Social Overload for Businesses
Every morning @5:15 I get up, make the kids lunches, wake the kids up let the Dog out and make a cup of coffee.
I then sit down for 45 minutes and read my social media.
Then I take the kids to school, get back around 8am and my business day starts. Emails, phone calls, sales meetings, and yes social media.
But it wasn’t always like that, at one point I was addicted to social media / email and I was checking my devices every 20 minutes, thinking I was going to miss something, or an opportunity.
That was until I did an assignment where I was a marketing coach for a company that wanted to enter into the direct selling industry. Thousands and thousands of individuals doing business to millions of people in the public space. What a great industry to be a resource to. You would think so, but it is a very complicated industry to work in, and rewarding if you can crack the code.
I’m not here to discuss that journey I had in the direct selling industry, I just want to talk about my experience with social media and the lessons we learned from working with thousands of individuals for a twelve month period, and how I realized that this is not just a area of concern in direct sales, but throughout the business community.
As I was writing this article, my understanding of the enormity of this topic became clearer, and I started to realize that this was an evolution of human nature, and will not stop evolving and we will have to learn to embrace this new form of communication and as a society we need to do better job at controlling the addiction of this electronic age, and maybe we will spend more time talking with each other, having dinner with the family and doing things that change the world for a better place.
The problem is that this new form of communication is consuming more time than the “old” traditional media formats in the past.
For example, newspapers took time to read, but it was finite, when you read the headlines, sports and stocks, and dare I say it the adverts you put the paper down, and went to work, and didn’t keep checking it every 10 minutes. The same with television, you watched scheduled shows, the evening news and went to bed.
Radio, was a little different, and I was, in the 90’s and early 2000’s deemed as a specialist, as I had been in the industry for several years, and sold hundred of thousands of airtime, and one of the tactics we used was that radio was mobile, you could be doing things while listening to the content, including adverts. Do you remember the famous R.A.B Ironing Study? (Ask me about it if you don’t! ).
So if you look at the three key media choices ( an I know there were others but I’m focusing on these. ) it was difficult to keep content in front of consumers ALL day, 24/7, so as marketers we had to be very creative and plan when, where and why we would place marketing messages.
Today, we are presented with a challenge, and that is, everyone is connected, and continually consuming content.
There lies the problem we encountered with the folks in the direct sales industry.
I would do weekly webinars, and take questions and do one on ones with individuals, and the biggest questions were:
- When should I be posting and tweeting?
- What is the best time to post?
- What should I post and tweet?
- Who should I target?
- How do I keep my sanity?
The last one I think is the key, as sometimes we are overloaded with the pressure that if we don’t tweet, post or Snapchat we will miss our window of communication with a prospect and loose a sale.
Which is actually true, based on the life of a social post ( see diagram ) and in fact the platforms are limiting the exposure of a communication, and forcing us to boost a post by paying a fee for it to reach a greater audience.
Stop. So we have to pay to get our message to a customer?
The short answer is yes, and it’s no different to how businesses had to pay for newspaper ads, television commercials, and radio spots.
The Science is how to maximize a budget, create demand, and capture an audience, and drive them to a call to action.
The first thing you need to do is stop tweeting, posting and emailing every second of the day, and put a plan in place.
Create a content calendar, and think about the topics you want to discuss and the times of year that are important to you as a business.
The next thing is to develop a customer profile, and then digitally map out where you will best find them.
Each social platform has a distinct audience, and the time of day determines when certain targets are most active.
Don’t get caught up in the fact that your customer is checking their phone or device every 20 minutes.
If you can get past that you are on your way to getting closer to social media sanity.
We found that once you have found your optimal platform, and a profile of who you need to be targeting, and you have solid, compelling call to action, you can start to work on the content.
So here are the things we found that made us successful:
- Understand the customer profile
- Research where they live ( what platform do the frequent )
- Test time of day
- Test content type
- Create a content calendar ( 12 months )
- Create an affordable monthly budget
- Place an Ad on the best performing platform to match your budget and monitor the results
- Don’t ignore the results – be flexible and adjust the message and re-launch
Social media is effective, if you use the tools to drive awareness, a call to action and capture a prospects information.
Remember, social media is one tactic and should be used as a tool to move the prospect through your sales process.
I talk a lot about the sales process in the conversations I have, and you have to have engagement tools in place to make your social media efforts pay off.
- Social media campaign
- Email introduction and call to action
- Phone Call
- Close the Sale
We as business marketer’s have to acknowledge that society in general use social to consume content, and they do it a lot, too much actually, but there is little we can do in this article to solve that – but I do have some ideas for another article in the future.
But we do need to be methodical around planning how to engage with relevant prospects, and know what we are going to do when a prospect expresses interest.