The more mainstream social media channels become as key communication channels for business and brand engagement – then the more people I meet who say ‘So come on then tell me about this ‘social media’ thingy then’. Usually with arms folded and rolling eyes in tow.
Resistance is still there – and the terms ‘social media’ seem more passé than the words ‘Fifty Shades’.
However, what social media stands for is anything but ‘passe’.
So instead of talking ‘soshall meeja’ – I talk about the things that CEOs, business owners and board members get. You may want to consider talking about social media in this way too:
1) Shift in Consumerism
There’s no way of denying that there has been a significant shift in how we consume products and services.
Ask people the question, ‘What do you do when you are looking for a product or service’.
Do we now wait to see a TV or press ad or receive a phone call from a telesales person – or do we get onto our mobile, tablet, desktop or laptop devices and seek it out via Google and other trustworthy sources?
I have trained over 1600 people in the past year – and each time I ask the question ‘Who here now searches for products and services or what they are looking for via search engines as a first port of call?’ – unequivocally, every single hand rises.
Therefore, being visible online is now very important. And Social Media is one important part of creating effective online visibility.
And it’s not just about visibility but also about reputation and referral. Online the consumer has a wide range of choice – the consumer is king. If a website doesn’t look engaging or trustworthy – we are unlikely to hang around for very long. It’s not as if we have to drive to the next village to find an alternative – we simply hit the back button and et voila, masses of choice is at our fingertips to explore. Effortless.
We are now in the Recommendation Generation – we’ve stopped believing the ‘hype’ of push marketing – billboards, advertisements etc (only 14% of us believe that the advertisers are saying) – and instead, we trust and believe peers and often complete strangers (70% of purchases are made following an online recommendation).
Reviews matter, testimonials matter, positive sentiment matters. People can share and talk online effortlessly. My question to businesses who are ‘eyerolling’ about social media is ‘Do you know what the often ‘always on’ consumer is saying or reading about you?’ ‘Are you listening?’ ‘Are you responding?’.
The second powerful way to combat Social Media Eyeball Rolling is to talk about the fundamental ways to grow a business.
This is a very simple lesson I learned back in my days of The Results Accountants’ Systems ‘Boot Camp’.
2) There are just 4 Ways to Grow a Business
And they are:
- Increase the number of customers
- Increase frequency of purchase
- Increase value of purchase
- Systematise your processes to make the business more efficient
Social Media activity compliments every one of the key drivers above.
Increase the number of customers
Social media activity has the opportunity to amplify your communications into far reaching audiences. Way beyond your database or typical reach. Providing opportunity for new customers.
It’s simple for people to share and pass on your messages, offers etc – it’s simply a touch of a button. So if they advocate what you’re saying, you’re broadening your team of marketers – as by retweeting on Twitter or sharing something on a Facebook Page – the average Jo is helping you to market your business.
And if you tune into key influencers and create relevant relationships – then they can be amplifying your message into a targeted new audience.
Increase frequency of purchase
There are a number of ways to increase purchase frequency, which effectively focuses on getting people to buy more often from you. Through nurture communication programs, keeping customers in touch with what you do – staying on the radar. Discounted offers, time limited – and sometimes triggered by an activity. Eg: Thank you for purchasing – we’re giving you 15% off any of our products throughout December. And products that have ‘add ons’ – refills, complimentary products or services.
I’m sure there are other tactics too. However, if we just take the ‘staying on the radar’ element. Social Media is a perfect resource to keep you in front of key influencers, customers and potential new customers.
Social Media enables ‘continuous conversations’ – sharing updates, listening in and responding, asking and answering questions. Effectively, you can advise people on a one to one basis – but on a one to many platform – building awareness and thought leadership.
Effectively, you are building ‘share of mind’ – when they are looking for your products or services – or indeed any of their friends are, then being on the radar enables you to potentially become their first point of reference.
Increase value of purchase
This activity is typically linked with increasing fees (ie: people are willing to pay more for your services as you provide more added value or simply, getting people to buy more things from you at purchase point).
Going back to our recommendation generation – and how clever ecommerce sites work already (think Amazon, people who bought this also bought – or point of sale, McDonalds ‘would you like fries with that’).
From a social media perspective, as consumers we’re increasingly influenced by reviews and comments we see online. Comments and feedback from real time tweets can be streamed into your website or ecommerce page, or you can include plug ins to see others on Facebook that like this product or bought the bundle – can provide what is called ‘social validation’. This validation has been show to encourage others to do the same.
And of course there are opportunities to share into your social audiences special Twitter or Facebook promotions. Encouraging them to buy more through unique ‘social’ offers.
Systematise Processes to Make Your Business More Efficient
And finally, making processes more efficient, which increases overall business effectiveness.
Many businesses I speak with turn to social as they see it as a more cost effective way to reach their audiences and beyond. Streamlining often fragmented, costly and decentralised marketing activity – and creating a clear focus via social media channels.
Personally, I’m an advocate of social media activity complimenting traditional activity in the quest to make campaigns more effective, efficient and long living.
Either way – social media channels present ways to leverage opportunities which traditionally may have been off the radar due to budget restrictions or global reach. Any business can have their own TV channel via YouTube, their own Community to showcase the heritage of the business and the brand personality via Facebook – target and network with key influencers around the world – and listen in to key conversations via Twitter – and again, target key influencers and network via LinkedIn. (Just to mention 4 of the thousands of social networks around).
So, if or when you are met with ‘eye-rolling’ sceptism, perhaps stop talking ‘social media’ and instead, focus on terms that matter for all businesses.
If you have more examples of Social Media and the 4 Ways – then do share. Would like to keep that part of the post growing.
Til my next rant…;)
@Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative – the online visibility experts. A digital marketing and design agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The agency covers all aspects of marketing strategy and online visibility – covering social media marketing and social media training, user focused website planning and conversion focused website design.
Want to talk to the team at Carvill Creative about your social media activity or training needs? We’re happy to chat, so simply ‘get in touch’.
Finally, why not download our useful Social Media Marketing Planner and Marketing Plan. They’re totally free to download and use.