In recent times social media have emerged as the biggest target for marketers of almost every business sector. Try to find a business website without a “like us on Facebook” link… more difficult that you think, isn’t it? Facebook recently announced over 1.23 billion monthly active users, 945 million mobile users, and 757 million daily users. What other company holds this size of address book?
Let’s not forget what Facebook is though, it’s a popularity contest and the companies that understand this are the ones becoming successful in the social media space. Social media exist for this exact reason. Even business people will use Facebook to connect with friends rather than colleagues and the like (that’s what LinkedIn is for).
B2B companies are hardest hit by this, they are trying to sell a work-related product on an out-of-hours social platform. But they should look to learn lessons from B2C brands that are generating huge amounts of rapidly growing viral traffic through innovative and interesting Ad campaigns. On the flip side of the coin, certain huge brands are currently failing to make sales via social media and there are some key reasons why:
- They’re just plain boring
People are bored enough, they come to Facebook for entertainment and respite from work and life. They are NOT there to shop. If you want to sell to someone, capture their interest first.
Show them a picture of a new product and you will blend in with the crowd. Even with a B2B product, now is your chance to be irreverent and entertaining.
Buyers have a sense of humour too, that’s why they’re on Facebook, and if you capture their attention, make them smile or laugh or move them in some way, they will take note, better yet they will share your content. People who share content on Facebook are adding their personal stamp of approval to it, and they are increasing your market size, but they will only share things with their friends if it’s interesting or exciting.
- They underestimate the competition
Stop believing you are only competing against your competitors. If you think that, you’ll spend too much time focussing on your product vs. the competition. This information exists on your website already and with Facebook, your mission should be to direct people there when they are interested enough to really read and digest it.
At the social media level, you are competing with EVERYONE. Every single brewery, clothing company, holiday provider etc. on the market is now your competitor. If you’re selling a B2B product, you face a disadvantage. Promoting social products like beer, clothes and holidays on a social platform is more applicable to this channel than say accountancy software.
Good creativity and innovation is needed to interest your prospects enough to click your links or pick up the phone. We all know marketing is about standing out from the crowd, but when the crowd grows exponentially larger as it does on Facebook, it is much more challenging and requires much more creativity to stand out.
- They manage it poorly
Managing social media is a full time job. The idea of paying someone to sit on Facebook all day might be a galling thought, but you pay marketing people to manage your advertising, why not social media experts to manage your social media?
I personally, created and championed a fundraising campaign some months ago. When I was all over it, promoting and sharing and keeping it in the spotlight until 3am every night, people donated in droves. When I stopped, so did the donations, almost simultaneously.
If you stop creating and posting content, you will drown in the sea of content that floods social media minute by minute. Manage it and keep managing it if you hope to see any results at all.
- They don’t track results properly
So, someone likes your page! Hooray! You must have done your job …ah but wait… did they buy what you’re selling? What happens if 2000 people like your Facebook page, and your traffic to your website from Facebook goes up by 1000 hits per month. Success? No. How many of these people bought and how many bailed? What’s turning them on and what’s turning them off? It’s a good idea to invest in a good marketing automation system that helps you stop only tracking who’s clicked and starts telling you, who BOUGHT or showed interest in your product.
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Make the best out of it
There is no avoiding social media; it is the new place to promote your product. But at the moment it is poorly understood and companies can waste fortunes in badly conceived strategy. If you use the right software, especially marketing automation, it helps you refine that strategy by identifying who came to your site and via which channel, what pages they viewed, how they chose to engage with you (filling in web-forms, downloading content etc.) and better yet, takes that data and converts it into sales leads. They might not buy then and there, but your salespeople can call them comfortable that they have a lead with plenty of pre-qualification information attached.
It allows you to spend your marketing budget where it’s generating most defined ROI, not just the most site traffic. Not only that but you can use this data to streamline your site, capture more traffic and direct people to the content that is generating the most converted sales. Armed with information and contact details, it also allows you to automatically email market your prospects with content, tailored by you and based on their specific preferences.
Remember, a like is not a sale, it’s just a like. I like Ferraris, do I own one? No, of course not! With a marketing automation tool (we prefer target360), you can sharpen your campaigns to filter out the buyers from the browsers and track your campaign success rates. It illustrates how you can convert Facebook likes into actual cash, by tracking their journey, letting you market to them based on what they want to see and helping you optimise your website. Surely, that must be worth a “like”?