The latest on how to build awareness and activity on social media was presented by Facebook at a tech conference recently. Motivating action using social media really comes down to a multitude of activities you need to make happen. This is the basis for a social media strategy.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, put it into perspective in a speech at the dmexco tech conference in Germany. She stated:
“The marketing funnel itself is collapsing. It used to take time to go from research to discovery to awareness all the way to purchase. But now you have digital and mobile that is happening faster than ever, and that is for the largest brands to the small corner shop to non-profits.”
Ideally, making an immediate sale or getting a donation may be your desired effect, Consider the fact that social media has become a larger platform for promoting your brand and communicating who you are… as well as completing a sale.
Sometimes the objective is to cause a viewer to PAUSE, STOP and THINK.
Getting noticed and remembered is often the greatest challenge marketers face when using social media as the new marketing funnel.
Facebook has achieved 89% usage among US internet users, followed by Instagram that came in second, with only 32% US market penetration. Three quarters of facebook users, and half of instagram users, visit the platforms daily. That’s a lot of eyeballs to potentially attract to your brand. As you scroll through your facebook feed, what causes you to take notice?
Using The 80/20 Social Media Rule To Build Communities
Early on, when many friends began pushing their products and services on our facebook feeds everyday, it became obnoxious. Wise advisers informed us that 20% of a business’s posts should be about product sales, the rest should be about something else.
Now that 65% of of US residents use social media regularly, with 90% of young adults using the medium daily, promoting your brand message on social channels is as important as making a sale.
Sandberg, in her speech, stressed that brands grow using social media marketing by:
- Focusing on their mission
- Building Communities
- Engaging those communities, for the long-term
Building communities is hard, and it requires building trust. Trust is defined as the reliance on the character, ability or strength of someone or something. It’s a virtue that does not come easy. In today’s interconnected world, simply presenting a fascinating image or producing a brand video is not enough.
The social media marketing plan of today’s savvy marketer considers the combination of product, content and influence. To overcome the sophistication of ad blockers, marketers are turning to bloggers, vloggers, thought leaders and influencers to deliver their content.
Collapsing The Marketing Funnel
A 2015 Nielsen Global Report on Advertising study indicated that 85% of worldwide consumers will take action based on the the reviews and recommendations of trusted sources above all other forms of advertising.
Building upon the trust created by established influencer communities has become the most effective form of online marketing.
What is social media marketing in the new world of connecting content with people and their communities? Engagement is the answer. Useful, relevant content is welcome engagement material.
Consider we all love to learn, preferably in under 5 minutes. Titles that promise to teach us something interesting are the quickest to go viral. Other ways to engage readers are tapping into:
- Social Currency
- Improving our lives by providing Useful information
Creating content that educates, moves us, triggers us or builds up our esteem gets consumers to hit the pause button on their facebook feed.
Add to the above attention grabbing features to involve people with your brand. Consider using surveys, engaging readers by asking questions, getting feedback, or rewarding them with sales promotional items for their time.
Combining engaging content starters with research questions engages communities in discovering the benefits of your brand.
Creating greater awareness as you interact, teach and provide useful information builds trust.
Once you have established the relationship your efforts then provides the opportunity to ask for a purchase action.
Using Infographics – has become a successful way to teach and engage, We all love to read. Reading quickly, while looking at pretty pictures with a few descriptive words, is preferred by everyone.
I always believed involved and detailed infographics are preferable. Marketers are finding out the more basic infographics, with 3 to 5 elements, work better! The more on-point and useful the information, the easier it is for the reader to distill and learn from.
Interactive Content combined with social currency – turning a post into a test or contest attracts considerable attention. Providing a scale showing how the participant compared with others gets more people involved.
Ever wonder why LinkedIn shows you how many people are looking at your profile and how your posts compare with others in your circle. We all love numbers that show us how smart and/or popular we are, and with LinkedIn it gives us an urgent reason to return.
Use Video to share an emotional story – In a recent post I wrote about Social Responsibility, three powerful videos demonstrating a dire situation that was markedly changed once the sponsoring company got involved were shared.
A memorable example is the video Starbucks produced about sustainable farming and improving the lives of coffee farmers a world away. Personally the video makes me feel good when I meet with a client at Starbucks over a ‘rich” cup of sustainable coffee.
Offer an incentive – Everyone loves a deal. Here’s where sales promotion techniques come in to motivate purchase action. As you develop your brand relationship with communities, offer them a reward for being a loyal follower.
A promocode discount around the holidays, a mobile coupon to promote trial, a promotional product as a thank you for a donation is appreciated, as you continue to establish a relationship and build trust.
Once you build influencer connections and grow your own communities, your social media content calendar should focus on building a relationship through sharing ideas, telling emotionally moving stories, creating personal interactions, connecting readers with each other and promoting sales.
Social Media marketing may seem to be a long and arduous road. It has been shown that building trust and a loyal community can take up to 3 years, or more. Working together, with interconnected communities that share your brand values, will be a win/win for all in our rapidly changing media environment.