A recent blog we read told us that we should NOT use Social Media if we want to sell our stuff. The idea was that you should get to know people personally, help solve their problems and if you never make a dime, you will be more respected. Sounds good. But for most of us, making those dimes is what keeps us in business (and eating … and paying our rent).
While the strategies involved in “inbound” or social media marketing are slightly different than traditional marketing, it is still marketing. If your participation will not be at least one reason people buy from you, why would you waste your time, effort and money?
While developing personal relationships has been a marketing tactic for centuries, the idea of developing relationships “online” was born at a time when interactive websites became a reality. Relationships that once relied on geography could now be developed with people all over the world. (Even hyper local businesses selling to a defined geographic area may find it difficult to meet all potential customers; social media marketing is an opportunity to reach even more local people than would be possible in person.)
While strategies surrounding online Social Media marketing have evolved over the last few years, the basics remain the same:
People do not want to be “sold to,” they want help making their own buying decisions.
It is the job of a good Social Media Marketer to give people the reasons they need to buy – in other words for the business to make a sale.
Here are a few myths that have been put forth by a few Social Media Marketing “experts,” and our answers:
- Social Media is not for sales
False – 47% of users say Facebook has the greatest impact on their purchasing behavior. (Jay Baer) Social Media is where people are looking to buy products and services. Users “friend” a Page to obtain information about products and services. Facebook is often where they make their purchasing decisions. Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close ratio than outbound marketing. (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012) So tell them what you are selling.
- Social audiences don’t want your sales messages
False – 80% of US social network users prefer to connect to brands through Facebook. (HubSpot) People are seeking specific information regarding products and services. Using Facebook ads gives you the opportunity target very specific markets. In fact, Facebook’s recent changes have been aimed specifically at making their ads bigger and more useful. Because Facebook ads can be so finely targeted, effective AND cost effective, they are one of the best ways for businesses to reach their exact demographic, geographic and psychographic markets.
- It’s not about you it’s about your customers
False – 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. (HubSpot) Give them a reason to buy. Help them understand why you have the products and services they need. Give them information about your company so they can make an informed decision. Provide enough details and give them a special discount so you can take those 50% and make them customers.
- It is better to use the Social Networks to engage not advertise
False – Social Media is the new advertising platform. Providing useful and interesting information is important to help people make buying decisions. A few amusing cartoons and interesting images will get their attention. While these and other tactics that personalize a business page should definitely be a part of the overall strategy, the bottom line is that Social Media is the New Advertising Platform. It is becoming even more important as print media shrinks, phone books are thrown in the recycler and TV ads can be skipped with a push of a button. AT&T, Disney, Netflix and Weight Watchers are just a few companies that use Social Media Advertising successfully. You can too.
- Social Media is all about personal relationships
False – To become a trusted business you must have a base of customers who can tell their networks how good you are. These customers want to understand and then purchase your products and/or services. They don’t want to be your personal friend. They want a deal, a discount or a special offer. They want to feel satisfied that they have gotten the best quality product at a fair price. Once that happens, they will tell their friends about you. Stop trying to be best friends with your followers and give them what they want.
Social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are becoming major players in the world of advertising. Walmart has over 34 million Facebook Friends, Starbucks has over 90,000 followers on Twitter and Target has over 157,000 followers on Pinterest. Ask yourself, would they be using Social Media Marketing if it wasn’t improving their bottom line?