OK, I admit, maybe the “social media” hype over the last couple of years has been a little overblown. It’s true, social media will not cure world hunger, fix the economy or create leads for your organization overnight. Many marketers today are desperately trying to figure out how Facebook, Twitter and YouTube help sell their products and services. Most know they need to incorporate social media as part of their marketing mix, they just don’t know how much and what their expectations should be when they do invest time and resources.
Take car makers and their dealers for instance: Just 3 percent of 4,005 new and used car buyers polled last summer said social media influenced their purchase decision, according to a survey by market researcher R.L. Polk & Co. and AutoTrader.com, a car shopping Web site. Some could read into this statistic and get alarmed that time and effort isn’t worth it. Or could it be that as marketers, we haven’t really figured it all out yet, how to integrate and measure the true impact of engaging with our customers and prospects using social media channels? Perhaps we haven’t been able to harness the power of our best customers using social media.
Today, marketers are finding ways to engage with their customers using social channels to create what we call “social evangelists.” In fact, in the history of modern day marketing, has there been a better way, outside of face-to-face, to build relationships and awareness for your brand?
No quick fix and, yes, your SEM results can benefit.
A commonly discussed aspect of participating in social is that you can get improved search-engine results. Google, and other search engines who channel nearly all the visitor volume to marketer web sites, pick up on the social media chatter and it helps.
This social chatter helps marketer Websites appear on the first page of a shopper's Google search, for instance. Most Google users select a Website from that first page.
So, from that standpoint, social media have an indirect but significant impact in raising shoppers' awareness.
But what if we started connecting the efforts we have started to make in the social sphere to actually target and engage our customers? What if we turned our customers into “social evangelists”?
Customers operate in a multichannel world and so should marketers. Integrating content and communications among social communities and other marketing activities is the challenge. While it is a new discipline, like building any new skill, this will take some time for most marketers to master. Don’t be afraid to test, try new things. Most of all, get started.
The Four Elements
Here are four key points to consider as you look to engage with your customers within social media channels:
- Can you identify your best customers who are social? Most marketers can’t.
- Have you given them a compelling reason to engage with you via social platforms? What is in it for them?
- Have you built a measurement and metrics plan to chart progress?
- How are you integrating your social media activities with other online and offline marketing efforts?
Now go get social!
About the Author:
Tim Tully is a Practice Leader in the Healthcare and Consumer Markets for marketing analytics firm SIGMA Marketing Group.
Contact SIGMA today to learn more about how we can help you get control of your customer data.