"Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers", according to Forrester's latest research report.
They analyzed primary sales drivers for eCommerce, and concluded that less than 1% of buyers were from social visitors.
There's a few possible explanations for this.
The first (and most important) is that social aids the buying process indirectly, and is difficult to track -- which leads companies (and research firms) to under-appreciate and under-invest.
The second, is that most corporate social media strategies... simply aren't that good. And their results are mediocre because they're too tactical, and too focused on micro-decisions.
Here are 3 reasons why your social strategy is failing, and what to do instead.
Fix #1: Create Content, Not Updates
Every status update should have a purpose, and engineered to succeed.
You're not just "telling people what you're up to", but you're creating content with a specific objective, interesting hook, and call-to-action.
So every single status update should bear all the hallmarks of good content.
Research and dig into your prospect's psychology, use copywriting to intrigue and address their pain points, and monitor your analytics to do more of what people like, and less of what they don't.
Every status update should be like it's own advertisement:
- Objective: At the end of the day, you need engagement or click-throughs. But emphasis one at a time, not both. Because if you want to maximize results, then you typically have to make a choice that will hurt the other option.
- Headline:The first goal of your headline is to grab attention. The best way is to touch an emotional nerve, or reference a specific "world-view" they might have.
- Description: The description is where you use copywriting to play on reader's interests and psychology, and get them to take action.
- Image: Finally, the goal of your image is to produce a desired result. So it doesn't have to be explicitly tied to what you're talking about. Instead, make it sure captures attention and will make an emotional connection.
Here's an example of all those components coming together:
Becoming a social media publisher allows you to set the tone for engagement, and steer the conversation in ways that ultimately benefit you.
Fix #2: Create Assets, Not Followers
If you hope to profit from social media one day, then you need to do more then gain followers.
Instead, you need to focus your marketing on one-to-many.
For example, partners and good relationships with other brands or influential properties are assets. If you can create enough of these, then you'll never have to worry about growing your followers again. Because they'll help you with promotion and drive awareness for years to come.
The same goes for your own in-house email marketing list or blog.
These are platforms that grow in value, and allow you to freely share messages and instantly reach communities of people.
Invest in marketing assets first, and the social media mentions and friends will follow.
Fix #3: Create Campaigns, Not Launches
Whenever a company has a new launch, promotion, or sale coming up, they want to start "marketing" on the opening day.
But by then, you've already lost.
Effectively promoting events or launches takes time, and can't happen overnight.
"If you want to succeed in social media, then think in quarters, not days." → [Click here to share this quote]
So tying in to #1 above, if you want to increase sales and engagement over the holidays, don't flood your social media channels with "Buy my widget now!" updates all day.
But start creating holiday content that teases and hints at upcoming promotions. Find partners to cross-promote and help you distribute this content. Then run contests to increase engagement and excitement for the upcoming holiday specials. Finally, use lead nurturing and email marketing to consistently follow-up with people when they do -- or don't -- show intent to buy.
Investing in a single, well planned and executed holiday campaign will always have a higher ROI than spamming people the day before Christmas.
And with one marketing investment, you're getting multiple returns in brand awareness, new traffic, social media mentions & followers, high-quality links for SEO, new email leads, and of course -- more customers.
The key to social media isn't to reinvent the wheel.
The key is to take what's worked for years, and use social channels to distribute those messages farther, faster, and more effectively.