I kind of like the phrase “the social media net.” I doubt that I actually coined it, but I can’t think of exactly where I may have first heard it. Regardless, a net is one of the things that comes to mind when I think of social media marketing – a “fishing” net, not an “Inter” net.
As I’ve said many times before (I do understand that I may not have said it to you, but I have said it a lot to somebody) bad marketing is bad. Unfortunately, I see a lot of bad marketing, especially where social media is concerned. That is understandable. Social media is relatively new, and it changes so rapidly that it’s not easy gain a solid understanding of it before it changes again.
The single biggest mistake I see regarding social media, is in thinking that social media is an end in itself; not really understanding its value and what it can and will do for your company.
First, it’s important to understand that every company has a storefront, either physically or metaphorically. These days, many companies have more than one storefront. If customers come in to your building, that building is a store front of yours. If you have a website and that website is how people buy things from you, that website is a storefront. If people call you to buy, the phone is your store front. Whatever method customers use to buy from you is a storefront.
If you’re a non-profit, and you solicit donations or volunteers, whatever method people use to donate or sign up to volunteer is a storefront for you. Whatever your organization is, think of what it does with the outside world, and how it makes those interactions. That will be your storefront(s).
As a marketing person, your job is to find the right people – those that need what you have to offer and can afford it – and bring them to your storefront. That’s when sales takes over and helps the customer decide if your product is the right one.
That last paragraph contains the critical piece of information that many people miss when using social media in their business. I see a lot of marketeers working really hard to get people to their social media site, which is okay if you follow through and get them to your storefront. They don’t follow through.
They don’t take all of those people on their social media sites and then move them to a storefront. It might be really fun to have a million people visiting your Facebook page or YouTube videos, but it doesn’t help your business if they don’t end up at some place where they can buy from you..
Getting people to Facebook as an end can work for Coca Cola and Taco Bell, because their storefronts are all over the place. You don’t have that luxury. You don’t have your product on the shelf of every grocery store, convenience store and fast food place. If you do, you probably aren’t the engineer entrepreneur that I’m writing this for, so you can stop reading, run to Taco Bell and have a taco and a soda.
Your primary objective needs to be to collect people that are out on social media, and get them to your storefront – most likely that is your website. Think of the social media sites as nets and your website is your fishing boat. (see, I did get back to the metaphor) You’re dragging those nets and pulling the fish into your boat.
A strategy to get people to your Facebook page or Twitter feed is an awesome thing to do. But you also need a strategy for getting them from Facebook and Twitter to your website. If you forget that second part, you’re wasting a lot of time and opportunity.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put your “follow me” social media links on your website. Doing that helps to bring them back you your storefront after they’ve come and gone. Just remember that’s secondary.
People spend a lot of time on social media. Your marketing objective is to find the people that need what you have and get them to your storefront. They are out there. Cast your net. Use social media to filter out the ones that don’t need what you have and filter in the people that do need what you have. Then get them to your storefront.