My favorite question – which I get fairly often – is, “Does social media marketing really work better than traditional marketing?” I have so many answers, I’m thinking of buying a file cabinet (or larger hard drive) just to hold them all.
Just to give you the quick version, here are 17 ways social media marketing beats the old-fashioned kind:
1. It’s immediate. One click takes your customer – or prospect, or fan – from passive viewer to active participant.
2. It’s far easier to share.
3. Your audience can join in. They can comment, or play a game, or enter a contest, or whatever else you dream up.
4. Conversion opportunities abound. Remember #1… at almost any point, you have the potential to transform a fan into a buyer.
5. Less selling, more serving = more revenues for less cost.
6. What? You need a bit more explanation on #5? No problem. Social media is about serving first, and selling second. That’s because people share useful content, and the more they share, the more you sell. But if you start with a blatant sales pitch – like many traditional marketers used to do, you get the results they see today: blah.
7. Build more trust. The more open and helpful you are, the more responsive people are. It’s hard to be open in a TV or magazine ad.
8. Recommendations work better on social media. Less friction = more results.
9. Learning opportunities abound. Every social interaction is a learning moment if you track and use the data properly. Who shared? What did they share? What did they like? What happened next? How many useful ideas did your customers generate? There are dozens of lessons you can gather.
10. Talk with customers, instead of at them. Social media makes it easier and more efficient to learn from your customers.
11. Listen better. #10 was about a conversation… but you can also learn by simply observing how people react to your content, offers, and products.
12. Web traffic beats road traffic. The cost of in-person interactions dwarfs web interactions, for both your customers as well as your brand.
13. Get found, faster. The more active your brand is on social media, the easier it is for new customer and opportunities to find you. It can be very difficult to drive online results with just offline promotion.
14. Foster loyalty. The more you share on social media, the more convenient it is for customers to be loyal to your company. Whenever they need something, it is just a click away.
15. Test, test, test. Want to test creative approaches? How about a new product idea? Prices? All these tests and more are faster and cheaper on social media.
16. Demonstrate credibility. Social interactions – such as a Facebook share or a tweet – make it obvious when others interact with your company. So, for example, you can engage influencers and allow others to witness their affinity for your offerings.
17. Do a little undercover work. Having an active social media presence also makes it easier for you to watch what your competition is doing. This, in turn, allows your brand to react faster… or to simply leapfrog them.