In 2011, it seems like business has finally bought into using social media to reach prospects and build its online brand. Aside from the obvious SEO benefits of creating external links, generating buzz, adding another customer touchpoint and in some cases generating and nurturing leads, what’s not to like? It’s really inexpensive; it only costs the salary of an employee or an external contractor. All of the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Linkedin etc... are free. You might even surprise yourself and get an actual client.
And just like the old saying goes, when it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t. In an earlier blog, I spoke about consumers being bombarded by 5,000 marketing messages daily. I think people have figured out what a marketing message is by now. Companies that take a Me-Too approach to social media end up with me-too results.
Its one thing to build a community of followers or have people following you on Twitter (it’s what people do online nowadays) It’s another thing to generate sufficient interest in your product or service that they’ll actually buy a product from you. So how do you cross the Social Media Canyon without burning the bridge? Very carefully
Social Media is the kid who moved away from your neighborhood but came back. Bigger, stronger, faster (My apologies to the Six Million Dollar Man) In the 90’s, literally eons ago in the online world, message boards was the original social media. They still exist but are truly depassé. Bulletin boards became Internet forums and then morphed into modern message boards. Very Web 2.0 in the age of Web 1.0. A combination of events including cheaper and more advanced technology led to the social media landscape of today.
Although experts are using many anthropology, psychology, web analytics etc… to get a better handle on evaluating and converting social media traffic, their haven’t been that many examples of business models built solely on social media success. It’s been on the nice to have list.
How do you convert these visitors REGULARLY? A dedicated resource that would work under the marketing umbrella like a community manager would be a start. Unfortunately many small companies don’t have the resources. Outsourcing is a solution but choose your service provider wisely. Next off you need to integrate your social media plan that into your overall marketing plan. Just like SEM and SEO, social media plays a large role in how your customers will find you online. You’ll have to introduce cross-metrics such as Registrations from Social Media Websites, Visits to Store Locator Pages, Visits to the Contact Us Page, Impact on Customer Lifetime Value etc…Finally you have to take action. The best plan will fail if no one monitors and tweaks it over time. Plan. Measure. Take Action. Are you ready for your to get the conversation started about your brand?