Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Social Marketing Shockers and Secrets

Social marketing can be fun, can increase awareness, and can drive website traffic. But there's also some things you should be aware of before you dive in and spend time or money on this method.

The following are some comments I've heard over the years and my response, based on personal experience and observation:

Social media can't be measured. False. It surely can. Even better, the tools to help you measure them are all free. What you use is good old fashioned direct response and public relations metrics - outputs, outcomes and objectives. Outputs measure effectiveness and efficiency. Outcomes measure behavioral changes. And objectives is simply comparing direct product sales during the time of the campaign to other sales that occurred before the campaign. Online resources that can help with these measurements are Google Analytics, Google Alerts and Back-link checkers. You can also use your own in-house stats for subscriber sign ups (i.e. your email service provider) and sales (i.e. online shopping cart or ecommerce platform).

With social marketing, I don't need an ezine or free newsletter? False. You can certainly just have social media accounts and not have a daily, weekly or monthly ezine, but that is not ideal. You see, with social media accounts, you don't have the friend/follower/fan ('Triple F') email address. You post comments and thoughts, which can be entertaining, strategic or random, but you 'really' don't have a direct line of communication between you and your Triple F. This email address is like gold. Having an email address for your prospects gives you permission to bond with them through strong editorial as well as cross-sell them through targeted, persuasive promotional copy. Not having this is really doing your business an injustice. Not everyone is a 'profile stalker'. Not every Triple F is going to visit your social media page frequently to truly resonate with your message or buy your products. There is so much social media 'noise' that without having your Triple F's email, you're likely to get lost in the chatter.

Twitter is better for conversions than Facebook. False. Personally and for my clients, I have found that Facebook followers/fans convert better than Twitter. My thought for a few reasons: Facebook has more character limitations (420 or so characters per post) as well as a variety of features so you can say more, bond more, and sell more to your audience. Twitter has very strict character limitations (140 characters) making it difficult to have more than a shallow relationship with your audience posting short and pithy blurbs here and there. In addition, did you ever notice most people's 'Following' and 'Followers' numbers are very close or nearly identical in range? That is because with Twitter, you get more random followers that will 'Follow' most anyone looking for a reciprocal follow. Sure, you can set your account with a security feature to not just let people follow you but actually approve potential followers first. But that is not common practice for the most part (unless your ultimate Twitter purpose isn't for business or marketing). With Facebook, as a default you have to approve all friend requests first, thereby you can sort of qualify your audience. I believe with both of these platforms, it's truly quality over quantity. I don't recommend getting caught up in the numbers of how big your friend or follower list is, it's better to have a small list that is responsive, interacts and converts - than a large list that is uninterested in your messages.

It's ok to grab an email address from a 'friend' or 'network' profile page on Facebook or LinkedIn and send them promotional emails. Absolutely not.. Never. This is spam pure and simple. If you haven't noticed, at the bottom of your Facebook info. page or LinkedIn home page, your email address is posted for your network to see. In Facebook, this is a security setting that can be shown to friends only, friends or friends, or everyone. On LinkedIn it's similar. Believe it or not, shortly after I accepted some industry colleague requests, I started getting these solicitations for these people's products. There were pure, hardcore promotional emails. Now, I now I never signed up for there ezine. And it was within days after accepting their request. I could only conclude that these social media barracudas friend targeted people (that are ideal potential customers) and then once friended use that access to view personal email address and spam away. I find this not only tacky and obnoxious, but also violation of anti-spam practices. Needless to say I un-friended these people soon after. But use common sense and know that it's a best practice not to do this.

What are some tricks to increase your presence in Twitter? Keep your Tweets frequent, useful, relevant and entertaining. Use hash tags (#) with targeted keywords. Make sure you have a keyword rich and relevant Twitter bio so the right people can read about you and follow you. Text is limited, so pick your descriptive keywords carefully.

Social marketing is a waste of time. No, not if done correctly. Last year, my friend Bob Bly had a hot social media discussion brewing on his blog, www.Bly.com/blog. One commenter said, ""...by a direct response marketer's metrics, social media is a waste of time..." and "...social networking is simply real world interpersonal networking digitized...". I disagree. Social media, in my opinion, is a hybrid between relationship/network marketing and direct marketing. It's relationship marketing if you know how to be a strategic thinker as well as be creative with your marketing messages. In other words, what to say and where to say it. Targeting is key. You have to look at each social media website to see if it, and it's users, are the right fit for your marketing message and business. Then, you need to craft your message accordingly. And that requires good creative, copywriting skills. It's direct response as you can measure results. Granted, it's not as cut and dry as some other online marketing methods, like email. Where deliverability, clicks, opens, sales, and ROI is concrete. But, for me (and my business), I can specifically track any leads or sales I get back to specific social media platforms. And I can measure traffic to my website via Google Analytics from those same sites. As a core direct marketer, I don't waste my time on something I can't tie a metric to.

2 comments:

Jennifer Schrader said...

What a great article! Thank you so much for this. Social Media is surely not a waste of time. When done properly done the first time and a strategy is in place then there is success! I just posted an article today about the "good bad and ugly" of creating profile pages for business. It shocks me as so many dealers are hiring individuals that don't have the knowledge of properly creating business pages etc. Ugh.. But again thank you so much for this as it is very helpful!

Wendy Montes de Oca, MBA said...

Thanks, Jennifer. So glad you found the article useful!

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