3 Principles of Successful Social Media Marketers
The following is an excerpt from the just released, in-depth report "Social Media Success: Best practices for creating, implementing and managing social media marketing strategies, plus 7 multidisciplinary case studies" from DirectMarketingIQ.
You've probably gotten your feet wet with social media marketing by tweeting or creating a Facebook page. Good for you. But if you're like most marketers, you've generated a few sales loosely attributed to social media, but you want more, many more. Earning customers' attention on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn is a good start, but how to get a customer from your Facebook page or blog to the point-of-purchase is unclear. And the metrics you're told to use (like "engagement") don't help.
Could the answer to selling more with social media be found in starting conversations that are worth having? And could conversing in ways that generate questions—that your products or services give answers to—generate more customer inquiries? Yes and yes. In fact, knowing how to "do social media" is worthless without knowing how to design it to pay you.
No, the answers you seek won't be found in learning how to set up a Facebook page or run promotions within it. Nor will learning how to operate blog software, install plugins, set up widgets or create LinkedIn groups help you generate leads and sales. These skills are essential to have, but success requires a focus on designing social media marketing. Giving it purpose.
Following customers into social spaces without a means to capture sales rarely works alone. Listening and engaging with customers on Facebook, Twitter, blogs or on mobile devices—they're all necessary, but doing just these things won't help you sell more and more often. Successful marketers are going beyond capturing customers' attention in social spaces. Instead, they're designing social media marketing in ways that ultimately sells. They're differentiating, driving sales and keeping more customers by diagnosing and solving customer problems—not by cutting prices and offering coupons.
Social media can be a more powerful servant to your business than you think. But only when you act on the truth that attention is only the beginning. Successful social marketers design to sell. Everything I've learned from today's best "social sellers" can be distilled to three success principles. Social media marketers that sell:
1. are translators that discover and solve customers' evolving problems;
2. always design social experiences to discover customers' needs, cater to them over time and ultimately capture the sale; and
3. create sales by mixing in behavior-driven, direct response and classic marketing devices.
Jeff Molander is a digital marketing consultant, adjunct professor of marketing at Loyola University business school and author of "Off the Hook Marketing: How to make social media sell." He blogs at MakeSocialSell.com and JeffMolander.com, and can be reached at email@example.com.