Most companies want to have a relationship with their customers. They’re trying to earn that customer’s loyalty, and they’re trying to earn future sales from that person. That means building a longer term relationship & social media provides a robust platform to do that.
It is likely that even though a brand succeeds at having a strong social media presence & loyal following, it fails in its overall marketing goals.
For example, people might like the campaign for its fun/humor element and even though there is a lot of discussion on social media about the campaign itself, there’s not much sales conversion that happens which beats the marketing goals. The Old Spice campaign that we saw in the class ads had a lot of female following, however, it wasn’t successful in generating sales which would lead us to question the value of a successful social media campaign.
Similarly, there could be numerous other factors which could contribute to marketing not getting the desired results from a successful social media campaign.
- The campaign was successful, but the final buying/conversion process turned the customer away. While the users love how the brand treats them online, they aren’t quite happy with the other aspects involved with the product, hence their engagement is limited.
- Target customer segment is different from the ones who are active on social media. For example, kids could be super-active about a brand but don’t have the decision making power and money to buy the product/service. Similarly who the Old Spice case, where women were involved but that didn’t result in men buying it.
- Difference between actual & perceived users could mean that while social media users love to publicly talk about & engage with the brand, their actual persona is different and doesn’t really associate with the brand. Example, people like to be seen as health conscious and would talk in running forums etc. but when it comes to using a fitness product such as a shoe etc might shy away or be too lazy.
However, people buy from companies and brands that they recognize and trust. That have some kind of relationship with them. So don’t use social media to sell per-se. But to get, initially at least, attention. Promote good relevant content, run contests, create an identity in your industry first. Once people recognize that you don’t just blast your company’s PR all over the place, but share stuff they like (give good advice, relevant info etc.) and find useful, they will follow and like your activities.
Social media can give your company many benefits – it can increase awareness, introduce you to new people, help with customer service (real time customer service!), follow-up with angry customers etc.
Through your social media efforts, you might have been able to develop trust with prospects; therefore, if you continue to show thought leadership in helping them to make a decision, they will be more likely to purchase from you rather than the competitor they don’t have a relationship with.
The key is to not be limited to social media but extend that relationship. Once you have their attention, it’s time to drive them off of Facebook/Twitter/Forums and into your website. In there you have total control over the environment and thus can work your conversions magic.
Once you are successful in social media, keep nurturing the relationship by providing something of value on a regular basis. Over time they’ll develop trust in you and might even like you. Then they’ll be ready to buy from you. It’s definitely a long term strategy, but one that will pay off handsomely in the end.