How do I create a social media strategy for my business?
I am involved in an organisation which has a website and Facebook presence, however we are grappling with how to turn our Facebook "friends" into paying members/customers. To do this I think we need to develop a social media strategy and plan. Can you advise where I can get some preliminary advice on this issue?
Hi Todd! Great question, and one that has baffled many since the beginning of the social media hype :)
Well SavvySME is the right place to come to ask for advice :) I used to work as a social media consultant to such organisation and there are a few things I go through with them when they present me with this question. The ability to drive "friends" into customers through social media is very possible and likely however the road to a sale is sometimes not always direct. I consider social media as a "research" channel. What this means is people connect to your Facebook page to keep tabs on you and not really buy from you straight away. A lot of people join a facebook page to keep updated with any sales, discounts, promotions and most important of all giveaways. This gives you an extra opportunity to keep your brand top of mind "when" they decide to buy.
Unlike other mediums such as a website where people usually browse through towards the later stages of the purchase cycle (when they are going to be choosing what to buy) Facebook fans will join you even if they are not in the buying process - hence it seems harder to convert these into paying customers "straight away" the key is straight away or directly. Having a social media presence will give you extra trust points when people are in the research phase if your competitor brand has no presence.
I find a really good way to encourage sales is to trigger them to enter the purchase process. What does that mean? It means that even if someone is not on the market to buy your product there are ways to start them thinking about it as long as you do it properly. Posting sales messages and call to action works, but only if theb uyer is ready to buy, and therefore these messages work really well on your website because customers are there with an intention to buy. On a Facebook page you will need to be more subtle or you risk turning off a lot of your fans. For example when I used to work on the Facebook account of a retailer, and one of their product categories was home appliances and such. I found a really effective strategy is to spend the week talking about various aspects of home appliances. E.g. questions such as:
"What brand of kettle do you use?"
"Do you get leftovers caught in your dishwasher?"
"How old is your microwave?"
These questions are not sales pitches but will start making people think about the age of their appliances, for those that have put off replacing items will suddenly be more motivated to. After a few days of prompting you can then post up a "5% off storewide" or "30% off dishwashers" and that will complete the loop for you. This works really well if you have an already engaged user base, if not you can start off by posting non sales content that will start to interest them such as home decorating images and ideas etc.
There are a few more things I have up my sleeve, but I'd love for you to ask specific questions as well such as your "How do I turn Facebook fans into customers" so I don't have to type an essay in this question :). I hope I answered that question with the strategy above - you should give it a go!
I think Wendy has nailed this answer with the key being that it is not salesy. Social media is considered more authentic and credible when it is about sharing and giving and a direct sales focus seems to be shunned out there. This can make social media seem like it is not converting and I know high level marketers that question the ROI for it as a result. Others don't look for the direct link and can track the source as social media which in an indirect way equates to sales. The analytics at the back of the website will help to put a value on the traffic too. I've also known of clients that have coupons or rewards for social media members with promo codes so they can track the successes rather than simply posting the direct selling messages. It equates to the same thing but for some reason having one step removed sits better with many - the gift of the voucher is psychologically a gift not a push for a sale.
Great answer Wendy :)
I would like to offer you some solid advice ( Marketing Bee specialises in marketing for SME's and we do offer corporate services as well) but I am unable to do so until I know - the type of company we are dealing with, the size, the product/ service, business goals and more.
Creating a social media strategy (or a marketing strategy) that is not based on "marketing for the sake of marketing" requires a vast amount of research and a high level of understanding of what the business is trying to achieve as well as its structure and upcoming business goals. An understanding of its target market is paramount as well and underpins all possible victories.
I would love to give you a hand and feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our first consultation is free of charge and obligation free (in the most terrible situation you can walk away with some good tips and a new friend) but we also have eBooks and other things which may help you in your search for information.
Looking forward to assisting you.
Hi Todd, why is Facebook the answer for your organisation? Is it a broad consumer target? If it is B2B, then I think other channels might be better. While we're just a little frog in a huge design & marketing pond, we've found Google+ in conjunction with blogging ... or LinkedIn posting in conjunction with good blogging... has a good 'visitor' return on time, eventually. I dont know if it also applies at the corporate end of the market.
This is an issue I deal with so regularly it is obvious that even the most savvy business owners are simply bewildered by the role and relevance of Facebook in a B2B context.I believe that there are a few businesses that can make some financial headway on Facebook, although it is totally impossible to find a single reliable and quantified case study to support that view.There have been so called “social media marketeers” falling out of every tree (for at least the last 10 years); you will undoubtedly attract the attention of many by posing your question here. Simply request that any would-be supplier provide an attributed and quantified case study on a Facebook campaign that they have conducted themselves (no 3rd party hearsay or meaningless statistics), that converted a commercially acceptable quantity of Facebook friends into genuine paying customers. A successful assessment of the example’s real world ROI (and a call to their reference client), is the only justifiable reason to consider a social media strategy to address your enterprises fiscal objective.
Trying a Facebook store could be a decent option as well..its easy to set up and you can get rid of it easily, if it is not working for you.
DISCLAIMER: I work for a company which provides this service.