Anyone who has followed our blogs for a while will know that we’re fans of social media. We’ve helped clients build social campaigns that have led to an increase in business leads and sales. However, not all social campaigns are created equal.
Is Social Appropriate for Business?
Social media bridges the void between business and pleasure. Most of us use the popular platforms to share family news, important life events, or update our friends on what we’re doing; however, is this the space where we want to hear from our professional peers and customers?
This is very much up to personal preference, but for marketing professionals we need to choose the channels where we expect to engage with the right audience.
Our campaigns have proven that professionals are equally active on channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as they are on a more traditional B2B channel, LinkedIn.
We’ve also seen a rising trend towards professional Facebook Groups – making this platform a go-to during regular business hours. We are members of some very active professional networks through Facebook and recommend checking out the topics that are relevant to your niche – it really is a fabulous way to make new connections.
What About Finding Customers?
We’ve established that business users are active on social channels, but how do we make
meaningful connections with them?
It’s in this area where most businesses and marketing teams trip up – you see, social is not about advertising but about connecting and there are some fundamental differences.
Think about the last time you were using your social channels – what was your frame of mind? Did you appreciate the adverts screaming out ‘Buy Me, Buy Me’? Probably not.
Now think about the messages that caused you to pause. They were probably offering you ways to improve something, be a better version of yourself, make something easier or triggered your curiosity. Now take this is a stage further – what was the call to action? Was it ‘Buy Now’ or was it ‘Download a free guide’ or similar?
There are subtle and some not-so-subtle distinctions to note for effective communication on social.
Let’s explore that...
The Customer Journey
In all marketing, we discuss the stages a customer progresses through on their journey from prospect to customer. It’s usually looks something like this:
Awareness > Interest > Decision > Action.
The awareness stage is usually triggered in response to demand. So, your prospect has a problem and you have a product or service that solves that problem. The customer looks for a solution to their problem and they find you (awareness). This could happen through pay-per-click advertising, a print advert in relevant trade press, or through internet search to name just a few.
The big difference is that you’re reacting to the customers demand. On social, you need to switch your perspective. You’re putting your product (and yourself – more about this later) out there and hoping it triggers that awareness.
You could argue that this is no different to traditional advertising by creating awareness you drive demand, however, consider the platform and the user intent. The person using the social channel isn’t there to buy, they want to catch up with friends, family and current affairs. If you’re going to interrupt them, you need to do so thoughtfully.
Changing the Journey
When we look at the awareness stage of the sales funnel we need to expand our thinking for effective social engagement. What type of awareness is important? I would argue that it’s not awareness of your product and the solution it provides that should come first, but awareness of you.
If I saw you at a network event, walked up to you and shouted ‘World Innovators can help you build more effective marketing campaigns’ and promptly walked off, you probably wouldn’t consider doing business with me. You don’t even know my name but you probably like the sound of ‘more effective marketing’. Translating this into social and a post with the same message would probably have the same impact.
A Quick Test
Why ‘you’ and not ‘your brand’? The old mantra, ‘people buy from people’, is so true, but especially so on social. We expect to talk to real people, not just ‘customer services’.
So, a quick test. When did you last ask a question on social? This is a key indicator of whether you looking to start a conversation or simply make statements.
Think about how you help people. What do you bring that’s special? Why should people connect and engage with you? What do you want to know about them? There are so many ways to make connections, ask people about their concerns, challenges and successes, and most importantly be ready to have a conversation.
The Misconception that Social is ‘Free’
Effective social engagement isn’t easy. It’s a combination of art and science. You’re looking for consistency of voice, sometimes across multiple users, effective communication – really talking to your prospects and a slow and steady journey towards sales.
This requires careful preparation, analysis of results and continual steps towards improvement. Planning your social campaigns may sound challenging, but the rewards can have a big impact on your bottom line.
Social is a great place to develop brand advocates – people who go on to recommend you and drive even more sales into the future. If you’re committed to your customers' happiness, social is the perfect place to show the world how you’re different and ultimately why you’re a great company to do business with.
Remember Social is About People
People like to be helped, appreciated and respected. So, respect their space, be helpful and appreciate their time and input.
What to Do Now
Have a look back over your most recent social posts – are you shouting ‘buy me, buy me’ or taking steps to actively engage with your audience? Are you asking questions or just making statements?
If you need help and support building an effective marketing campaign using social media, give me, Donna Peterson-
Call- +1 860-210-8088,
I would be delighted to share our 37 years of knowledge and experience with you!