Many of the people that have been bitten by the social media marketing bug are hesitant when they hear words like direct marketing, lead generation and sales in the context of social networks, communities, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and tutti quanti.
We are often told that we should first focus on the people and on the "soft-sell" when it comes to social media marketing. That the focus in marketing should be centred around people is not an insight from social media marketing. People should form the centre in every form of marketing. The social phenomenon has fortunately made companies more aware about that fact.
All marketing is aimed at the creation of value for the company and the (future) client, at customer satisfaction and finally at sales.
Direct sales by generating and nurturing leads and even by using promotions on the one hand and indirect sales by increasing customer satisfaction and identifying and even creating brand advocates.
Having satisfied customers is one of the fastest, cheapest and best ways to increase the EBITDA and turnover. Every happy client brings along a new client and purchases more and every brand fan is a blessing for the margin and the word-of-mouth surrounding your products or services.
Obviously this isn't earned that easily and themes like community, sharing, creating value and participation are crucial. Brand advocates, as with satisfied customers, are only acquired if your company is entirely at king client's service, irrespective of the channel.
Themes like ROI, conversion and sales and direct marketing, are essential in social media marketing as well. Not a single well-minded CEO will celebrate when hearing how many fans you have on Facebook.
He will however celebrate when he hears about the impact on his bottom-line or when he realizes that, since participating in social media marketing, the brand reputation has clearly improved, more people are directed to the website and the pipeline is better filled. And once he notices that your actions on Facebook and Twitter are contributing to that, he will be interested.
He will celebrate even more when he realizes that, due to the smart integrated and cross-channel content marketing and social media marketing strategy, the cost-per-lead has reduced and that there is more up-selling and cross-selling.
Does this mean that all social media marketing rules and terms such as commitment, conversations etc. are not important? No! It does however mean that the time has come to place all of this in perspective.
And that is clearly being done. Conversion, ROI and sales are addressed increasingly more.
Brian Solis posted an article last week on his blog with the telling title "Opportunity Clicks: Social Media and Converting Clicks into Action". Central theme: we have to launch a "call to action" in our "new media" and the science of conversion is very suitable for this. Solis even refers to Brian Massey, one of the most famous conversion marketing specialists in the world. And what plays a crucial role in this? Data!
'Social commerce' also increasingly gets more often discussed. The topic is hotter than anything else. Everyone is talking about it. There are various definitions and approximations of the theme (one being more careful and more oriented on the "soft sell" than the other) but the trend is clear. In the end we will no longer talk about social commerce, but about sale and lead generation and the social media phenomenon will take its place in this.
The B2B marketing benchmark and social media marketing reports by MarketingSherpa, still an authority when it comes down to effective use of digital marketing methods and tactics and marketing evolutions and trends, leave nothing to the imagination: inbound marketing, headed by social media marketing and content marketing, are not only specifically efficient for generating leads, filling the pipeline and acquiring new clients, both in B2B and B2C: marketers are also making ever more use of this.
Why? They reduce the cost per lead, provide new clients, improve the brand reputation, increase client satisfaction and provide, via word-of-mouth, a filled funnel and better margins.
Does this mean that outbound is no longer important? On the contrary: as said before, this is about a smart cross-channel dosage in with the customer at the centre of your marketing universe.
You'll sell more if you have that integrated interactive marketing approach.
The hottest topic in marketing and communication is without any
doubt social media marketing.
Although many businesses are still testing the waters, many others have successfully integrated social media in their marketing mix.
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