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Help is the new currency of marketing.

That was the word from Jay Baer, author of Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help, Not Hype, and the keynote speaker at our recent Winning the Customer Experience event.

What’s Youtility, exactly? It’s a maxim that winning customers for life requires becoming a resource to consumers rather than simply selling to them. Crafting content and campaigns that your target consumers value –even if it doesn’t directly promote your product – builds trust, a bigger audience, and ultimately gives you stronger influence among customers.

We agree with Jay. And in the spirit of being helpful, we wanted to carve out three specific ways social campaigns can help you become a Youtility marketer.

1. Discover your market’s needs.
Before you build, you need to know what customers want.

That’s a tricky issue for marketers. In most organizations, customer interaction has been handled by sales or support. Marketers have often been one step removed.

Social media broke down those old barriers. Marketers can learn firsthand what their customers love, hate or desire, then use that knowledge to create content that speaks to them.

Ask for fan feedback around a potential topic for a future resource. Quiz your fans about their home repair frustrations in preparation for your new DIY podcast. Or research your brand’s new fitness app by asking fans to vote their favorite forms of exercise in a series of Tug of Wars. Dig into your campaign reporting to discover trends and patterns, and use them to create a great Youtility. 

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Jay Baer

2. Host your Youtility in a social app.
Youtility comes in many forms– from blog series to eBooks to live events. Hosting an initiative on your social brand pages makes it inherently social, driving more sharing and participation. Plus, they’re really easy to build.

Maple Leaf follows this approach. They create video Tug of Wars, prompting fans to watch and vote for their favorite recipe videos. It’s proven to be an effective way to build an audience for their content – one campaign drew 12,000 new fans in just four days.

You might also try hosting your white papers or e-books in like-gated Exclusive campaigns on Facebook or Twitter. Users like your page to view helpful content, and you grow a relevant audience. 

Another idea is to use a Look Book to create a guide for the perfect gifts for an upcoming holiday, even if they vary from your brand. Become a resource for your fans without making a hard sell.

3. Promote your Youtility with social sweepstakes.
Don’t forget to market your marketing, Jay cautions.  No matter where your Youtility lives, you should promote it across your brand’s social channels. And sweepstakes are a terrific way to do this.

When Evian launched an initiative to educate consumers about health and exercise, they used Sign Up to power the “Ultimate Fitness” campaign, prompting users to register for chances to win fitness prize packs.

The secret is to point participants towards your Youtility while choosing a prize relevant to your theme or goal.

In the long run, creating useful, relevant content for your audience can be a game-changer for your brand. Social campaigns are vital for enhancing their value.

If you want more insights from the Winning the Customer Experience event, check out our Storify.