Generating sales leads can be a time-intensive and complex challenge. Traditional sales and marketing models typically rely on longer sales cycles and nurturing campaigns to identify leads and push them through the sales funnel over weeks, months — and for some industries, even years. Social media changes all of that. With the analytics and insights that social media monitoring provides, you can now reach and target your customers (and competitors’ customers) like never before – in real time and with laser focus. Self-reported demographic information from users of social networks can now be tracked, filtered and analyzed using social media monitoring tools for real-time reach and impact in your markets.
To understand social media and the structure of social networks, we must think of relationships as independent of technology. With that in mind, here’s how to achieve 3 key marketing objectives, based on the way people actually use social media.
- Driving awareness requires you to reach as many relevant users as possible. Users may have strong ties to only a handful of their connections, but social media has considerably increased the reach of individual users – people have 140 connections on average, up from about 100 a year ago.
- Users may not always value purchasing advice from every single one of their connections, but if friends share content, people are most likely to see it. And if the content is appealing, users are most likely to click it. This applies especially to videos.
- A great way to drive awareness is to create videos that people want to share. Sharing content on Facebook or Twitter does not always feel as instinctive as liking or commenting, so the video must be compelling.
- The most relevant users to seed your videos are the ones who generate the most engagement in Facebook and Twitter. These are usually the long tail of every-day users, because they know their connections personally. This is what we focus on at Wingsplay, the startup I founded, and so far the results have been impressive.
- Generating sales requires that you tap into a much different social network structure.
- As Paul Adams, Global Brand Experience Manager at Facebook, points out, people talk to the same 5 – 10 people 80 percent of the time. People are tightly connected to five small groups, on average, with which they share a common interest or affinity.
- Influence can be so strong between these few connections that it can actually generate sales. To generate sales in social media, create very exclusive offers rather than trying to reach the masses. This way, users are incentivized to share them with their most relevant and trusted connections. Doing so will maximize your sales.
- Increasing loyalty is another very valuable way to leverage social media.
- Promote your Facebook page and Twitter account wherever you have access to your customers. Then, provide these customers with engaging content that will start a conversation between your customers, their friends and your brand.
- Since the objective here is to start a conversation, this content should be more about your customers than about you.
- Getting your customers to engage with your content is crucial. It will deepen your relationship with them and increase their loyalty. It will also turn your customers into your best advocates and your most valuable assets in social media.
- In short, social media can help you achieve key marketing objectives with unprecedented results. But you should not try to apply old-media strategies to social media. Instead, brands should see themselves as regular social media users, and provide valuable input to start conversations around their content. Ultimately, this will help you boost sales.