6 Goals that Should Precede Sales in your Content StrategyAnita Kirkbride
So often when I meet with small businesses in Halifax to discuss their social media goals, they tell me “sales” like there is no other reason to employ digital marketing. There are actually at least 12 social media goals I can think of and still, many people think it’s all about sales. There are many, many things you can do on social media that have nothing to do with “making sales”, but if you do them well, it will lead to sales. There’s a huge difference between asking for sales and earning them. If sales is the only goal you have for social media, you’re going to have a long road ahead of you because you very likely will have to build an audience, educate them, entertain them and gather information from them before they are going to be willing to listen to your “ad”.There's a huge difference between asking for sales and earning them on social media. Click To Tweet
Let’s start by looking at some very broad goals you could set for your social media efforts. Don’t forget that each medium can have different goals. What you do on Facebook can be very different than the goal of your blog or YouTube channel. When you’re building your content strategy, think about what goals can best be met on each network you’re engaging on.
I think this is the most common goal of social media. Every business wants more people to know about their product or service, don’t they? Brand awareness is kind of nebulous and a little more difficult to measure, but there are ways to keep track. I must have found the trick somewhere along the way because I rarely meet a person at a networking event in Halifax who hasn’t heard of Twirp Communications!
Do you have complex products that have a stiff learning curve? Are you advocating for major changes in policy, manufacturing practices, or government? Do you want to show people how your product is made? Social media is a great place to do these things because you have a variety of tools available to help, such as video, blogs, pictures, and music!
Crowdsourcing and Information
This is a great goal if you’re looking for new ideas for products. In Halifax we have a few local small businesses that are great at crowdsourcing ideas like flavour of the week, new chocolate concoctions, or naming the soccer team’s mascot.
Positioning Yourself as an Expert
This one may speak more to service providers. What are you doing in your social media efforts to make yourself the expert in your field? If this is your goal, I hope you’re not using Facebook to post jokes and snide remarks. This blog post has more ideas on what to post if your content strategy centers on becoming the expert in your field.
If you’re posting funny videos, jokes and cartoons, I hope your goal is simply to entertain your followers. This may be a great goal for a budding comedian, but it’s not likely what a real estate investment advisor wants to be doing. Some big brands are great at providing content that entertains. Need ideas? Check out Oreo, Taco Bell, or Old Spice.
Reputation Management and Customer Satisfaction
I’m going to go out on a limb here and posit that most of you still aren’t thinking about these two things as goals. Be prepared to get on these with lightning speed, however. Once you take to social media, the water on the beans can change in an instant and you may find yourself on a Saturday night telling the hoards you’re sorry about something an employee did, or answering questions about backorders, missed orders or wrong orders.
On the other hand, if you take the time to build a relationship with your fans and followers, they may take care of those negative nellys for you. I’ve seen many instances where loyal customers defend a company against negative comments on social media. The beauty and the pitfall of social media are one and the same: the ability to get direct feedback from customers. When it is good, it is very, very good. But when it is bad…
Remember, sales in and of itself is not a good content strategy goal for most businesses. You need to build trust and authority before people are going to be willing to buy products or services from you through social media. Your social media presence may even be a back up for in person interactions. Social media can’t replace all communications and sometimes we still need to meet for coffee or go into a store to feel the fabric of the couch we’re planning to buy. So, instead of building your content strategy around sales, make your goal to build relationships and awareness so that people WANT to do business with you when they are ready for your product or service.