Why Social Media is NOT a Fast Track to Increase Sales

I’m compelled by necessity to note this for anyone interested in pursuing a social media marketing strategy for their business, however, let me predate my little rant with a few key points:

1. It is easy to understand the misinterpretation of social media’s marketing capability thanks how inundated we have become with it. It’s on your TV, it’s in our publications, links are noted on every website. It seems like the greatest thing since the wheel, but remember, a wheel doesn’t turn without help.
2. The ongoing stressed economic climate has a lot of companies looking for new ways to promote their business, get more lead and increase sales on a leaner budget, and that road often leads to considerations of social media potential.
3. This same economic climate has these same companies working under strained budgets and shortened timelines for results.

Having made references, I will get to my point. Social media, like any other marketing tool, takes time to get more leads for your business. It is not direct sales. It is not telemarketing. And if you intend to stay on the legal side of the SPAM Act, it is a building process.

This isn’t to say that social media isn’t a highly-targeted and powerful tool that businesses should add to their marketing arsenol, but despite the fact that Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages are being promoted in TV commercials, the premise is the same with this marketing vehicle as any other.

Some basic marketing tips applied to social media:

1. You must show the WHY of your business to generate leads, let your target market know what makes your company’s services and products DIFFERENT from your competition. Twitter is a good vehicle for this message.
2. Start conversations with key executives that can build your business – use LinkedIn for this aspect of your marketing strategy.
3. Promote your business to consumers who can start word of mouth advertising about your services and company.

There are tons of other niche social media sites that exist to promote your business, and new ones crop up every day. However, there needs to be a dumming down of the expectations of this type of marketing plan. The theories presented by a lot of the “social media” gurus is that this is a FAST way to get signups, increase sales and business, if not the Only Way.

The reality is that social media marketing needs to be part of an integrated marketing strategy, but there is no quick and easy way to build business.

Regular maintenance and attention to your social media profiles and pages, along with revised focus for new ventures and opportunities are all vital for lead generation. Keep your social media “social” with quality interaction and educational content and it will pay off, in time.

Social Media: Not as Effective Without a Targeted Marketing Strategy

Here at WriteMinded, LLC we’ve changed our marketing tactics with the packages we present to clients to represent the changes in marketing, namely the increases in mobile usage by target clients and the resurgence of email marketing. We’ve developed a full-scale marketing strategy that includes some of the old, some of the new and a little of the off the wall to reach out to target segments wherever they may live online. Ultimately, it’s about getting your website found, getting customers to increase sales.

Social Media Marketing tools like Facebook, Linked In and Twitter, as well as niche sites like Active Rain or Plaxo are valuable and powerful tools for any company to put to work in their marketing strategy. Unfortunately, in the last few years, the rumors have circled around social media as a stand-alone tool that can boost sales and guarantee traffic increases. This is simply not the case.

Just like there is no magic pill for weight loss, there is no single marketing tactic that can stand alone to continually launch a company’s business forward, to get more leads and increase sales. There are fluctuations in site usage and marketing stipulations that must be monitored with any marketing strategy that can hinder organic growth and responses. Therefore, the one key factor to remember when employing a social media marketing strategy to the benefit of your business is that it performs best in tandem with other more traditional marketing tactics.

Consider a Facebook account where you use a promotion to build brand awareness and expand your target reach. A strong tactic in its own right, consider that the promotion can be set up to farm contact emails from the promotional registrants that can then be turned into an opt-in email marketing list for follow up communications from your business. Think of the lead nurturing you can effect with a biweekly email blast.

Mobile marketing continues to drive changes in the web marketing world as executives become more attached to their smart phones and the applications become more business oriented. That email marketing you set up with the Facebook contacts can be formatted to fit and function in a mobile environment, so your target market gets your updates even on the go.

To keep it simple, absolutely employ social media into your web marketing strategy. However, don’t expect it to be a magic bullet and don’t rely on it as a standalone marketing tactic. Regular social media networking and content sharing builds brand trust and awareness. It’s up to you to leverage those initial connections to get more leads and increase sales, and that’s where a blend of traditional web marketing and social media can really make a difference for your business.

Social Media Marketing Strategy: Don’t “Join the Conversation”

Join the Conversation“. Anyone researching or using social media has heard this overused phrase. Even we’ve beensocial media marketing guilty in the past of using it to give direction for the uses of social media for both B2B and B2C clients. It’s white noise by now for all the excessive usage in reference to harnessing the powerful interactivity of social media profiles, pages and sites.

There’s more to social media marketing strategy than commenting on the occasional post to “join in”.

Social Media – Business Networking Without the Cocktails

Why do you need to invest resources into a social media marketing strategy? The same reason you invest in business networking events, to extend your brand reach and build trust with your prospects.

That being said, think of the last time you attended a business networking event. As you stood at your tiny cocktail table surveying the room for potential new clients or partners, what was your goal? Would it have been enough just to “Join the Conversation?” What if the conversation was about a topic not related to your goals for the evening, or perhaps the two-some or threesome you approach was already acquainted? Maybe one of them was a competitor of yours and was driving the conversation towards their business. How would you proceed?

Simply put, to get more leads,  it is not enough to simply “join in” with the ongoing flow of the conversation, either at the networking event or on your social media sites. To effectively promote your business, you need to turn the conversation or topic towards the benefits you bring to the table. It takes a little finesse – no one likes someone who runs the conversation with “me, me, me, I,I,I” statements. So how can you effectively turn the attention to your business within your social media sites without blatant promotions? (HINT: These points will work for those face to face networking meetings as well)

  1. Answer Questions. Prove your prowess in your industry by answering site member questions on topics with which you have extensive knowledge. Be thorough and direct your answer to the person who asked it, not the general population.
  2. Show and Tell: Notice a question that relates to a recent presentation you have given or see a trend of information that may be sought by your target market? In lieu of just answering the question on a per person basis, send an invite through groups or connections to attend a webinar to get the answers. (Tip: Brand the presentation with your logo and obtain email addresses for opt-in follow ups as a lead generator.)
  3. Listen More than You Talk. Use social media monitoring tools like group discussion topics, forums and metrics tools like Radian 6 to listen in to your target market’s needs, interests and goals. When the time comes for you to give your two cents, you can be sure that you hit the pressure points that matter to your potential clients.

So stop “Joining the Conversation” and make the effort to turn the attention to your brand, highlighting what you bring to the table that will benefit your audience. Develop a targeted social media marketing strategy with informative engaging content, and you will get more leads. Period.