With the growing use of social media, companies are looking for ways to engage with their consumers through its social channels. However, many businesses are finding it challenging to connect with its specific customer base/followers and thereby getting those connections to translate into sales. Why are companies having a hard time gaining the results they want? How can they mix things up to get the results they want? Enter our blog!

There are a few common crimes you should avoid when initiating social media for a company:

1. Thinking of social media as a standalone. It is not an island that needs to be treated differently than the rest of your marketing campaign. When you do this, different objectives are formed.

2. Making social media your entire campaign. The problem with this is that a marketing campaign needs multiple platforms working together to LOUDLY amplify the message. Relying solely on social media is a mouse squeak among a den of hungry lions. This is why companies that utilize proper marketing strategies, public relations and social media have the most success/the loudest roar.

3. Using unproven metrics of engagement. Companies have moved past tracking fans and followers and have moved to tracking their social ‘engagement’; however, engagement does not translate into sales. Tracking the conversion rate of social programs is key. An example of this issue was when Best Buy created its “Twelpforce” and encouraged employees and customers to engage on Twitter: While it allowed customers to get questions answered without going to a store and boosting its engagement numbers, it didn’t translate to sales and the company remained stagnant.

Don’t despair! There is a simple solution to make your social media campaign more successful. It is…(drumroll, please)…INTEGRATION. Integrating your social media into your marketing strategy allows social media to work with your other platforms toward the same goal.

There also needs to be an understanding that social media can enable all aspects of the Consumer Life Cycle (for those of us that don’t know-the stages are Discovery, Exploration, Purchase, and Engagement Post-Purchase). Social media can support marketing through all aspects, so let’s start by discussing how it enables Discovery: Social reach helps customers discover (see what we did there?) your product and you can create that social reach by tapping into audiences that already advocate for your company. PRIME EXAMPLE: Chili’s did this by having self-described advocates create reviews on Yelp which made Chili’s a recommended restaurant on Yelp with the amount of reviews and ratings. Another way to reach potential customers is to inspire the voices your audiences respect to influence on your behalf. Many people are and have been turning to bloggers for reviews and opinions on products or services, so having bloggers test your products and write about them enable customers to discover your company.

Next, you need to create content on social sites to assist in a customer’s Exploration. When researching a company, many customers visit the company webpage, so you should be able to easily deliver credible detail about your brand as well as customer reviews and feedback. Allowing the feedback to be displayed on the company’s website allows you to monitor the feedback consumers see. Creating a community is another great way for consumers to get advice and questions answered. Fotomoto was successful by creating a community where consumers learned how to use their products and got questions answered. Their results were astounding! Customer base increased by 300% and their order volume had a fivefold surge after this community was created.

Finally, a company (obviously) does not want to lose a customer after purchase. This means you need to continue engaging consumers even after they give you their money. You can do this through keeping customers up-to-date on what’s going on with your company by giving them more uses for their favorite products, for an example. Kraft engages their consumers on a regular basis through their “Recipes and Tips” Facebook page—Kraft AS WELL as its customers posts recipes to use for its products. Another way to engage consumers post purchase is offer exclusive content and deals for returning customers, which encourages customers to keep coming back to you.
Now go forth and integrate your Social Media into your Marketing! Or, as with most of our clients, rely on us to do so for you if you don’t have time J