Excuse Me, Social Media Marketing is Lead Nurturing, NOT Lead Generation.
Have you heard?
The “new” thing now in the world of internet marketing is this thing called “social media marketing”.
Unless you live with your head in the ground, you’ve heard of them… Facebook, Twitter, Youtube…
If you read a lot of blogs on lead generation and online marketing, you’ll notice a lot of people talking about how you should utilize social media to generate leads.
I know what you’re thinking…
Free traffic and of course.. FREE LEADS!
Keep on dreaming.
Let me explain why.
Social Media = Cafe
See, being inside social networks (Facebook and Twitter) is equivalent to being inside a cafe.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of conversations going on… you with your friends, your friends with their friends, etc.
If someone approaches you to, say buy a 401k retirement plan, would you?
Nope, you’ll just feel like you’re being panhandled, and to be frank, it is irrelevant and quite annoying.
When you go to a social spot, you’re going there to.. well.. socialize.
When was the last time you went to Facebook or Twitter to look for a digital camera to buy?
That’s right, never.
In another words, no commercial intent.
So is there NO hope for using social media as a way to increase sales for your company?
Yes, there is, but not the way most people are thinking it.
Pros of Social Media Marketing
1) Form of lead nurture / re-targeting
Due to the nature of status updates, content sharing, etc, social media is very similar to email marketing.
In another words, you can follow up.. and your fans/followers (i.e. leads, potential customers) know that you exist and that you’re a real human being engaging them in HUMAN conversation.
2) Your message can go viral more easily
Social networks are ALL about sharing, liking, re-tweeting, re-pinning, etc.
What does this mean?
The chance of your message (blog post, promotional video, whitepaper download, etc.) going viral is a LOT higher than, say, email marketing because that’s required is a simple click.
Going back to that example of trying to sell a $50k product in a cafe…
Remember, they have NO intent to purchase right there and then, but they might be open to getting a referral to someone if they happen to be looking for something you sell, right?
Same principal: online virality is equivalent to offline referral.
3) Search engines
If you’re doing search engine optimization to generate leads (which is dead & pointless by the way), posting your content on social media marketing can be an effective way to telling search engines about your content.
Search engines these days are getting smarter, and they want content written by REAL people.
Being on the front page of search engine means guaranteed traffic… which can mean guaranteed business.
So over the years, a LOT of people have tried to game the system with low quality articles, spammy links, or anything considered “crap”.
When people search and they find crappy content, people start thinking that the search engine sucks.. and the search engines start losing searchers, which means they lose revenue from advertising.
So it is in the best interest of search engines to promote content written by REAL people.. and what better way to filter for real people other than social networks where you prominently have a friend count, personal bio, etc.?
In another words, social media post = search engine love for the content that you’ve written.
Cons of Social Media Marketing
1) No personalization
Unlike email marketing where you can segment people by roles, location, age, interest, category, where in your sales process they are, social media updates are like TV broadcasts.
Everyone gets the same message.
Everyone sees the same update.
You can’t have custom tailored messages to each and everyone like you can with email marketing.
2) Time consuming
Social media is a TWO way conversation.
In another words, you have to CONVERSE. Talk AND listen.
This is on TOP of having to create content on regular basis.
You can EASILY spend 20-40 hours a week, doing nothing but Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.
In another words, unless you have a full time person dedicated to doing this… there’s not enough time in a day to accomplish everything.
If you are strapped for time running your business, this is going to be a challenge.
(In that case, partner with a lead generation company like Solar One Media to generate and nurture leads.)
3) Competition for feed space
This is something that NO one talks about: feed for feed space.
In certain “status” based social networks like Facebook, people follow multiple companies, organizations, celebrities, and of course, friends.
But to show EVERYTHING on the news feed (i.e. what people are doing) on the front page when you login would be equivalent to opening your mouth wide open underneath the Niagara Falls to get a drink of water.
In another words, TOO MUCH.
To avoid “fatigue”, these social networks will throttle the updates to show the most socially relevant updates.
In another words, if the social network decides that you are not socially relevant, your status update will not show.
So theoretically speaking, every time I post, more or less 29k people should see my post right?
Pets and babies are what i call “emotional magnets”: who doesn’t like seeing cute puppies and adorable babies?
Even with the emotional factors, PawshPal status updates get seen by only a FRACTION of the fans.
Why? Several reasons
1. Some unsubscribe from your status updates (due to annoyance, irrelevance, etc.), but they are still your fans
2. Your fans friends and other companies/pages they’ve liked are trying to do their own status updates, which competes for their feed space
3. Some people just don’t login frequently enough to see your posts in time
Social media is a way to NURTURE your leads.. not the most effective, but still cheap and somewhat useful in getting exposure to your message.
For effective lead generation, stick to good old advertising and media buying (or work with a lead generation partner).
For effective lead nurturing, stick to good old email marketing.