What is a Social Offer?

Open HandsIn various posts and tweets, I’ve referenced the term “social offer.” Just what is a social offer? It’s a term I coined to refer to the creation of win-win opportunities for specific social audiences in specific online communities.

My infographic describes how to get from social media goals to social offers. You begin with your own business goals–the bottom-line effects you are trying to achieve by being engaged in social media. Based on that, you can determine the social media goals.

You want something to happen online. It might be getting people to share your content, getting people to come to your website, getting people to talk positively about your product to other people. These social media goals are tangible and can be measured.

Many businesses can connect these dots. It’s here, though, where their efforts to develop a strategy often fail. First, you have to determine who your social audience is. Your social audience may or may not be your customer. For example, if you’re trying to increase word-of-mouth, your best social audience may be influential bloggers.

Once you do know your audience, you need to do some research to find your audience online. What communities are they participating within, in large quantities?

And here is where most consultants and businesses fail. Now that you know where your audience is online, you need to take a user-experience approach. You must understand what each audience, in each community, wants. What are the user’s goals? What do they hope to gain from being online in that community? 

User goals are not always tangible. Sometimes they are subtle and pyschological, such as getting recognition from others or demonstrating competence. Moreover, the same individual–your target audience–might have different goals in different communities.

It’s critical to understand the goals of the different audiences. Once you do, you can construct the social offer. You construct a social offer that meets your audience’s goals, while meeting your social media goals.  For example, if recognition is what your audience seeks, you might provide a place on your blog where people can be recognized, and construct a social offer that asks people to contribute a picture or a story. You post these submissions on your blog and promote them by tweeting, putting them on your Facebook page, etc. You meet your audience’s goal by giving them recognition and promoting them, while meeting your social media goal of driving traffic to your blog. Because you’re meeting your audience’s needs, they are more likely to both participate and share your social offer with others.

That’s what a social offer is. What social offers have you created?

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  1. [...] The real trick is to evaluate each of your social audiences in each of their communities, to see how they want to present themselves in that community. Then create a strategy that gives people the opportunity to present themselves the way they want–while building in methods to promote your business. You create a social offer. This is the win-win approach to social media. [...]

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