I hear it again and again – social media marketing doesn’t get results. The biggest reason is that most social media marketing plans aren’t structured to get results.
Typically there are one of two problems: either they don’t try to ever make a sale (or compel you to take an action that will eventually lead to a sale) or they try to sell directly. The thing is that both of these problems have the same solution.
Sounds contradictory, I know.
Here is the thing. If you are a business owner and you want to get some sort of results from your social media marketing (which hopefully you do) you have to clearly plan for it. You have to know what you want and build a plan. “Just trust me, we’re talking to people”, doesn’t get business results. Impressions don’t even guarantee business results.
On the other had overt and direct selling doesn’t work well either. Unless you are offering a high value discount/deal/coupon it is unlikely that direct selling will work on social media. Repeatedly pitching your business doesn’t work.
The reality is that purchasing is a process. Most people don’t immediately buy upon learning about something. I heard at a search marketing conference that people typically visit a site 5.6 times before purchasing. This means that going for the direct sale won’t likely work, not only because of social media, but also because it takes more than one visit.
The Key to Success – Creating a Conversion Path
The key to success in marketing isn’t to go for the sell right away. It is to create an initial entry point where you can build a relationship that will eventually lead to a sale.
This is probably best illustrated with an example…
You Tweet about an upcoming webinar with a sought after industry expert who will discuss a relevant issue. Your followers sign up for the webinar. Prior to sign up you ask them some lead-qualifying questions. After the webinar you follow-up with a sales call. You also add them to your email marketing newsletter.
Now you have three different contact points (sales call, email marketing, twitter) that you can work to drive a sale.
For a consumer marketing company it could look like this:
A Facebook ad that offers an incentive to become a fan. The fans enter a contest and provide their email address. You can market to them (new products, offers, deals, etc) through email and your Facebook relationship.
In either case you can see that the initial touchpoint on social media is used to create a slightly deeper relationship that can then help close the sale over time.
Getting them in – Offer Something of Value
In order to get them in to your initial stream you have to offer them something of value. A webinar, a special report, an e-book, a white paper, a coupon, a discount, a sneak-peak, the options are endless.
The key is that you are asking for something from them – information so you can build a deeper relationship and improve the likelihood of a sale over time – and in return you must offer them something of value.
Consider what you can offer that might be of value in return for the opportunity to deepen your relationship, stay top of mind and eventually get the sale.
Ultimately, Think of Social Media as a Funnel
Social Media, and Internet Marketing is about getting your clients to make incremental committments that allow you to deepen your relationships. Sophisticated internet marketers know the value of a fan, a follower or a person on their email list over time.
In order to get value from your social media marketing efforts you have to have a clear plan and know the steps that will lead to the sale over time. It isn’t about ignoring selling or aggressively selling. It is about slowly and carefully bringing them down a path of incremental steps that ultimately lead to a purchase over time.