, prepare a customised text for social media shares for each platform (Facebook™, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). This helps your brand in two ways: your followers will be more eager to share your content knowing that they don’t have to fill in the link description, and you can control what words are used in the text, promoting your target keywords.
- Join Viral Conversations
Brand recognition is important for the success of your social media referral marketing strategy. No one feels comfortable sharing content and products from obscure brands, making their friends wonder “who are they?”
Thankfully, it is quite easy to stand out on social media. Find hot trends and viral topics connected to your niche and your followers’ interests and join the conversation. Share your thoughts and opinions and answer your followers’ questions. Do not engage in feuds, disputes, and don’t feed the trolls. Otherwise, the whole purpose of being active on social media will backfire.
- Add a Note of Exclusivity
Years and years ago, when Gmail was in beta version, users could get an email account only by invite from a friend who already had it. It was a mark of prestige to send your emails from a Gmail address. Even now, when Google allows everyone (even businesses) to have an account on their mailing platform, those initial users still feel proud that they were among the chosen few to test Gmail ahead of everyone else.
The same goes for a successful social media referral programme. Do not easily give it out to everyone. Start with a few loyal and long-term followers. Supply details by private message. Make them feel special–the chosen few. They will be more than willing to take up your offer.