- 03 July, 2019
- Marketing Strategy
Compared with your website, social media makes a very different type of contribution to your integrated marketing strategy.
For a start, social media users won’t wade through pages of selling copy. And you shouldn’t be trying to use social media to convert in any case, because this isn’t the place. Hard as it may feel, you must avoid trying to sell there at all.
If it hurts to have hundreds or thousands of people visiting your social media sites without taking the opportunity to try to convert, remember that we are creating an integrated marketing strategy. The whole point is that every part has its own job to do; when you put them together they create that vital synergy in which the sum is greater than its parts.
By resisting the temptation to try to sell through social media you aren’t wasting opportunities, you’re strengthening your existing ones. Social media increase your conversions indirectly (but very effectively) by building trust and visibility.
In the long run, this will reward you far better than any selling copy you can write. Let’s look at trust first.
You build trust through social media in several different ways.
First, by social endorsements. When friends talk among themselves about their positive experiences with your brand, their recommendations carry a lot of weight. Motivating users of your product to share their positive experiences publicly – through social media – amplifies this, and generates trust on a large scale. It’s a form of social proof, in which your customers become your loyal advocates and promote your cause within the community.
Secondly, you build trust by establishing your credentials as an authority within your field. You need to achieve this without trying to plug your latest products and the amazing technology it uses.
Informative, entertaining and interesting posts stressing the human story behind how technology was developed, or an idea came into being, can be very successful. In the process of being entertained, your readers will absorb the message that you’re people who know a hell of a lot about what you do.
But you have to be subtle, focusing strongly on the human aspect. Don’t cross the line into advertising. Stop short, for example, of making an obvious plug for your latest gizmo at the end of the post. If your audience is at all interested in your product they’ll make the connection. They’ll also appreciate the fact that you haven’t rammed it down their throats.
The moment you try to hard sell, you’ll shatter the trust bubble you’ve worked so hard to build.
Thirdly, you build trust by engaging in honest, open communication on a personal level with your customers.
This dialogue happens naturally when you make your social media output helpful, informative, and friendly. Don’t spend all your time talking about yourself, your company, and how wonderful your products are. Instead, talk about the things your customers find helpful and want to hear about.
If you’re not sure what those things are, ask them! Social media are a great way to gain valuable feedback. Setting up surveys and asking what your customers like/dislike about your product and company helps you, plus it also demonstrates that you care.
Always be frank, transparent, and courteous. If someone criticizes your brand, don’t hit back. Respond as calmly, helpfully and informatively as you can.
Solving customer complaints or giving technical help through social media is becoming very common. That’s because as a marketing technique, it works, building trust, loyalty, and goodwill.
As well as building trust, social media can boost your sales by raising your brand’s visibility. This is closer to the traditional concept of marketing. But with social media, if your message is attractive it will spread itself.
Marketers used to think that the ‘social signals’ generated by people discussing your brand online (such as likes and shares) directly improved your SEO ranking. Then an announcement in 2014 by Matt Cutts of Google said they don’t.
But the chatter about your brand does raise your profile in other ways.
First, the good impression you make solving all those customers problems gets noticed and commented on. So you’re being mentioned a lot more online.
Second, if you provide high-quality content people will share it with friends. As this is an integrated marketing strategy, remember to ensure consistency between the content you post through social media and your other marketing messages. Product descriptions, logos, company style…. they should all coincide. That way, your message will be clearly visible from all angles, which helps it stand out and increases brand awareness.
One difference, though; on social media your voice can be more informal, and more direct. Don’t be afraid to come across as human, and individual. The more you appear as a real live character rather than a faceless brand, the more empathy you’ll enjoy.
Social media platforms are, by definition, places where people meet online, which is why they make such a unique contribution to your integrated marketing strategy.
In the next blog we’ll be looking at a very different type of online promotion, in the form of SEO marketing.