There was a time when traditional marketing strategies like print media, direct mail, TV, radio and brochures were the only lead management tools available. However, these outdated strategies no longer apply to today’s tech-savvy and always-connected consumers, ones who rely upon social media in order to become real-time, proactive participants in defining a brand’s relevance.
Success with social media isn’t merely a case of being present. It’s not just about being available and accessible. Instead, it’s about leveraging social media and relying upon it as a renewable source of low-cost leads. For consumer markets, this ultimately means having a presence on well-known and well-established social websites like Facebook. However, for business markets, LinkedIn is best solution available as there is no other online social platform that gathers so many high-level decision makers, engineers, designers and C-level contacts the way LinkedIn does.
Social media is unlike any other marketing media in existence. Companies rely upon it to increase their marketing return on investment (ROI) by identifying and leveraging brand champions, reducing their costs of leads, and most importantly, reducing their costs of retaining customers. So, how can social media accomplish all these things and why should you rely upon it as a means of building long-term customer relationships?
Today’s consumer is constantly on the go and always updating their social media status. Their favorite brands are apps on their smartphones. They use social media to advise friends, acquaintances, and coworkers of where they are, where they’re going and how they’ll get there.
Over 50% of people in the United States have at least one social media account and 93% of Americans think companies should have a social media presence. It’s a platform today’s customers rely upon and it’s the surest way to interact with your market.
2) The Ideal Lead Generation Strategy
Think about how costly those aforementioned outbound marketing strategies were. Companies were never 100% sure where leads came from. They could never accurately define their costs of leads. It was a numbers game and an expensive one at that. Companies relied upon a high volume of expensive strategies in the hopes that combining these haphazard approaches would eventually produce results.
Social media is a more exacting and scientific way of generating leads. You’ll know exactly where leads come from, what motivated them to act and what platform works best. Better yet, you’ll be easily-accessible and constantly available to a customer base looking for solutions.
3. Less-Intrusive Sales Strategy
Cold calling has and will always be intrusive. It’s a cumbersome strategy where salespeople call companies they don’t know and have no history with. The job is made even more difficult when they offer a solution the customer sees as too good to be true.
Social media removes this irritation entirely. The best companies provide free downloads, discounts and rebates as a means of securing customer contact details. Referrals are much easier to secure and customers aren’t put on the defensive when they get that initial call. In fact, they expect to hear from you because they’re pre-qualified themselves. LinkedIn is excellent at generating high-quality business leads as the platform allows you to create a customized company page complete with your banner and three separate sections defining your history, products and services and contact details.
4) A Stronger Value Proposition
Companies fail with their value proposition when they assume what that value is and how they’re perceived in their market. However, social media is the ultimate voice of customer (VOC) data tool. It provides you with time-critical feedback and invaluable insight into how your customers see your company and its value. Customers want to provide feedback and they expect feedback. Social media is their platform of choice and the surest way for you to connect to your target audience.
5) Stronger Customer Engagement
Simply put, an engaged customer is a great customer. Social media allows you to directly engage your customers. There are no gatekeepers, no channels to navigate and no middleman to work around. You’re can access your marketplace and incentivize your customers to act in a way no medium can match.
With social media, you build a following and then use your customer’s feedback and input to upgrade your product and services and improve your brand. This is what it means when companies talk about taking their customer relationships to the next level.
Your focus moving forward must be to define what social media website your customers prefer and how to go about reaching them through that platform. However, don’t limit yourself to the most obvious social media websites. In fact, social media can include online magazines, professional forums, blogs, video websites, RSS feeds, and professional social websites like our aforementioned LinkedIn example. Start by identifying your target audience and the rest should follow.
This is the first of a series of articles focused on social media optimization and how companies need to leverage the platform to reach today’s customers.
For more information on social media management or if you are looking for someone to handle your social media strategy for you, please contact us today.