Social Media: Where Are You Going?

Posted by Steve Kleber on Jun 19, 2012

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Imagine for a moment that your brand is a retail store with a great location on a busy downtown street. There is a steady stream of foot traffic and the sidewalks are routinely filled with shoppers carrying multiple bags of recent purchases. Potential customers frequent your store on a daily basis to peruse your products. These customers all have different reasons for walking through your door: some are very knowledgeable about your product and have come in to buy. Others are killing time while waiting on a friend and your store simply offers air conditioning on a hot summer day. A certain percentage of this traffic will convert into actual customers who purchase and the rest will walk out the door. Of those who walk out empty handed, a few may return later and complete a purchase. The rest may never return for a variety of reasons.

Now what if we changed the scenario? Perhaps we could get ten times as many potential customers into your store. Logic might tell us that if we attract ten times more foot traffic, we will also have ten times as many conversions, resulting in ten times as many sales. But the likelihood of this happening depends on how we managed to get the extra foot traffic. Consider two possible traffic-generating strategies:

  1. We run a focused, comprehensive marketing campaign that raises awareness of our products among a very well defined target audience. The campaign generates interest and excitement around our brand and contains simple, specific calls-to-action.
  2. We stand outside our store front on a hot summer day and offer every person walking through the door a glass of lemonade and a warm chocolate chip cookie.

Which strategy do you think is more likely to increase conversions and sales?

It is true that using strategy two has the potential to increase your sales. A few customers will explore your shelves while sipping lemonade and dropping cookie crumbs on your floor, and something will catch their eye and an impulse buy will be made. But most people will stay in your store just long enough to empty their glass, throw the trash away, and head out the door to another store in which they are actually interested.

Strategy one, however, is the most likely to increase sales. The increased traffic is full of people who have been qualified as most likely to be interested in what you have to sell; have an awareness of your brand; and might even be in the consideration stage of the purchasing process. It is much more likely that these people will purchase something simply because they came into your store with a purpose, making the trip from their home to your shelves to see what you have to offer.

So which strategy would you prefer for your business?

The same two strategies are available to you online:

  1. You can integrate multiple online channels into your comprehensive marketing strategy and use those channels as one (of many) tools to move people from awareness to consideration to conversion.
  2. You can offer people the online equivalent of lemonade and cookies (maybe a free gift or “like” our page and we’ll like yours).

Hopefully by now you have decided that strategy one is more your style. Here’s how to put this strategy into practice:

  1. Examine your marketing goals. They should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
  2. Choose your tactics. Select the best tactics to meet your goals. Social media is a tactic just like advertising, PR, and events.
  3. Coordinate your tactics. Tactics do not function in isolation. They should integrate and align.
  4. Execute your tactics. Earn your spot in people’s news feeds and do something important with your online connections. Don’t just collect followers.
  5. Analyze and adjust. Use measurement tools to constantly improve your strategy.

For more articles about using social media to its full potential, check out my Delicious Stack: Social Media: Where Are You Going?

This entry was posted by Steve Kleber on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 at 9:30 am and is filed under Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.