Social Media: What Comes First? Tools or Strategy?
When it comes to social media the best strategy you can formulate for success starts with a sound strategy. You may be asking, “What?” right about now, but stay with me. Many marketers feel that when it comes to social and digital media strategies the best tactic is to begin by choosing the tool they will use, whether that tool is LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. Choosing a tool then attempting to build a strategy around that tool is not the way to begin. Marketing isn’t merely the tools you use to advance your message, it’s the development of an over-arching successful, integrated, interconnected strategy – a strategy that utilizes tried-and-true traditional marketing methods as well as digital media.
Blogging, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are not strategies in your marketing arsenal, they are merely the tools through which you share your message. Gathering a large following of friends, business associates and clients to your social media platforms will certainly provide you exposure, but you need to have something to offer to keep them on the page… and eventually convert them into clients that will buy your product.
Do You Have A Conversion Strategy?
Why does your business have a social media presence? To sell product, right? In order to do that you need to convert your followers to customers so you can increase revenue – that is the ultimate goal. The same is true with traditional media – advertise to raise awareness and convert readers to customers.
Adding followers on Twitter, getting readers to your blog and gathering more likes on Facebook require different conversion strategies. Bottom line, with your marketing efforts: How do I convert my likes, followers and those who comment on my blog into revenue-producing streams?
Before you can begin a conversion strategy you need to have goals and objectives in place. Some of those measurable objectives could include:
Increasing web traffic to a certain page on your site
Increase attendance at live or on-line events
Increase e-commerce sales
Drive book sales
Build brand awareness
Garner free press coverage
Increase activity on your social media pages
And so on…
You may have objectives that are non-specific (build brand awareness) and those that are specific (garner free press coverage – this is a measureable, trackable activity). Make an attempt to put measures of success on each goal or you will never know if you’ve achieved it.
Build A Conversion Strategy
I’ve come up with a six-step program for a conversion strategy that includes:
What is your measurable goal? Yes, you want to make money, but in which segment of your business? Which of your target markets will you pursue to increase your revenues and which products or services do you want to promote? What is your timetable and what revenue do you want to reach to achieve this goal?
In which environment does your business reside? For example, starting a home construction business in 2009 at the height of the recession would not have been a good idea. Here are other environmental influences that could impact your success; the current economy; your competition; new technologies; federal, state and local regulations that impact your business; your demographic and its confidence in the economy; are there environmental or health trends that impact your goods or services; finally, the customers that you’re targeting need to be ready to buy and more specifically ready to buy from you.
How can your brand stand out from the competition? What can you do “better, faster and cheaper” than they can? What is important to your customer and how can you become the go-to provider?
You need to reach your target audience in a way that won’t break the bank. Before you budget for print ads or flyers, you need to understand if those efforts will reach your target audience. Is your audience heavily influenced by, and involved in, social media? If so, they may never see your print ad or flyer. Knowing where your audience “lives” will help target your marketing efforts.
What tools can you utilize to gain the greatest impact? Once you know your audience, you can determine whether an ad in a local newspaper or radio station will reach them. You will want to look at a fusion of traditional, digital or social media and gauge your results.
What message are you sending? When you remember that the tools you choose are merely the vehicles that will carry your message, you need to know what words to use on those vehicles. Make promises to your clients that address a want or need you’ve uncovered and let them know why your company can provide address that need better than the competition.
Taking time now to understand these six steps and to put measurable, actionable goals in place, will help you formulate your strategy for converting contacts into buyers.
Lon Safko – Author of The Social Media Bible & The Fusion Marketing Bible
lon safko, author, speaker, keynote, training, social media bible, fusion marketing bible