Traditional marketing mediums such as television, radio, print and direct mail have been around for decades. Marketing directors and advertising professionals are used to them and have developed a level of comfort and trust in their methods. Now enter, social media marketing! Suddenly we have to step out of our comfort zone and try something new; something that maybe hasn’t been proven. So many of us in the advertising and marketing world look at this as a red flag, a caution sign and we turn and run the other way. In a culture that is overwhelmed with content and bombarded with push marketing techniques we should be doing quite the opposite; we should embrace it! Remember back in 1999 when Geico introduced the famous Gecko into it’s TV campaigns?
Don’t confuse my Geico example as a suggested voice/strategy for social; it is of the upmost importance to stay within the voice of your brand. Remember, social is an avenue for communicating a brand mission and/or strategy. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time a new outlet is presented to you. This brings me to what I consider to be the most important stage of social media marketing, strategy.
Start from the Top
From my observations of small and large businesses early adoption of social media strategy I have noticed a single common mistake. Brands are marketing with a stereotypical fashion; if you are in the automotive industry will you really see any return on the 1,000 likes you received on your funny cat picture?
Your social media campaign, as with any form of traditional media should remain consistent with the existing strategies within your business. Take a look at this funnel graphic provided by Angie Schottmuller and think about your current strategy. Were you skipping some of the key steps that will help to ensure a strong return on investment from your social media efforts?
It is very easy to lose focus when advertising on a new platform but the simple fact is this: we are here to sell things! This is not to say that we should resort to typical push methods and turn our social feeds into a streaming advertisement. That simply wouldn’t create any engagement. This is when you as a marketer need to get creative. How can you turn a conversational platform into soft sales, how can you leverage casual engagement into sales conversions? Sometimes this is as simple as a consistent use of non invasive calls to action. Other times it requires something that very few people are unwilling to commit to, effort!
Engage Your Customers
When you are face to face with a potential customer, whether it be a purchasing manager or executive in a B2B sale or an individual on your showroom floor, you will do almost anything it takes to close a sale. Why should this change in a different arena? Listen to what your customers want, if they are being reasonable, find a way to make it happen and you will be thrilled to see the short and even long term effect you can have on your buyers.
I will be diving further into the creation of social media marketing strategy in a future post but the basics of any strategy should remain the same; you are extending an existing sales plan into an existing platform. Figure out the needs of your business as a whole first, and then shape a strategy to the platforms you will use to communicate these plans. Social media is an extremely effective outlet for brands of all kinds. Social shouldn’t take up your entire marketing budget but when you look at what is handed to you, it would be downright stupid to ignore it.