Social media marketing is all the rage these days.
Every business realises that it has to build its online presence if it wants to be successful. Yet, all too often it appears that some businesses see social media marketing as an end in itself. The thinking behind this appears to be that if you’ve amassed a healthy band of followers and fans, then the job is done: you can sit back and relax, and wait for the success to come knocking on your door. The question is, is that really the right approach to take? What’s more important for your business, being popular, or selling stuff?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking social media marketing: far from it. It’s a useful tool to have at your disposal. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all have their place in a business’ marketing strategy. All three are great platforms for making contacts, linking content and promoting products and brands. But, will social networking sites actually generate leads? Probably not if we’re being honest. At best they might point people in the right direction – your website. The rest is then up to you.
Having a strong social presence is just a part of a rounded internet marketing strategy.
What’s vitally important is that some of your website traffic converts. Any social media efforts should be designed to drive traffic to the website, not the other way round. Getting people to like you or follow you is fine, but not if it takes them away from the main point of contact – ie the website where you’re trying to sell your products. It’s surprising that so many businesses place their ‘connect with us’ buttons at the top of the website’s home page. If you’ve managed to attract visitors to your site, isn’t it counter-productive to encourage them to leave straight away to ‘like’ you elsewhere? You’ve already got them where you want them. Surely, it’s far better to place these buttons at the bottom of the page, so at least they’ll have read what you have to offer before connecting with you on Facebook or Twitter.
Social relationships have their place, but they don’t always lead directly to sales.
Picture this scenario: someone sees a tweet and follows the link to one of your blogs and likes what they see. They might even sign up for an RSS feed and then discover you’re exhibiting at a trade show near them. So they connect with you on LinkedIn and pop along, eventually agreeing to do business with you. The result is that you have a converted lead, but did the social media have anything to do with that conversion? Well, no it didn’t directly: they never liked you on Facebook, or became a follower on Twitter. What actually happened was that a loose social media connection pointed them in your direction. It was your powers of persuasion that converted the lead.
Every business should utilise all of their social networking activities to help build the brand, drive traffic to their websites and help convert visitors into purchasers. Having 10, 000 followers may be impressive, but if they don’t buy your products, what’s the point?