Up until the introduction of cloud technologies, social media was arguably the biggest and best thing to come from the Internet’s early years. The idea that businesses could connect to anyone anywhere on the globe, and share information those people might otherwise have never been exposed to, completely changed the marketing industry. Today, over 50% of businesses worldwide leverage social media in some way to promote their products and services. This article takes a look at three ways social media can help add focus to and enhance any marketing mix:
Add more steps to your sales funnel
If you’ve ever looked into the psychology of sales, you’ll have come across the ‘sales funnel’. A marketer from the last century, Elias Lewis, figured out that you could turn strangers into customers by guiding them through four phases, or down a funnel. These phases are Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA). The potential customer is drawn to the product by an advert (attention), they want to learn more (interest), they feel it will improve their lives so they start wanting it (desire), and finally they make a purchase decision (action).
Social media enhances this process by adding in more steps. After grabbing a customer’s attention with a well-crafted social media post, they might become interested and want to learn more. Social media adds an evaluation stage between the interest and desire stages, where a potential client will compare the product or service to the brand’s competitors. They might even reach out to the brand’s customers, or their competitors, via social media to gain more information regarding quality, pricing, and after-sales service. The most important addition to the sales funnel, however, is advocacy. This is when satisfied customers promote a brand by sharing their experiences with their social media network.
Leverage your access to test subjects
Whether it’s for movie plots, reality television shows, video games or marketing campaigns, pilot studies can be the difference between sterling success and dismal failure. Pilot studies involve showing a sample of a product to a panel of individuals. These people are usually from the brand’s target audience. The idea is to gauge audience interest in the product by exposing them to it and asking for open, honest feedback. These pilot studies usually cost a fair sum, and can only be facilitated through contacting a marketing or advertising agency who has the means to set them up.
Social media has changed the way brands or marketing agencies conduct pilot studies. Instead of calling in a group of people to a location where the pilot study will take place, it can be done on social media and without study respondents having to leave the comfort of their couches or desk chairs. For example, a brand with an existing social media following can use polls to ask their fans to vote on new product names, services, package designs, promotional graphics, business cards, and other marketing collateral before they go live.
Use competitor listening to improve
Brands have been looking in on each other’s activities since the dawn of commerce. Corporate spying sounds like the stuff of James Bond movies, but it’s actually a very common practice. In a post-modern world, competition is driven by brands taking action and competitor brands replicating those actions in a way that does not infringe on intellectual property rights. By keeping an eye on what the competitors are doing, companies can stay relevant and keep up with the most up-to-date trends and technologies in the industry (if they aren’t pioneering these themselves).
Today, social media is a free competitor listening tool used by countless marketers across the globe. While a brand’s competitors might not post sensitive company information on social accounts, they do use it to promote marketing collateral. By monitoring the reactions people have to a competitor’s marketing campaigns, you can gauge what is hot and what is not in your industry at that time, and get a better idea as to the type of content you need to be sharing.