Social media was supposed to replace traditional marketing tools and tactics with interactive communication. (Remember The Cluetrain Manifesto?) Conversations were supposed to morph into sales. This concept was appealing to consumers tired of being bombarded with in-your-face marketing. It was equally appealing to marketers seeking lower cost methods for connecting with customers and prospects.
Since both sides like the idea of social media, why isn’t it working without traditional marketing?
People need motivation to act. You can spend hours talking with someone about their business and your services but they won’t move until you ask for the sale. As soon as you make the request, you have moved from social media to traditional marketing.
You are wasting your time if you’re active in social media and not asking people to visit your site, place an order, or contact you for additional information. You have to guide them down the path you want them to take. If you don’t, they’ll sit on the fence chitty-chatting hour after hour day after day.
If you’re not active in social media, you should test it to see if it works for you and your customers.
The best way to test it is to create an integrated strategy that includes information, conversation and promotion. Start by knowing the difference.
Information provides answers (sometimes to questions that haven’t been asked.) When customers seek information, they want quick answers not a conversation or promotion.
Conversation is interactive communication between two people. It allows them to get to know each other on a one-to-one basis. Good social media strategies have company representatives that speak in their own voice. Yes, there are risks involved in allowing someone to speak for the company, but successful strategies always have risk. Your job is to manage them.
Promotion is the call-to-action that directs your community to the point of sale. It works when it is part of an integrated strategy. It alienates when it used as a silo marketing effort in the social media world.
Making social media work for your company requires finding the balance between proven tactics and new media that motivates your customers to buy.
What are you testing today?