As social media matures, it’s no longer a test outside of your budget. Adding to this pressure, social media conversion rates are low relative to other marketing strategies. Therefore you must coordinate and integrate social media marketing into your overall marketing plans to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
To get your 2013 marketing plans on track to increase revenues, here are seven social media tactics based on solid research that you need now. (BTW, use these charts to persuade your management team!)
- Leverage the power of social connections. Consumers are more likely to respond to recommendations from their friends than social media ads. The recommendation has the unstated endorsement.Actionable marketing tip: Encourage customers to share your information on social media venues. Additionally, use social media advertising to target your audience and to send them to your page rather than off of the social media site.
- Think beyond Facebook for social media. While Facebook is too large to ignore as a marketing platform, it’s not as effective as other social media options for converting to sales. Specifically, research by Shop.org, comScore, and The Partnering Group found that 70 percent of consumers click through on a retail blog to the firm’s website and 68 percent of consumers use YouTube to browse and research products. Further, consumers follow more brands on social media platforms other than Facebook.Actionable marketing tip: Build owned media in the form of a blog and video. Then distribute this content on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter in addition to social sharing.
- Be device indifferent to maximize reach. Performics and ROI Research found that consumers use a variety of connected devices to access social media. Interestingly, they didn’t include televisions.Actionable marketing tip: At a minimum, have a mobile strategy to ensure that consumers can access your site from your social media location regardless of whether they’re using a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
- Show your emotional side to increase virality. Wharton professors Jonah Berger and Katherine L. Milkman in an article entitled, “What Makes Online Content Viral?” from the Journal of Marketing Research found that positive, emotional, and/or surprising, useful information increases social transmission. Actionable marketing tip: Create remarkable content to enhance the chances for engagement and social sharing.
- Skip promotional-speak to build customer trust. Face it, your customers are savvy and can smell an ad a mile away. Even worse, they don’t trust your ads. They trust and seek content in a variety of formats.Actionable marketing tip: Develop useful content shoppers seek before they purchase. Answer their questions, show them how to use your products, and provide customer reviews.
- Socialize inside the square with photos. Photographs are audience magnets. Images attract attention and pull your audience in.Actionable marketing tip: Create an integrated content strategy around photographs using Facebook, Pinterest, and/or Instagram.
- Continue customer relationships initiated on social media with email. The reality is that social media has low conversion rates relative to email, according to Monetate. Going from social media engagement to “Buy Now” isn’t effective.Actionable marketing tip: Build an email house file to continue the dialogue with prospects and then convert them.
To improve your marketing results from your social media strategies, start by acknowledging that consumers are active on social media venues to socialize. Then leverage the power of social media to engage with prospects, customers, and the public to build trust and continue your relationships on email and other owned media where you can convert them to sales.
What other social media-related research are you using to build your 2013 marketing plans and why?
Editor’s note: This column was originally published on August 20, 2012, and was the seventh most popular column of the year on ClickZ in 2012. Over the final two weeks of the year, we’ve celebrated the Best of 2012 by revisiting our most popular columns, as determined by our readers. We hope you have enjoyed this look back!