Sometimes I feel like a broken record when it comes to managing the expectations surrounding social media and what it can do for a business. I must provide a lot of education about what social media is and how it fits into the marketing pie. I find that these concepts need constant reinforcement.
This blog is both my reminder and my plea.
For the record, businesses that hope to capitalize on social media must have a strong foundation in place – including operations, marketing and commitment. There has to be a mindset for social media – it’s not the same as nor should it replace advertising or traditional marketing outlets. It’s a two-way communications vehicle, which should be integrated with other forms of communication.
This synergy is what puts social media at the top of the sales funnel. Speaking of sales, here’s a #Strella service announcement: Money is an outcome – it’s not a goal. Better goals for social media purposes include things like driving website traffic and increasing reach. These are the types of things we measure for our clients.
Social media is a platform for building new or enhancing current relationships. But, how do we really measure relationships anyway? Do we check the meter every time we talk with a friend? Of course not. So why do businesses feel they need to quantify every ‘like’ or piece of engagement? Simply offer value to move the needle with the know/like/trust process.
Even a business that meets its marketing goals cannot be guaranteed that sales will follow. And, that does not mean it’s a marketing problem. If there’s a lack of conversion, there are myriad of factors that could be involved – and I urge a business to go back and evaluate the foundational elements, namely operations or website functionality. And while it can be unnerving, it’s critical to evaluate the market need for a service or product, how it compares to the competition and the ease by which customers can move through the sales process.
Once both marketing and sales goals are achieved, a business will still need to evaluate frequently. Changes happen daily – in the economy, in relationships and in social media. A social media plan requires constant reinvention in order to remain relevant and engaging.
Social media has given us an unprecedented opportunity to build relationships and communicate with customers and prospects. Rather than asking what social media can do for a business, perhaps we should ask how social media can help a business do more for its customers.