Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Social Conundrum: Are you Going the Sales Way?
When one is handling a financial services product online the only metrics that seems to matter are leads and conversions. Hence very often that becomes the overarching one size fits all approach to all of the digital assets available to the company. While I can quite understand sales being an important metric it cannot be the only metric to employ across all digital assets.
It also betrays a deep lack of understanding about the digital behaviour of customers. The Internet has irrevocably transferred power into the hands of our customers. They can choose the properties and sites they want to visit, what they want to see, what they want to praise, what they want to trash, what they see and what they buy?
In this scenario brands are an interruption. Imagine a brand popping up with frantic ‘buy me’ messages in the middle of an intense digital experience. Just not done. The customer will banish the brand into the dustbin of digital oblivion. This in fundamental means that the traditional rules of marketing communication have changed beyond recognition.
The Real Social
This holds even truer in the world of social media. The name in itself should be a dead giveaway to marketers. Social by definition means something common relating to a group or a community. Here is where people congregate to communicate with friends and peers and discuss things of mutual or common interest. This makes the social media space a slippery slope for brands and brand marketers. Selling messages and brand speak goes against the grain of the medium and ups the level of customer resistance. Does that mean that there is no hope for brands on social?
On the contrary social media allows brands to be able to integrate themselves into the lives of customers and their communities in a meaningful manner. This means fundamentally changing the approach to brand communication. Since time immemorial people have communicated most powerfully through the telling of stories.
Are you following the CEO-Please Strategy
Brands must learn to tell powerful stories that are relevant to their customers in a decidedly non-sales manner. Building powerful and useful content in a linked manner is critical to consumers not only absorbing these brand stories but sharing them as well. Content is the key to building a powerful social media presence. The days of buying ‘fan’, ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ should hopefully be behind us very soon. Most savvy marketers have realised that such CEO-pleasing strategies have little or no impact on the brand itself.
The time has come to engage with customers through powerful and relevant content that solves a problem, eases some pain or just brings a smile on the face of the customer. A social media strategy is not so much about the media properties as it is about the content that one puts out.
Make consumers engage with you on social media and sales will definitely follow as will customer recommendation. Chasing sales on social media is a sure fire way of turning your customers off. It is the equivalent of digital body odour.