Back when the internet was just taking off and getting footing as a communication super highway, there were many of us trying to figure how to add company brands onto this fast moving train. Along the way we ran into many roadblocks as best to be described as trying to “fit a square peg into a round hole.” Why? Because social media started out as exactly that “social.” It was originally formulated to connect people to people and soon, people to news or other solicited valuable information. The best brands could do without looking overly aggressive and desperate was establish a web site, and then build lists as best we could to integrate emails into our marketing to drive consumers to our websites. We used a lot of print advertising during this time to try and drive traffic to web sites — but this was way before ecommerce was hot and you could actually order products from sites. Luckily for brands, social media site pioneers soon discovered that the only way to make real money was to drop the $10 a month aol user fee and instead open the way to brand involvement.
As our weekly lecture points out (Rhoads, 2015), “Web 1.0 was more of a one-way funnel process but now the web is more open with motion where personal opinions matter. Web 2.0 technologies have given us social media that is more interactive, engaged, and a richer user experience. We now have the ability to collect intelligence while sharing, retweeting, creating blogs and commenting at will, especially now with mobile that’s instant and in our pockets.”
Anthony Young (2014) adds that the reach of social media networks as media branding opportunities is now very substantial, moving social media from being just a small niche channel talking to a handful of potential influencers–to conversing with audiences at scale. The consumers that many marketers are particularly chasing are engaging social media more than the general population. All media have in effect become social media channels.”
Using Social Media in the Sales process
Ninety-two percent of marketers in 2014 claimed that social media marketing was important for their business, with 80% indicating their efforts increased traffic to their websites. And according to Social Media Examiner (Links to an external site.), 97% of marketers are currently participating in social media—but 85% of participants aren’t sure what social media tools are the best to use. This demonstrates a huge potential for social media marketing to increase sales, but a lack of understanding on how to achieve those results. Here are some of the ways social media marketing can improve business: ⇨Increased brand recognition, ⇒improved brand loyalty, ⇒more opportunities to convert, ⇒higher conversion rates, ⇒higher brand authority, ⇒increased inbound traffic, ⇒decreased marketing costs, ⇒better search engine rankings, richer customer experiences, and ⇒improved customer insights.The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing. (Links to an external site.) (Demers, 2014)
“Social media can also be classified by their ability to facilitate certain social functions. These social functions often involve identity, conversation, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. Kaplan and Haenlein created a classification scheme using six different types of social media– collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipedia), blogs and microblogs (e.g. Twitter), content communities (e.g. YouTube), social networking sites (e.g. Facebook), virtual game worlds (e.g. World of Warcraft), and virtual social worlds (e.g. Second Life).” (Boundless, 2015)
The strategy of using Twitter and Facebook to help sales
Sometimes, just creating awareness is the number one goal for businesses. “Four in five brands use Twitter as a tool to increase awareness of their products and services, with less than one quarter implementing the platform to drive sales. The Social Media Marketing University (Links to an external site.) surveyed more than 1,000 marketing pros in the U.S. and found that 79.4 % used Twitter to increase brand awareness, which finished first in the poll ahead of driving web traffic (58 percent) and engaging existing customers (55 percent). Just 24.4 percent use Twitter to drive sales.” (Bennett, 2014) Brands Use Twitter to Boost Awareness rather than Sales (Links to an external site.)
Twitter users are three times more likely to follow brands than Facebook users. Combined with the above average income and above average education, Twitter users’ propensity to interact with brands make them a huge potential source for mass influencers. 33% of active Twitter users share opinions about products and companies, 32% make recommendations, 30% ask for recommendations and 19% seek customer support via Twitter. 43% of Twitter users engage brands by sharing news and info, 35% actively use the brand, 21% voice opinions with only 1% conversing directly with the brand via Twitter. When it comes to recommending a brand: Twitter 33%, 24% email subscribers, 21% Facebook. The likelihood of purchasing from a brand: 37% Twitter, 27% email subscribers and 17% of Facebook likers. “The Power of Twitter”
The “Blueprint for the Perfect Facebook Post” suggests keeping copy short and tone personal. Boost your post as a sponsored story within the first 24 hours to reach a greater percentage of your fans. Remember that close to 70 % of fans use mobile device so use high impact imagery or short video for one click interaction. To measure success on what post works best, use the engaged fans metric on the insights page. Stay engaged by adding questions or comments on the conversation.”
Overcome selling hurdle process with Twitter and Facebook
Why so many marketers struggle is because they waste time with no defined strategy and consistently executed plans. Just realizing the statistics of your target audience can help in establishing a good strategy.
In the video, “The World Without Facebook” (Links to an external site.) the average user creates 90 pieces of content per month and the largest population who use Facebook are 18 to 34-year-olds. The average user has 130 friends with the U.S. as the number one Facebook user. The average user spends 23 minutes on each visit to Facebook and 70% of local businesses use Facebook for marketing.
“Custora came up with its figures by analyzing data from 72 million customers shopping on 86 different retailer sites and found that customers who came to retailers from a search were more than 50 percent more valuable than average and email customers were nearly 11 percent more valuable than average. Facebook customers were just about average. Twitter customers, meanwhile, were 23 percent less valuable than average during the two years following that first click.” Email Is Crushing Twitter, Facebook for Selling Stuff Online (Links to an external site.)(Wholsen, 2013)
So how is Facebook and Twitter addressing this average user rating trend? By making sure that brands realize that ads on Facebook and Twitter don’t have to lead to immediate clicks to have an impact, they still have the potential to raise ambient awareness.
For contemplating marketing on Facebook and Twitter, sometimes you just have to take that swan dive. “Just three years ago I was oblivious to social media tools but today, my companies have accumulated more than 300,000 Facebook followers and another 275,000 active followers on Twitter. Boost Sales with these 7 Social Media Tips. (Links to an external site.)Here are some things we did that helped us build a presence and a following on Facebook and Twitter: 1. Start and start fast. 2. Post often and keep posting. There is no such thing as posting too much content. The only way you are going to get attention is through frequency. 3.Post content that makes you the expert in your space. Think in terms of providing information based on what you know and the service your business or products offers. If you are a dry cleaner, post everything there is to know about dry cleaning, stain removal and fabrics. 4. Make the world your target. Understand from the start that anyone worldwide can see your content and be inspired to take some sort of action. 5. Create varying content. Use every form of content possible: videos, photos, quotes, articles and blogs and curating the content of others. Even by sharing the content of a competitor you will pick up their followers. 6. 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of your content should be information based, not promotional. In the beginning, you may even shift that to 95/5. As you grow followers, you can increase promotions. (Cardone, 2014)
Try Following JetBlue’s example
“JetBlue’s social media goal is for a truly organic experience–people talking to people. There are between 1,500 and 1,600 mentions of JetBlue daily. The challenge is to respond to the right messages and when they think they can create stories that people want to talk about. What we’re doing through Twitter is no different from what we do face-to-face.” Other tips JetBlue offers is to be yourself and build relationships, don’t shy away from unique opportunities to engage, speak a customer’s language, use all your company resources—not just your PR team, strive to build an engaged network. (Keith, 2014) The Secret to Jet Blue’s Awesome Social Engagement. (Links to an external site.)
Facebook and Twitter future direction
Here is a good video that came out this week from Magnet Marketer that talks about recent changes to Twitter and Google Search integration, Facebook updates and YouTube custom URL updates that can change this year’s landscape for the two powerhouses.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPf12dyaO2U (Links to an external site.)
Here’s a second video published last month that shows how to set up and use the new Facebook Call to Action button available now for business pages. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX2wQew_Wzs (Links to an external site.)
Bennett, S. (March 28, 2014). Brands Use Twitter to Boost Awareness rather than Sales (Links to an external site.).
Demers, J. (Aug. 8, 2014). The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing. (Links to an external site.)
Keith, J. (Aug. 7, 2014). The Secret to Jet Blue’s Awesome Social Engagement. (Links to an external site.)
Rhoads, J. (Feb. 2015). Week 7 Lecture: Social Media.
Wholsen, M. (July 1, 2013). Email Is Crushing Twitter, Facebook for Selling Stuff Online (Links to an external