Guest blogger, Jessica Ruane, is the Content Team Lead for The Control Group, the team known for building Instant Checkmate, one of the largest people search engines in America. You can get to know her better on Twitter at @Jessica_Ruane.
Are you spinning your wheels pounding out good, useful content for your brand, yet it feels like nobody is listening to what you have to say? Where are all your retweets? Why does no one comment on your company blog? How come the only engagement you get on your Facebook page is from some weird spammer in India?
As Mari Smith said at Social Media Marketing World Conference,
“Content is King, but engagement is queen, and she rules the house.”
That’s very, very true. But how do you create that kind of engagement when people hate advertisers, and brand loyalty is at an all time low?
Social Selling Can Help
Maybe the reason your engagement is suffering is because you’re spending too much time trying to be your customers’ friend online. Here’s a newsflash for you: your customers don’t want to be your friend. They want to (maybe) buy something from you that will solve their problem.
So make them believe that your product/service/material can really help them.
That’s where social selling comes in. As Bob has said on this blog before,
“We need to get to a better balance with our social marketing efforts and speak to the entirety of the customer permission set, including how they want to buy from us. Only then can we form measurable profit objectives that intersect with these permissions. Because, the object of social marketing is not simply to collect audience appreciation, but to make every customer experience shareable — including the purchase.”
By putting the marketing back in social media marketing, brands can begin to see returns from investing time and energy into social media. Go back to the marketing basics, and stop blindly posting pictures of cute babies.
Keep your eye on the prize and remember that your business is on social media to increase brand visibility, collect leads, and make sales. You’ll get more engagement through contests, loyalty programs, and special offers. And what’s more, the engagement you’ll generate through these methods will be more valuable to your business.
How To Advertise The Right Way On Social Media
So, how can you drive sales on social media platforms where people don’t want to see advertisements? It’s not so easy . . . But it can be done. Here’s how you can actually make a profit on social media.
First, provide something of value.
Share useful tips that relate to your brand. Lifehack-style posts are insanely popular right now, so think about something easy, but practical that you can teach your customers. For an example of this, check out the kind of content we post on Instant Checkmate’s Google+ profile. We’ve attracted over 2,300 followers on this platform by sharing original content that adds value for our followers. How does this help our business? Well, Google+ is now our second highest source of social referral traffic to our site. We also apply the same rules to our Facebook and YouTube accounts.
It’s really just content marketing 101. If you can provide a steady supply of useful content to your audience, then guess what, they will start to trust you, and when you do try to sell them something, they will actually listen and probably buy from you.
Then, apply marketing common sense.
Don’t throw all your marketing training out the window just because you’re dealing with Facebook or Twitter. Remember that all the tried and true online marketing tricks you trust should still apply to social media. If you’re drawing a blank, here are a couple freebies.
- Describe your product in detail
- Pitch your product to the right market
- Tell people how it will solve a problem that they’re actually motivated to fix
- Use a strong call to action and tell people exactly what to do, and why they should do it right now
- Appeal to emotion
If you can build trust with your audience through valuable content, and then show the right people at the right time how your product with solve a problem they want to fix, then you’ll be seeing that oh-so-elusive social media ROI in no time.
In the end, driving sales on social media is a delicate balance between giving away useful content for free, and trying to sell people stuff. If you just try to sell, sell, sell, your audience will roll their eyes and think to themselves, “I’m so sick of these f*&%ing ads on Facebook.” People are trained to mute, ignore, and switch off ads as fast as possible.
Freely provide valuable information to the masses, and they will stop ignoring you. Your job is to educate consumers about why they need to buy your product, and then just when they’ve accepted your premise, sell it to them.
Content marketing is the gentle ice pick that we must use to chisel our way back into the consumers’ guarded, suspicious, hearts. People have been getting screwed over by the false promises of traditional advertising for years. The jig is up, people. It’s up to us to stop closing, start listening, and win them back.