Archive for social media marketers
Are you interested in monetizing the social media channel?
Keep reading for five tips to turn fans and followers into a revenue channel.
Do Fans Mean Business?
Marketers have made tremendous strides in growing their audiences on social media channels. There have been concerns over whether social media could only be successful in business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, but we’re starting to see great case studies in both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) brands.
In looking at the B2B software space, we can see tremendous success from companies like HubSpot, InfusionSoft and HootSuite that have grown large numbers of followers by providing valuable content to their target audiences.
Have these large followings contributed to revenue for these brands? The next natural question for C-level executives and marketers is, “Can we monetize our social media following?”
As pressures have risen for solid measurements and a demonstration of social media ROI, more companies are recognizing that revenue generation has to be a top priority of social media strategies.
This doesn’t give license for tacky sales pitches on Twitter. Rather, it opens the door for a more strategic approach to social media content, content distribution and measurement.
To get started, there are a few things you’ll need to prepare for.
Tip #1: Understand Your Sales Funnel
It’s pretty difficult to place leads into the sales funnel if you don’t have a clear understanding of the sales process that supports it.
The first step in monetizing the social media channel is to have a clear understanding of which marketing channels are currently contributing leads to the funnel, what the sales follow-up process is and how long it takes to close the sale.
You’ll need to figure out where social media fits into the equation.
- Will social media leads respond to existing sales processes?
- Where are social media leads in the buying process?
- Will they convert at the same rates?
To truly understand how social media leads behave, you’ll need to do some testing. It is unlikely that social media leads will perform the same way that other types of marketing leads do.
This is because with social media, more commonly you are reaching potential buyers earlier in the sales process, before your competition. Getting potential buyers’ attention early has tremendous value that can be overlooked if expectations haven’t been set for how the social media lead will perform.
If you compare social media with traditional sales, in essence social media adds three levels that extend your sales funnel to provide more opportunities for conversion.
Tip #2: Optimize Your Path to Conversion
It’s important to make sure it is super-easy for potential buyers to buy. We tend to be fairly lazy consumers and if we have to search out how to buy from you, we are less likely to convert.
Therefore, take a look at your Facebook page. Does a potential buyer have to click on the Info tab to find your website, then go to your website and figure out how to buy your products or services? If so, you are likely missing out on the opportunity to convert Facebook fans into purchasers.
Create a tab that allows fans to convert within Facebook and you’ll likely see a spike in new revenue.
Success in social media relies on having strong content to share on social networks, which many times resides on the corporate blog.
Look at your blog and make sure there are conversion points that will in essence turn every post into a landing page. Make sure you test multiple calls to action to figure out what works best at converting social media traffic.
Tip #3: Provide Opportunities for Soft Conversion
The social media lead likely enters the sales funnel earlier in the buying process. He or she may not be ready to make a purchase; however, you have an opportunity to convert interested social media fans and followers into email subscribers.
Soft leads are people willing to provide their email address in exchange for highly valuable and relevant content. These are valuable leads who have said they are interested in your content; but they haven’t necessarily said they are interested in your product yet.
If you combine email marketing campaigns that provide a mix of content that helps to push them through the sales funnel while providing valuable information, you will have a better opportunity to convert social media’s soft leads into potential buyers.
Tip #4: Nurture the Social Media Lead Differently
It’s important to understand the difference between the social media lead and the traditional lead because traditional sales-related email campaigns will kill the sale with the social media buyer.
Because social media leads may enter the sales funnel at an earlier stage in the buying process, you will need to adjust your email campaigns to provide value and content that will help drive the decision-making process.
This will require a strategy that includes decision-making content. Decision-making content is designed to answer questions that commonly arise when purchasing your product, overcome objections that are frequently heard in the sales process and provide opportunities to convert into a hard lead.
A hard lead is someone who has taken an action that directly indicates he or she is now interested in your product. This means the lead is now in the research and consideration phase of the buying cycle and you have an opportunity to convert the lead into a buyer.
Through your other social media efforts, you have been able to develop trust with prospects; therefore, if you continue to show thought leadership in helping them to make a decision, they will be more likely to purchase from you rather than the competitor they don’t have a relationship with.
Having a combination of decision-making and topically relevant content that is sent to soft leads will help you identify when the lead makes the jump to product interest.
At that point, you can follow up with traditional product-based information and put the lead in the traditional sales process. Many times you can recognize this transition if you identify pages and calls to action that indicate product interest, such as signing up for a product demonstration, attending a product-based webinar or downloading decision-making content.
Tip #5: Measure Your Results
Finally, the only way to identify where leads are in the sales process is to measure your efforts.
The quickest and most cost-effective way to monitor social media conversions is to apply Google analytics campaign tracking to the links you shorten and post on social networks.
The combination of Google Analytics and HootSuite Pro makes this easy. Once you have the data, it is important to put it into a format that tells the management team what they want to know.
Use these metrics to demonstrate success through the sales funnel:
- Cost per impression
- Cost per engagement
- Cost per soft lead
- Cost per hard lead
- Cost per sale
What do you think? Have you successfully converted social media fans and followers into revenue? Are you still trying to figure out how to do this? Join the discussion and leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Are you wondering how to work with experts outside the company while maintaining a consistent brand experience?
Before you jump in headfirst or turn over the social media reins , check out the following eight tips to make sure your employees or contractors correctly represent your company.
#1: Create a Social Style Guide
Agreeing on a style for outward-facing content helps solidify your company’s identity and character, and is the starting point of good social media employee training, because it puts all agents on the same page. Perhaps the biggest hurdle in creating a style guide is to define your company’s voice.
If you’re working business to business in, say, the medical field, you’ll likely want to employ a professional voice. But if you’re working with freelance web developers who spend a good chunk of time every day on FailBlog, you can relax and crack some jokes. The point is to know your audience and have agents create content with your audience in mind.
#2: Define Social Goals
When creating your style guide, keep your goals in mind. What are you looking for from your presence on Facebook?
- Do you want to get users talking?
- Do you want their feedback so you can build a better product?
- Do you want them to advertise your brand for you by sharing your content?
Once you establish your goals, you can amend your style guide accordingly.
If your goal is to increase fan interaction, have agents create wall posts that are interesting to the community and ask engaging questions. If your goal is to seed your email list, create an incentive (like a giveaway) for signing up, and have your agents regularly announce the prizes and winners on the wall.
#3: Set Parameters and Grant Freedom
No two people are the same, meaning that no two social media agents will write the same way. Having a style guide that defines voice doesn’t mean that you need to build a bank of terms and phrases for your employees to copy and paste, effectively turning them into bland robot parrots.
With your company’s overall voice outlined in your style guide, encourage your agents to be creative. To add depth to your company’s presence, have agents sign off on wall posts with their first names or departments.
#4: Have a Probationary Period
Practice makes perfect, and that truth certainly holds in the world of social media. A probationary period in which new agents respond to wall posts but first submit their responses to a superior prior to posting is a great way to get agents up to speed. With direction and edits from the higher-ups, new agents will become accustomed to your brand’s style and voice quickly.
#5: Mandate Social Frequency
You wouldn’t leave a phone ringing indefinitely in your office. It’s poor customer service. For the same reason, don’t leave wall posts on your Facebook page unanswered. Unanswered wall posts are far worse than an unanswered phone call, because the customer’s request or question is out there for the world to see—with a time stamp on it. Don’t let your page’s visitors get the impression you don’t care about your customers.
Make it policy for your social media agents to engage on your Facebook wall frequently—addressing all questions and concerns posted. The great thing is that this works both ways. Because your Facebook wall is public, you’ll experience increased customer loyalty when they see that your agents respond to all requests promptly.
#6: Team Up
Once your employees pass through the initial probationary period, it still isn’t a good idea to have just one person responsible for your social media presence. Teams with two or more can moderate, edit and sharpen each other, giving you a refined, robust presence. Often it’s a good idea to have one person who’s more social media–savvy and another with a traditional marketing background.
The social media expert can keep the marketing professional in line with social media practices, while the marketing professional can make sure your brand’s reputation and message are upheld. If content hasn’t had at least two sets of eyes on it, don’t let it go public.
#7: Take Cues From the Pros
If your company is making its first foray into social media, take a look at a dozen or so of your top competitors and a few brands that do things right, like Starbucks or Coca-Cola. Take the good, leave the bad and add in your company’s unique voice. Formulating your approach as a team will take care of the training process for everyone, all at once.
#8: Prepare to Answer Anything
Whether you like it or not, your Facebook wall is a catch-all for praise, requests, demands, complaints, threats and everything in between. Make sure your social media team is ready to answer every wall post, even the disparaging ones, and is able to do so with respect and kindness.
Outline a procedure for agents dealing with irate fans. But don’t just prepare for the negative; be ready to capitalize on positive feedback by incorporating it in marketing materials or a “reviews” section on your page or website.
What do you think? What do you do to prepare employees to represent your brand on social media? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.