I have good news and bad news for you when it comes to your Social Media Strategy:
The Bad News – Social Media, in general, doesn’t function very well as a marketing and sales channel.
The Good News – Social Media is a great way to make things happen indirectly.
The problem that many companies have with their Social Media efforts is that they are trying to turn these personal communication tools into marketing channels, instead of understanding and accepting how their customers actually use these tools.
The companies that typically understand how their customers use these tools and craft their Social Media strategy accordingly, tend to have better results.
Here’s a couple of examples:
Orabrush – The company wanted to leverage YouTube as a channel to raise awareness for its tongue-cleaner. Now as anyone that’s spent 5 minutes on the video-sharing site knows, videos that are short and funny are wildly popular. So that’s exactly the type of videos that the company created:
“To my knowledge, there have been few, if any, products to go from no sales, online or offline, to full nationwide distribution by using YouTube videos in just two years,” said Jeff Davis, CEO of Orabrush.
Orabrush’s YouTube videos have over 46 million combined views. So the company’s strategy of creating the type of content that YouTube users want, has been wildly successful.
X-Box – The brand discovered that a lot of X-Box customers were taking to Twitter to complain about their problems with games and the console. So Microsoft created a full team of X-Box people to provide customer support for their customers that have issues with the console. The benefit to the company is it deflects calls from its call center, which is a cost-savings for the brand. But it happened because Microsoft was smart enough to understand how X-Box customers were using Twitter, and work with that behavior, not against it.
So how does this affect your Social Media Strategy?
Let’s go back to the Orabrush example. Orabrush wanted to use social media and digital content to sell its tongue cleaner. Here’s two ways they could have used YouTube to raise awareness of its products:
1 – Orabrush could have created short videos that demonstrate how to use the product. Perhaps a 30-45 second video showing someone using the tongue cleaner, then a link to the company’s website to buy the product.
2 – Orabrush could have created short videos that use humor to sell the NEED for the product.
The second approach is in line with what YouTube’s users expect from the content there. They aren’t going to YouTube to watch videos of a man scraping his tongue with a plastic utensil. They are there to watch short videos that make them laugh. Orabrush gave them that, and in the context of those videos ALSO explained what their product does, and the need for it.
A second example, what if you owned a business that sells lawncare products?
Let’s say you are wanting to use a blog to sell your products directly, and to also raise awareness for your local store as it competes against national chains like Lowes and Home Depot. One thing you could do is turn your blog into ‘brochureware’, basically making it an online circular.
Or, you could focus your blog on giving your customers content that helps them have a more beautiful lawn. Here’s some post ideas:
10 Steps to Having a Healthier Lawn by Memorial Day
Here’s How You Can Get Rid of Weeds in Your Lawn Without Damaging Your Grass
5 Common Pests That Can Wreck Havoc on Your Lawn and How to Get Rid of Them
The great thing about posts like this is that they not only provide value for your customers, but they also help establish your business’ expertise in lawn care. Which means these posts will not only do well in Google searches (because they solve specific problems customers are having), but they will also make it easier for customers to trust you, because you are teaching them how to take better care of your lawn.
So when you are crafting your Social Media and Content Strategy, think about how you can make your efforts customer-centric. Don’t try to force direct sales, but instead think about how you can create valuable content for your customers that will LEAD to sales.