Over the past few weeks I have been spending a lot of time conducting a series of Social Training sessions. One of the things that has really surprised me throughout these sessions, is peoples understanding of what Social is for.
We can break Social Media useage into three distinct camps. First there is the private user. The individual who is there to chat to friends, share embarassing pictures and generally just be sociable amongst friends. Then there are the business users. These are the individuals who share information that may be useful or important in their line of work, they network and follow others in similar industries to try to learn and expand. And finally there are the businesses. The business community is very different, and this is what I want to address. So here goes.
Social Marketing, and Social Media are a means to an end. That’s it.
So what do I mean by this? Well, social media, and social marketing are no different to their traditional counterparts in as much as they are there to do a job. Yes, maybe there is an element of talking to people and engaging people and being sociable, but the end result that we are after is still exactly the same. We want to drive people to buy from us! No matter how people argue and discusss this, this is the simple fact. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, as a business, the only reason you are getting involved in Social Media is to sell stuff.
Once people can get this and understand it, then we can move forward and suddenly there becomes an element of clarity in what we are doing. But again, there is something that many companies are missing.
So all of this social media and social strategy and getting hip looking people to write engrossing and engaging content for us is to get people to go to our website and buy things? Great, but does our website meet the expectations of the consumers, our followers?
Is there any point in having a Social Strategy if you don’t have a comparable and complimentary Web Strategy?
If your website isn’t set up to be able to manage and cope with social, then you are only going half way down the path, you are not embracing the whole social ethos. If you want to go the whole way then you need to ensure that your website continues the journey that people have started with the social interaction. Have the ability on your site to share information direct from the site, further enhancing and expanding the social media range. Try to make the online web experience match what people have already got used to in the social world.
Question for you. How many of you have heard a song, gone out to buy the album by the same artist only to discover that the rest of the album is totally different to that one song? Remember how disappointed you were?
How do you think people feel if they have got used to one form of social interaction, follow it through only to find that the online experience bears absolutely no resemblance to what they are used to?
If you are engaged in social this MUST permeate through all of your online presence. Include social on everything, email signatures, web pages, printed merchandise.
Look at your posts to see which posts give you the greatest reach and engagement. See if there are any trends with these. Then take what you have learned and use that information in all subsequent posts. If we identify what engages people and gets them talking, then creating a post using this information and including a link to our site will not only engage and start conversations, but also direct and drive more people to our site, thus increasing the likelihood of conversion.
The bottom line is that business are investing money to go social. If they are investing then they need to see a return. That return comes through sales and brand awareness. If companies are going down the route of embracing Social, they need to ensure that their entire online presence aligns with this.
As the fast food employee would say, “Social, d’you want Web with that?”
Yes please, and make mine large…… Find me on Twitter here: @Azhreicb