Before you create any social media profiles for your business, you should have a thorough strategy in place. Social media will affect every dimension of your business, from marketing to customer service. However, it’s not as much about how you would like to use it as much as how your customers (and potential customers) need you to use it.
This post will discuss the PyroMarketing method for the marketing aspect of your social media strategy.
PyroMarketing is a term coined by Greg Stielstra in his book PyroMarketing: The Four-Step Strategy to Ignite Customer Evangelists and Keep Them for Life. Written in 2005, it is arguably more applicable today than it was when he wrote it.
The Four Steps of PyroMarketing
The four steps are:
- Gather the driest tender
- Touch it with a match
- Fan the flames
- Save the coals
Let’s dig into what each of these steps mean.
1. Gather the Driest Tender
Gather the driest tender is another way of saying promote to the people most likely to buy without resistance. Marketers that use traditional advertising waste a lot of money reaching people that aren’t interested in what they are selling. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to reach a highly targeted audience online.
To discover your driest tender, do an analysis of your current customers. If you don’t have this data already, put a survey on your website. How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests?
Once you collect this data and analyze your customers, you can cross-reference the results with social media research such as this 2012 study by Pew. You will discover what social media activities your audience is interested in. With this information in hand, you can make an educated decision about how your business should participate in social media.
2. Touch it With a Match
Touch it with a match means to give your potential customers an experience with your product or service.
For online services, such as a members-only website or a social media management tool, this is pretty straightforward. Offer a free trial. Let them use the product to solve their problems. Not only is a hands-on experience more likely to lead to a sale than any other marketing activity, but you will gather valuable information about potential customers during the sign-up process.
If you offer tangible goods, it’s still possible to provide the experience through social media. Sell cars? Post a video walk-through of your vehicles. Are you an author? Post updates with compelling lines for your book. Do you run a boutique? Post pictures of a model wearing some items from your latest shipment. While the customer will not have a direct experience, these types of activities will help them identify with what you are selling.
A few other ways you can use social media to provide an experience:
- Giveaways – Give your products to people through contests
- Deep discounts/coupons – Drive foot traffic to a physical location or website to encourage a personal experience
- How-to content - Show people not only how to use your products, but exactly how they will benefit
The principle is to let your customers decide for themselves. They aren’t likely to trust you. Letting them discover how great your product is on their own will likely lead to word-of-mouth marketing.
3. Fan the Flames
To fan the flames means to equip people with the tools they need to spread what you are selling. When you fan the flames, the fire becomes hotter.
As I said in a recent blog post, place sharing buttons everywhere on your website. Okay – not everywhere – but make sure they are prominently featured. If a customer wants to tell their networks about your product, make it easy for them! Oh, and be sure to include the number of shares beside each button. When people see that others have shared something, they are more likely to do it. This is called social proof.
Don’t forget that people respond to incentives. Offer a coupon to everyone who writes a blog post or status update about your product. Providing pre-written messages or talking points is a great way to make it easy for them.
You should also invite your best customers to be a part of an exclusive community or to join an exclusive email list. Seed these customers with the newest information about your product, and let them share it with their friends. If they feel like they are a part of something, you will keep their attention and their desire to help you.
It’s easy to think of a social network as one large group of people. In reality, social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, are a bunch of smaller networks of people. These smaller networks connect people who either have offline relationships or common interests. They have likely developed some level of trust between one another. If you can get small groups to adopt your message, it will likely continue to spread.
4. Save the Coals
To save the coals means to keep a database of your existing customers so you can reach them again.
Fortunately, social networks make this easy. As long as the network exists and you maintain a profile for your business, you will not lose your fans or followers (unless you make them angry or bore them).
However, I would suggest cross promoting your email list, which is usually a database you have control over. If you’re fortunate enough to have a CRM tool, then add the social profiles of your customers to the database.
I need to emphasize that marketing should only be one aspect of your comprehensive social media strategy. If you try to use social media as a digital billboard for your business, you will fail. Focus on human relationships first. Earn the right to market to your audience. Then only do it when the time is right.
The book obviously provides a much more in-depth description of this method. I’ve adapted it and applied social media tactics to it. Whether you manage social media or have a broader marketing role, I highly suggest reading it. It’s available on Amazon.