Recently, I was chatting to a client who we had “super-charged” their LinkedIn profile page. The recommendations are now flowing in and the client’s profile page resembles a living, breathing professional rather than a dormant online mystery person that may or may not be alive. While these results are fantastic – the question remained from the client “but how will that relate to more sales?”
This is the question on most small business owners lips. So let’s get our facts straight.
The long and the short.
The article essentially reminds us that social media is not a direct attribute to sales. Social media is in fact: a brand builder. To get results from social, business owners need to follow the three primary steps of brand building:
- Consistency: Consistently communicate your brand promise in every interaction with your audience. Remember, brand confusion is the number one brand killer.
- Persistence: Communicate your brand promise continually and always meet audience expectations based on their perceptions of your brand.
- Restraint: Never pursue opportunities that don’t effectively support your brand promise or your audience’s perceptions of your brand and expectations for it.
Unfortunately, these three core brand building steps are often ignored or forgotten in social media marketing.
The 7 P’s of Social Media Marketing for Brand Building
Once you have your foundation in place the article then takes it to the next level: The seven P’s of social media marketing success. Note: the three primary steps of brand building tie into each of the seven P’s of social media marketing.
Consumers build brands, not companies. You must develop your brand reputation and persona, and consistently meet your audience’s expectations in order to create the right perceptions. Follow the Pareto Principle and make sure at least 80% of your social media content, conversations, and activities are useful and meaningful to your target audience while no more than 20% is self-promotional. That’s 80:20 guys. No more, no less.
Extend your brand reach and social media influence by focusing your efforts on your target audience. Avoid activities that could negatively affect the social perception of your brand. The dinner party conversation etiquette comes in handy here: no politics, money or religion.
Don’t give up. You must persistently publish useful and meaningful content and conversations so your target audience can obtain true social value from your brand. You are like a dog with a bone. DON’T GIVE UP!
Quality content and conversations trump quantity. Write amazing, shareable content to develop trust with your target audience, back up your claims, and establish authority. The proof is clearly in the pudding. Well in this case the audience engagement.
It’s true that quality trumps quantity, but quantity still matters. Ensure your brand is visible by publishing content and conversations frequently. That means: regularly. Often. Religiously. Reoccurring. Habitually. Capish?
Stand out by appearing in the right places to get in front of the right audiences. Identify where your target audience spends time online, and join the conversation on those sites. So if your audience are tradies in the Sutherland Shire, why-oh-why are you on Pinterest?
Social media power comes from the collective strength of all of the previous social media marketing P’s. Together, all of these elements drive your brand success over time, and it’s the type of momentum that drives ongoing results.
So back to the client…
Getting back to the original question: how can social media marketing increase my sales?
Take the 3 brand building steps and the 7 Ps of social media into consideration. Then ask yourself – do I meet all of these? Honestly? If your answer is no – get cracking on the above. And remember it’s not a fad diet or a fast fix – it’s a long term commitment.
If you honestly have tried and tested the above and are six months in and still aren’t getting the cut through consider this:
Your customers go on a buying journey. What types of products or services your business sells determines the length of that journey. Regardless of the journey, generally your customers require 8-10 “touches” or interactions with your brand before they buy. A certain touch may bring higher value, for example a referral from a friend might speed the process by 4 touches.
In any case, a customer may be following you on Facebook, may receive your monthly newsletter, seen you at an event, be a subscriber to your monthly blog and a few months down the track they may have a need that you can fulfill. Then and only then will the power of all that ground work come to fruition.
See you next week