You and I have heard the numbers. The “hundreds of millions” on social media and therefore we knew we must join in, but why? Simply knowing the people are there does not mean that what you post will create benefits. Clearly, we have seen social media take down the powerful as quickly as it propped them up. As a business, non-profit or simply an individual with something to say we have joined the social media community for different reasons than most of the “hundreds of millions”. It is critical that you understand why you are on social media. What you do on social media affects the most important items you possess, your reputation and your potential. The goal is that others buy into your reputation so strongly that they would actually defend you online and that your potential is so celebrated and vast that what you launch or offer becomes the obvious first choice.
You can reach the previously mentioned goals by luck or happenstance, but it would be so much more beneficial if you intentionally reached the goal and learned how to repeat the process. The process starts with knowing which of the reasons social media is used. I call it “The Big 3” and believe all users fall into one of these categories. Determine which of these uses of social media aligns with you and then prioritize those reasons to suit your situation.
THE BIG 3:
- Producing Revenue: Acquiring customers and money
- Producing Change: Social Awareness, Causes, Knowledge or Advising
- Producing Connections: Creating and maintaining relationships, observing areas of interest.
Knowing which reason aligns with your goals then determines your strategy or behavior not simply via social media but ultimately online. Here is how this applies. We will say you are a grocery chain and there is a debate online over which food is best, organic or non-organic. Your primary reason for engaging in social media is determined as Producing Revenue. Your engagement in the discussion would not be to choose one side over the other, remember you do not wish to lose any potential revenue from either side. You do not wish to stay out of the engagement because of the high number of persons involved in the debate, after all, they are potential customers. So you may be wise to respond with a question/poll that asks “Why do you eat Organic?” & “ Why do you eat Non-Organic”, then follow up with “no matter why & what you eat we have you covered”. If your Primary reason is Producing change then your social media would produce posts supporting your view and you would be willing to sacrifice revenue from the side you disagree with. This demonstrates that simply posting a fixed number of times a week is so 2015. You need to post in a manner that supports your reason for being in social media. You will gain more diligent and raving fans.
The reason for being on social media now being established brings to focus optimization of your online presence. This is the critical ongoing day to day work of your social media profile and it has one goal…avoid irrelevance. You need to matter on the web. This is the phase which requires tools like Ubersuggest and Google Trends to help you determine the best terms to use in your posts. Additionally, you leverage other social media profiles and groups that have a high number of your target audience and yes you determine how many times to post in a week or day. You may choose to be a source of knowledge on your industry. You may share events and news related to your industry but you need to make sure your content is consistently relevant. Remember the work in this phase is not based on feelings or even a professional marketers advice. It is based on one thing and that is data. The data tells you when to post your relevant content for optimum engagement and conversion. It tells you where to post and predicts which posts will do well if boosted. Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed. The main reason companies and non-profits feel social media and digital marketing don’t work is because they do it with no interest in data. Results are increased tremendously by the correct use of analytics and data. This allows you to continually optimize your social media and online presence.
Finally, having determined the reason for being online and strategies for optimization you must in monetary terms decide how important this social media platform is to you. I have experienced organizations that bring in millions in profits annually with no budget for online advertising. The idea behind each post is a goal, an expected reaction, the question is can you reach that goal consistently without advertising dollars. The truth is without spending money on social media and without your content “going viral” only 6 to 12 percent of your followers see it. We can improve that number by techniques and data but we can almost guarantee a particular amount of clicks or engagement by adding paid advertising. The days of effective online media by having the talkative or tech savvy person in the office occasionally post and add numerous hashtags is over. Advertising via social media is the most cost friendly and adaptable manner of marketing ever invented. It is agile and can be adjusted easily during campaigns to increase results but it is most effective with a budget.
I do not know why you are on social media. Perhaps someone said you don’t look professional without it, or that it is not a trend. Those statements are true but if those are the only reasons you are there it will not be long before your profiles are irrelevant. Look at “The Big 3” and make a decision on your priority, then act on it. No one should ever be able to say to you or your organization, You’re on social media, but why?
Domains for only 9 dollars. Hosting, less than 10 dollars a month. Design, in cases such as WIX or Godaddy, are do it yourself. Responsive mobile websites are available with a free WordPress or Drupal template. So with prices like this everyone is making websites. Yes, I am referencing the cheapest way to get online but it is the path that many (maybe you) have taken. Why is it that with this tiny investment many still cannot experience positive ROI? Why are these apparent professional sites not attracting visitors? The answer is SEO, search engine optimization and because so many sites are on the web it is the difference between success and failure, profit and loss. Just to make it clear SEO is King.
Search engine optimization (SEO) done well is what brings people to your website. Let’s take it one more step, SEO done smart and right brings the right people to your site at the right time. There is a big difference between the two. If I sell cookies online and I write a blog on cookies, and share it on social media to my 1000 followers statistics tell me about 6-10% of that 1000 will see it. Less will read it and even less will click to buy my delicious cookies. However, by using proper SEO strategies, and coupling the effort with SEM (search engine marketing) I could use specific phrases, or pay for keywords that capitalize on buyers with intent. So words like “chocolate chip cookies for birthdays” or “special cookies for daycares” would target a specific type of customer that would only click if the phrasing spoke to their intent. So I may have fewer clicks on my blog or post but a higher percentage of clicks that I receive are looking to buy. That is a very simplified way of demonstrating SEO done smart.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the 80′s and retain some fantastic memories and even more fantastic stories (many cannot be shared here), it was indeed a time that left its mark on society.
It should not be necessary to state that somethings from the 1980′s should stay in the 80′s, or serve as only recollections. Examples are the fashions as demonstrated on this page, and the topic I wish to further explore, marketing and business practices. The decade of the 1980′s had a prevailing concept of marketing that was monolithic in nature. The goal was completely oriented to client acquisition, with little thought toward retention, or adding depth to the relationship with clients once they were acquired. In the 1980′s on the few broadcast channels we had, advertising consisted of a wonderful slogan and the effort to convince everyone in the same manner that product A was better than product B. Technology was limited and demographics to personalize or customize a message for certain groups was an afterthought. The client once acquired was only loyal to a price which meant they were not loyal to the business or enterprise at all. Luckily, in some cases that client made the decision because of quality of the product or the experience to become a long term loyalist of Product A or Product B, but it was not intentional on the part of the business.
Marketers focused on acquiring customers by developing a better marketing mix than the competition (the marketing mix is the blending of optimal product, place, promotion, and price for the targeted market segment). Using the mass media in the same way, the same basic messages were sent to everyone. Businesses with the best commercial or slogan gained market share and deservedly so. Products and their prices were developed to attract the average consumer, and distribution outlets were standardized. The focus was on developing economies of scale, where cost economies were realized through repetition, as opposed to customization. Companies focused on feeding the pipeline with even more customers, and, once prospects became customers, companies would market to them via promotions that were not personalized. The strategies used for customer retention were limited to coupons, special collector’s items (remember the glasses with cartoon characters from McDonald’s), and hoping the staff that interacted with customers was respectful and nice enough to attract customers. Your question at this point might be, What is wrong with that? It worked, it grew business and brought us to where we are today.
THE PROBLEM: What worked in the 1980′s does not work today, unless you have no competition whatsoever in your industry. This form of interaction with your customer actually makes the consumer and the business adversaries. The customer desires as much as they can get for the least amount of money, the business seeks to give as little as possible for the most amount of money. This happens because with no customer relationship in play, there is no guarantee of future sales, so each must get all they can in this one interaction. Learning customer relationship management, and applying it to your organization gives you an advantage in competing. If you are a non-profit you are competing for donors and volunteers. If you are a business you are competing for customers, the brightest employees and for a larger share of each customer’s spending. The way many of today’s small businesses & non-profits, especially religious organizations, compete is out of what was popular in the 1980′s, with a little dab of social media on the side.
Remember all revenue, all profit is from the customer. To survive, to expand you must not only acquire the customer but develop a profitable relationship with the customer. That is the basis of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and how it is done through customer relationship marketing. Via today’s software implementations and the connectivity of the web, you now can be taught what your customer wants, how they want and when they need it. No organization should currently practice one size fit’s all on most marketing. If your business model is based on margins, it is based on maximizing each transaction. Therefore you are trying to make as much profit on one transaction as possible. This attitude makes the customer a victim. If mindset switches to making less profit but on many more transactions the customer and the business benefit, and not only have we acquired a customer we retain the customer for a long term relationship. It is business 101 that acquiring a new profitable customer costs at least 3 times the amount it costs to keep your current customer. Amazon, eBay and others make it paramount to know what customers frequently by, what they last purchased and even if we are cyclical buyers. Why don’t you know this about your customers? Invest in the relationship, make it an easier process to stay with you and maintain the relationship, even if another vendor shows up with a lower price. Oh, you would like an example. let’s look at banking, in particular, online banking. You have a personal log-in that you have remembered, You have installed a mobile app on your phone, Many set-up automatic drafts and bill pay, for monthly obligations. Many provide cash back for expenditures using their cards. The average person thinks this is done for convenience, and in part it is. However, it now becomes a task to transfer all that information, learn the new password, set up new bill pays, get familiar with the new app, in short, the customer has invested in the relationship and is more likely to stay longer. It is a benefit for them to stay rather than go to another bank whose maintenance fee is a $1 Cheaper per month. Customer Relationship marketing rest on both parties receiving more from the relationship than they would in a single transaction. Your marketing endeavors must go deeper than updating the customer on what you do and have, even if you do it on social media. Customer Relationship Management is mutual, what can you do, implement, and promote that makes a client wish to form a relationship with you.
Technology, allows us to very affordably track who people are, what their habits are, and through market research determine why they purchase. This information demands you to customize your marketing efforts to small groups or individuals. It is a minimal investment and will benefit your organization greatly, if you are not marketing via technology and customizing your marketing initiatives, quite simply your marketing is from the 80′s.
Social Media, Radio, Mobile, Email Campaigns, Pay Per Click, Old Faithful TV, and the list goes on. Everyone has a sales pitch telling you they can grow your business if you just go with them. The screaming from all directions can make you just say, “Forget it!” Is that what you really want or are you one of the few, the proud, the professional, the organization who will pay, but you just want results. Do all of these mediums work, which one works best? It may be a little self-serving but the fact is most methods work, however, it takes experience and wisdom to know how to work each method and for whom, a method is optimum.
This is the reason you need a PR or Marketing firm that you can hold accountable if reasonable results are not met. Simply put, you should desire to be the best at your business, and for that you expect to grow relationships with new customers and broaden relationships with current clients. This should be your main emphasis and thrust, not figuring out which delivery platform can make your mobile site load quicker and boost SEO. Let’s take a look at the other side of the coin, as a PR, Marketing or media company our business, our emphasis is knowing those details. It is knowing that your website is ranking lower on Search engines, because your landing page is all flash, with no verbiage or captions that a google bot is recognizing. It is our thrust, to tell you based on your target demographic of 25-39, that email campaigns with links or sign up list will be more effective than radio advertising and less expensive. If you put the aforementioned screaming in a pot and boil it down, we have the ability, the obligation, to pull out the distractions and leave you with only what works. If we are really good then we can monitor the plan given to you and give you reports on how our efforts are going and if changes need to be made. That peace of mind alone is worth the price of admission. There is no need to be a “Jack of all trades & Master of None” when the masters can be leveraged for your benefit.
It is key for organizations to develop a clear, path and purpose for what they will do and will not do as well as how they will do it. Marketing and PR, may (scratch that) WILL cause engagement between your organization and more donors, or clients, but if your part doesn’t match the advertisement, the public will not be back. The next Key to consider is that going after new clients while ignoring current ones is not a strategy that will benefit you. Studies show you will spend 3x the amount pursuing new clients than you would spend to keep the current ones. Additionally, we all know people talk, and if current customers feel neglected, or taken for granted not only will they make it known, they will entertain the good talk of others about your competition. A good firm or company will grow you internally and externally. They will push you and your organization to perform at a standard that will back up the campaigns and perceptions created for your expansion. Tools of engagement are multiplying daily, performance matrix are becoming more evolved, and it will continue. Managing this arena is not something an entrepreneur running in 5 directions should do. It is also not the task for a company whose focus is not in the arena of media and advertising. Pursuing marketing professionals, for your education and expansion will cause you to arrive at one conclusion; you should have done it wholeheartedly a long time ago.