Social marketing is often thought of as only an indirect contribute to lead and customer acquisition; however, understanding social media in terms of its un- and under-tapped potential can provide your business with important advantages at every stage of the buying journey.
Understanding Social Media: Social marketing has come of age; is your social marketing still immature?
If you’re little more than sharing updates on social media, your social marketing strategy is still in its infancy. This isn’t something to beat yourself up over, it’s good news. This means that a little effort spent better understanding social media and its impact at different stages of the buying cycle can help your company reap additional ROI (return on investment) in its social marketing efforts.
4 Questions for Understanding Social Media
If this, then what?
“If this, then that” is to say that if your social marketing strategy is effective, then you can expect certain results. For instance, 70 percent of business-to-consumer marketers say they have acquired new customers through Facebook. Business-to-business – or B2B marketers use social media primarily to:
- 83% – increase brand awareness
- 69% – drive web traffic
- 65% – gain market insights
If your social networks aren’t producing new followers, then your marketing may not be helping your company gain brand awareness. If people aren’t clicking through to your website, it’s not helping to drive web traffic. If neither of these things are happening, your social marketing probably isn’t helping you gain new customers. If you aren’t using social media to gauge opinion, get feedback, or study the insights provided by platform analytics, then you aren’t tapping into data that could give your company valuable market insights.
If not, why not?
If you’ve decided that your social marketing isn’t helping you get new customers, increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or increasing your knowledge of your customer base: why not? The reason could be because your sharing and engagement strategy demonstrates a lack of understanding social media in terms of what followers want. The top five reasons people say they follow and engage with brands on social media include:
- To get promotions and discounts
- To find out about the latest products, technology, news, or other developments
- For customer service
- To consume entertaining content
- To offer feedback
Twitter, especially, seems to be a platform where promotions and discounts matter most to followers. 90 percent of Twitter users who follow brands say they do so to get discounts and promotions. The average Twitter user followers 5+ brands – unless they’re mobile users. Those users are 60 percent more likely to follow 11+ brands on Twitter. 7 out of 10 say they are more likely to buy from the brands they follow on the platform, 4 out of 10 actually do.
If not now, when?
Two of the top five reasons people follow brands on social media effectively amount to real time engagement. Your followers expect you to be there for them and respond within a very short period of time, when they turn to your social channels to ask a question, express dissatisfaction, or offer some other type of feedback.
The task of responding in real time and keeping up with the consumer’s 24×7 availability mentality might seem daunting; however, most networks provide immediate notifications. Make sure you keep these notifications turned on and you’ll be aware of most of the opportunities you have to respond and interact with customers in real time – all of which makes your brand look like a boss when it comes to social marketing.
How will I know?
If Whitney Houston’s iconic “How Will I know” isn’t already top of mind, it will be soon. In the song, she asks, “How will I know?” which is answered by her backup singers who respond, “Don’t trust your feelings:”
- How will I know? (Don’t trust your feelings.)
- How will I know? (Love can be deceiving.)
- How will I know if he really loves me?
If you only use sales as a measure of whether understanding social media is part of the DNA of your social marketing strategy, you may incorrectly conclude that social marketing is largely a waste of time. Apart from those people who respond immediately to special offers or discounts, it’s likely the role social media plays in your marketing is often indirect.
In Where Sales and Social Media Influencers Collide, our writers talk about five distinct ways social media is accessed by buyers during the buying journey in order to help them make a decision. 78 percent say they’re influenced in some way by social media when shopping online:
- 45% are influenced by reading reviews and comments
- 44% are influenced by promotional offers and 30% are influenced by ads
- 25% are influenced by staying on top of trends
- 20% are influenced by associating (themselves) with brands – feeling personally engaged
- 16% purchase products directly from social media
Do you see how far down on the list direct attribution of sales falls? A mature social marketing strategy proactively acquires positive reviews and comments on social channels, which in turn influence others to become satisfied customers themselves. A mature strategy delivers up the right ads, at the right time, to the right audiences, in both share-able organic and paid (or sponsored) posts. A sophisticated strategy gets the attention of pioneers and early adopters by getting updates in front of them about new trends and technology. And mature social marketers absolutely understand that people engage with their brands on social media for a feeling of 1:1 engagement, not to be lost in the crowd.
Scroll down to view the infographic for more data and compare your own social strategy to find areas of untapped potential. These are the areas where fine-tuning your company’s social marketing approach can help your business grow faster.
We would love to be part of your story.
If your brand needs a “grown up” social marketing strategy, we can help. Whether you simply need to book consulting time to help draft and refine a plan or you are looking for an agency with the chops to effectively manage your social networks, we would love to be part of your story. Reach out for a quote by calling us at 253-234-4130 or simply complete the form below.
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Infographic: Social Media’s Influence on the Customer Journey from Go-Gulf