There are plenty of businesses who jumped on the social media marketing bandwagon, set up accounts on every platform they could name, and then expected followers to appear and sales to skyrocket. When this doesn’t happen, many companies give up on social media, claiming that it “doesn’t work”. And they’re right. Just joining these platforms won’t “work” to make sales, there is so much more to be done before that will happen. It may even be that a company never achieves a direct sale from their social media presence. Why is this? What does social media marketing actually achieve?
The first thing to understand is that regular people don’t use social media as customers. They use it as a way to connect, and as we’ve seen through the Social7 program, they use it to build community. People use Twitter to talk about what they’re thinking, when they’re thinking it, and read their friends thoughts too. They use Twitter to catch up on the latest global news, and to feel a part of a larger conversation. People use Facebook to see what their friends and family have been up to, to share cool, funny links they’ve found, and to upload and view holiday snaps. People don’t tend to head to Twitter or Facebook thinking, ‘I’m going to make a purchase today, let’s see what’s being sold on Twitter and Facebook’.
This is why sales streams don’t “work”; because businesses are using social media the same way they would use a billboard or a banner ad. These methods of advertising tend to have captive audiences – commuters stuck in traffic or sat on trains, blog audiences & website visitors. Social media is all about choosing whose updates you see. When someone agrees to Like or Follow a company which then pushes the hard sell, the Unfollow button is right there, waiting to be pushed.
The key to a business having a presence on social media is to first understand why people are there in the first place – as connectors. People like to share what’s going on in their lives, and they do this on social media. They might @ mention the brand of a great dress they bought, or a new brand of ice-cream they tried, or even where they got their concert flyers printed. Their followers click through the mention, see the brand’s feed, and maybe go to their website. Social media is really about giving current customers the capability to be brand ambassadors. Companies can leverage the networks of their client base in order to gain wider brand exposure, and potential new customers – even without hundreds upon thousands of actual followers. And this is how social media “works” to create sales.
Do you use social media to promote your business? How do most people interact with you on these platforms? Are you thinking of using social media marketing? Get in touch with our Seattle web marketing experts to arrange a consultation today.