Social media has changed the way we communicate, on a global scale (heck, we're now able to quickly engage three million people to globally crowdsource sattelite maps in search of a missing place, for example). Social media has changed how we do business.
Social media has changed how we market to consumers.
I love it.
As a marketer, social media is an amazing way to:
- Extend the reach and exposure of your brand
- Get powerful word-of-mouth endorsements by influencers and consumers
- Interact and engage with your market
- Develop deep brand loyalty
- Listen to your consumers, and respond with comments, programs or products
- Generate traffic to your website and other marketing campaigns
You can even gain sales directly through social media, with Facebook coupons, exclusive Twitter deals or even Pinterest contests.
But, that's not enough anymore.
To seal the deal in marketing these days, you also need to nurture your social followers, and connect with them on multiple channels throughout your business sales funnel.
Effective marketers are now working with their sales and communications teams to integrate social as one whole part of their online marketing strategies.
To make marketing powerful these days, you need to use social to gain leads, nurture prospective customers and get the sales for your business.
Here's an example of a seven step process to integrate social media into a broader based marketing campaign:
1. Host a lead generating promotion on your website and Facebook - Use your website, or a social site like Facebook or Twitter to set up a business promotion. Email-gate it, so that participants have to give you their email in order to get your offer, free content or other promotion.
Your lead generating offer could be:
- A free ebook related to your business (such as "How to Blog for your Business")
- A webinar related to your target market
- A series of how-to content
- A coupon for your online store
- A contest to win something amazing
- Asking for consumer input on a product - from a book cover to a new product line
Social Media Today engages their market, and generates leads with free email-gated webinars. Here's an example of their webinar landing page:
The best lead generating promotions give your niche market the perception of value. You need to make your free 'hook' enticing enough so that trading an email for it is a simple choice.
2. Promote your landing page through social media cross-promotion - Use your engaged social platforms to post about your promotion, and drive traffic to your lead generating page.
On Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram, make updates that:
- Are visually appealing
- Show the benefits of linking to your promotion site
- Ask a question
- Suggest the person share with their friends (with a like, share, retweet and so on)
On LinkedIn - share an update with your connections, or post a promotion in a group you engage with.
Here's an example of the LinkedIn Group, eMarketing Association Network, where you can post a link to your event in the promotions tab:
Send out an email to your segmented database too, to drive more traffic to your promotion, and to continue to engage with your customer connections.
3. Use online advertising to extend your reach - As many people in the online marketing world have been talking about lately, the days of free social media marketing are slowly petering out. Advertising is becoming an integral part of your social media and digital marketing.
Give your social media posts a boost with Facebook Ads, such as a sponsored story or right column ad. Drive more traffic to your update about your email-gated promotion (whether it is hosted on your Facebook page, or your website landing page.)
With Facebook Ads you get your message seen by:
- More of your Facebook Fans
- People with similar likes and interests of your Facebook Fans (Lookalikes)
- People who have visited your website (Website Custom Audience)
- Your competitors' Fans (by targeting people who 'Like' your competition)
Google AdWords can be a little more complicated, but you can target your market when they are searching for your exact promotion or business. Use Google AdWords to get your message out there to your interested searchers (through the most common Search Network Ads) and niche websites (through the Display Network Ads).
Use Google AdWords to promote your event or lead generating campaign:
To fine tune your Google AdWords reach and increase your click through rate (CTR):
- Use specific keywords
- Use location based keywords
- Include Ad Extensions
- Write Ad Copy that is highly relevant to your promotional landing page
4. Use ad retargeting to increase touchpoints with dropped leads - If you're still newer to the online advertising game, you may or may not even know what retargeting is yet. But, I'll bet you've seen them.
Ad retargeting are those ads that seem to follow you around the internet. You know, you've gone to a website, and then you see the brand or face or promotion when you visit different sites the next day, and the next.
Visual image of how retargeting works (image courtesy of AdRoll):
If you are a little more comfortable with online advertising, I'd suggest you try the Google Network Display to do retargeting. All you do is add some code to your landing page, and determine your marketing strategy, images and messages. You get to follow those lost leads - and stay top of mind to people who didn't initially convert on your promotion.
5. Generate relationships through email automation - Once you've completed your amazingly successful lead generating promotion, you'll hopefully have tons of new email leads.
If you setup your landing page for triggered emails, and you've already sent out immediate emails to thank the person for taking part in your promotion (and give them information about how to download your ebook or redeem your coupon), continue to keep in touch with a well planned email automation campaign.
Send out 5 to 6 timed, personalized emails to your participants. Write emails that are related to your promotion. Let's take the example of a promotion to download your ebook on "How to Blog for your Business."
Your second email (after your initial 'thank you' email) might be to direct people to a blog article you happen to have, with more business blogging tips.
Keep sending personalized emails, and use progressively deeper asks as your Call to Actions. Deepening the ask can create a stronger bond between you and your prospect. Sending out multiple emails increases your brand's touchpoints with your prospect, and develops familiarity.
Ultimately, use your automated emails to drive people back to your product page, as we'll see next.
6. Direct leads to products, deals or events on your website or social sites - Now, you're getting closer to your ultimate business goal - the sale. Through your email automation campaigns (or even your ad retargeting campaign), drive your new prospects to your sales page.
You've put in the time and effort to develop your relationship with the customer. They are much more likely to be willing to buy from you now.
Your sales landing page could be directly on your website, or even on your preferred social site.
Unlike your first landing page, this second landing page is not about just getting an email in exchange for your offering. You're now asking to get the money in exchange for your product, event, discount, service, or whatever your business sales objective is for this campaign.
7. Convert - Get the conversion with an optimized final landing page.
A few best practices for increasing your conversions are:
- Include a prominent and clear CTA
- Be transparent about who you are, what you're giving, and the cost of your product
- Use visuals like a smiling face to enhance trust levels
- Include a customer testimonial (in a quote or video) to provide peer approval
Once you've gotten the sale, keep in touch with customer.
Use another email automation campaign. Ask them to follow you on your social sites. Keep nurturing your relationships by giving your customers what they want and asking for their views and input.
Your turn. There are many ways to integrate social media into your online marketing tactics. What do you think of these seven steps? How have you successfully built relationships online, and gained the sale for your business?