Social Media Marketing
Many of us are caught up in the social media buzz and we are told by the social media marketing experts that we need to be at this party. However, what does it mean “to be there”. What do we do once we are there? How do we measure if what we do is working?
It is like being invited to a party and then not knowing any of the details. Should you bring something? What should you wear? When should you arrive? Can you bring a friend?
Imagine being invited to a party only to learn that it is an ice fishing party and you were prepared for a business networking social. You would be ill-prepared to enjoy the party and may even have a miserable time. You may be cold as you would be unprepared; you would not be dressed properly. You might not have the right equipment to catch anything.
However, you can use social media to reach a bigger market. You could also use social media to identify unsatisfied needs in your target market.
Social Media Helps Your Marketing
Suppose you are a business that makes and sells treats for dogs. To be good at marketing your business online using social media you need to understand where your ideal clients are. Where do they hang out?
Here are some key questions once you have an observation post set up at the places they are using for their social media online.
What defines the target audience? Be specific.
Is your ideal customer an individual and owners of pet shops? Would a veterinary or an animal hospital also be an ideal customer? Do you care where they are located?
Where are they in the social realm?
If you are in the business of making dog treats then you may want to watch (listen in on) some popular blogs on dogs.
Keep The Tail Wagging (http://www.keepthetailwagging.com/)
Dog Tipper (http://www.dogtipper.com/)
Come Wag Along (http://comewagalong.com/)
One could even use a directory site such as Puppy Sites (http://puppysites.com/) to research websites all created for dog lovers.
Another site to look for general information could be Dog Treat Kitchen (http://www.dogtreatkitchen.com/)
When you study these sites and blogs determine what keywords are being used to discuss products and services related to your product offering.
Dose the language include terms such as “gourmet”, “no corn”, “all natural” and “human-grade”? Does the discussion about doggy treats include discussion on antioxidants, omega 3s, allergy reduction or treats that freshen bad dog breath?
If yes then you need to include this in your marketing materials.
What keywords do they use when discussing their concerns?
Are there concerns about dog treats made in China? If your treats are made in the good ole USA then you may be able to capitalize on this. Are there concerns about choking or digestive irritation?
Are people concerned about caloric intake?
People may want to give a treat to their pet but they do not want a chubby pet.
Perhaps people are concerned about mold and you have the solution. What if people are simply concerned about what is in the treat and you can put all concerns to rest by noting the ingredient very clearly and in plain language.
You may also discover that a high-quality dog treat which is presented in a manner that eliminates all the concerns that people may have become much less sensitive to price. Perhaps you could raise your prices due to careful listening in the social media realm.
Next what needs do they express? Perhaps they desire free shipping, high quality, extended shelf life, fast shipping to improve received treat quality.
What other observations can you make? You may discover that price is less important than treat quality. People may simply want the best treat possible for their pet.
You may also decide that you do not need a social media campaign that includes a discount offer. After all, your research indicates that your target audience has shown that it is willing to pay full price for the highest-quality doggy treat possible.
Uncovering Your Path to the Gold
After your initial research now you need to refine it a bit. Are prospects asking basic questions or advanced questions?
For marketers the answer to this question is important. Your marketing materials need to mesh with the social conversations. You may need content meant to educate early-stage prospects or you may need some product comparison content. An educational comparison table may be a great aid to the purchasing process.
Measure, Measure, and Measure Some More
Some marketers are generating leads using social media and not capitalizing on them. They use Google Analytics (or something similar) and see traffic coming from the social media sites they are using. When they see traffic they assume success. However, your measurements need to go further than that.
- Is the traffic converting?
- Do they download your comparison report or table?
- Do they subscribe to your blog or newsletter?
- Do the make a purchase?
What if, for instance, your social media efforts have increased your traffic by 100% but sales increased by only 2%? Many may see this as success but this is perhaps a missed opportunity and the lack of sales from the social media traffic needs to be studied.
You need to drive (coax) new prospects into the sales cycle.
To make improvement, you will need to define specific social media goals to measure success as it relates to social media leads. To measure is to improve.
Get granular. For example, you should measure the number of content downloads or purchases from a social media funnel.
Have a Lead Nurturing Plan
Once you have some experience online and with social media you will start to understand your sales cycle. Does a single visit lead to a sale or does a sale require multiple visits. Does a repeat visit turn into a sale at a much higher rate? If so then how do your get people to return?
Use the knowledge you’ve picked up from your social listening to engage and attract the most relevant prospects.
As you work in social media your marketing spend will increase. So will your experience. So will your expectations. You need to concretely measure and benchmark your social media lead generation efforts. Here are some measurements that you need to consider:
- Improvement in Brand Sentiment Rating
- Website Traffic
- Volume of Visits from Specific Social Media Sites
- Website Bounce Rate from Social Media Sites
- Website Bounce Rate from Visitors from Social Media Sites
- Time on Site from Visitors from Social Media Sites
- Number of New Fans and Followers
Combine these social media metric with your traditional data, such as content downloads and submitted forms and it will be easier for you to prove the success of your social media lead generation efforts.
If you want to learn more about how measurements can provide you valuable insights into your social media marketing efforts then I invite you to read this Content Marketing Tutorial on Measurement Analytics.