Are you confused about where to focus your social media efforts? In this series we offer some insights and tips.
Where Should I Focus?
This issue is similar to issue #1 (from our 2013 Social media Report): Too many changes. It is different though in that the frustration comes from having so many options and people are confused as to where to spend their time and efforts.
Through the survey we heard:
- “Where should I spend my time with so many sites?”
- “What are the right channels to be using and how? FB, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.”
- Clutter. Too many options.”
Thoughts on the Issue of where to focus your social media efforts
In general, when deciding about where to put your efforts, start with a plan.
It doesn’t have to be some fancy Harvard MBA style plan, but you do need to get your thoughts down on paper (or digital ink). To paraphrase Earl Nightingale, “A business without a plan is like a ship without a rudder.”
Ask yourself: What am I trying to accomplish here? What do I desire? Is it awareness that I want for my organization? Is it relationship building? Is it facilitating the spread of positive word of mouth? Sales?
You have to know this going in because it will impact everything you do.
This would be a good place to discuss the social media sales funnel. You know about sales funnels, right?
The idea behind the funnel is that the large opening allows many prospects into the top of your funnel (at the least, they are aware your business exists). When you run ads on the radio and in the local paper, people are coming into the top of the funnel. Same, of course, when you run a TV commercial or hand out flyers and business cards. All of this is top of funnel work.
Social media is awesome at top and middle funnel work. One post could be seen by hundreds of your customers and prospects. They may share it with their friends, adding more people into the top of your funnel. They don’t know much about your product or service but at least they know your organization exists.
To move them a little deeper into the funnel, you share more of your story, touching them again and again until they are fully aware of you. At this point you can add a little relationship building through social media engagement. A touch, then another. A share of their post. A retweet. Maybe a comment or two.
These people are moving down into the funnel. They know, like and trust you and your organization. They need the products and service you have and now they are receptive to an offer or pitch (maybe).
All of this has taken time and work. Don’t blow it now by hitting them with the hard sale. That will scare them off because they will feel that you don’t care about them and only want their money. Instead, offer them some information on how to solve their wants or needs.
You’re not selling anything here yet, just providing information. They read your blog post, they watch the video. They keep seeing the positive reinforcements on the various social media channels that your company’s story matches their world view.
If all the stars line up, they just might be open to buying.
If you are smart, somewhere along the way you got their permission to send them your newsletter and offers through email. They have appreciated the value they received from those emails. Let’s say the next newsletter or email includes a special offer for a limited time (scarcity). Boom, they click the button, taking them to an order form or a website. If all goes well, you have a customer.
Man, that is a lot of steps, isn’t it? What if you had just posted the offer directly on your Facebook page? Fizzle. Nothing. No sale. You would have simply broken a cardinal sin of human relationship building in the social age. You don’t go for third base before getting to first.
That will get you slapped, and how!
Now, with all that being said, what are you going to use social media for in your business? Awareness? Relationships? Sales?
Kind of takes the pressure off a bit, doesn’t it, not having to sell right off the bat. You’re going to use social media to create awareness and build relationships. Sales and conversion are in there but they come after.
The next step is to decide where you target market lives online. Are they local consumers? They are on Facebook. Is your target market Fortune 500 CEOs? You would look pretty foolish sending them a Facebook friend request. They might be on Twitter. Follow them there. See if they are on LinkedIn. Don’t reach out yet. Build that relationship a bit on Twitter. Retweet some of their posts. Engage and interact with them.
At some point, when the creepy, stalking feeling is no longer present and they have engaged with you and know who you are, maybe then send them the LinkedIn connection. Or better yet, wait until after the industry convention and you meet them face to face, then send them the request to connect. All of this is moving people deeper into the funnel.
To build relationships with your target market, you provide value upfront and share your organization’s story, what it is and what it stands for. If there is a connection, they move down the funnel.