Is Being “Liked” Worth the Effort?
Last week, I met up with one of my clients to talk about some upcoming projects, and the discussion quickly turned to social media — more specifically, Facebook. She didn’t quite understand how to use the platform to convert consumers into customers. In fact, not a single one of her current clients had come to her through this channel.
I assured her that she was not alone.
Rethink the Return on Social
Conversion isn’t the main benefit of social channels. It’s engagement. If you think being “liked” — or “followed,” for that matter — will directly translate into sales, your efforts won’t provide the returns you’re expecting.
Take Coca Cola, for example. The brand has one of the largest followings on Facebook, with roughly 61.5 million fans. Yet social buzz didn’t provide a statistically significant bump in its short-term sales, affecting it by only 0.01%.
We can all probably agree that this just won’t cut it for a small business, especially with a fan base of a few thousand.
Now, I’m not saying go abandon your accounts on social channels. They can help increase your online presence. But amassing thousands of fans isn’t the same as converting consumers into customers.
Social Supports Other Efforts
Instead of trying to convert with social media, use these channels to support your other marketing efforts.
In my experience, social platforms are best suited for:
- Retaining current customers. Your presence on social media channels keeps your name in the minds of your customer base. You also have the opportunity to interact with them on a regular basis, supporting the sales process.
- Providing customer service. Consumers already use social platforms to talk about brands — both positively and negatively. If someone has a complaint about one of your products or services, use the channel to help resolve the problem.
- Humanizing your brand. Being social on social channels allows you to show off your personality. You become more relatable, humanizing your brand. Remember, people do business with people, not companies.
- Adding value to your brand. Whether providing information or anecdotes, social media can add value to the customer experience with your brand. This is especially true when you ask for nothing in return.
Social media is meant to be social. Once you get rid of the social aspect, it just becomes media, and that’s not why users frequent these types of channels.