Old social media strategy is new again

With Facebook’s recent algorithm update that favors news from friends over organic updates from brand pages, the unpaid reach of brands has been hit yet again. We are in a place where social networking has returned to being a useful tool for keeping in touch with friends and family. As marketers, the easy button days are over.

Social strategy now looks like one of two basic models. First, there’s the broadcast model: pay money to spread your updates. This is an advertising and broadcast model, and it looks very familiar to anyone whose media background is television or radio. You pay your money, you get your distribution. It’s easy, it’s clean, and it’s well understood. It also works no matter what quality of content you have, at least in terms of getting eyeballs. For brands with average or good but not great content and financial means, this is going to be the default choice.

Second, the friends and family model. If you are a brand that has a strong base of fanatically loyal customers, those individuals can still share things at scale that will be seen by their friends and by their friends in a ripple effect. This is no different than any other word-of-mouth strategy that you’ve used in off-line word-of-mouth or influencer strategy. The goal in the friends and family model is the activation of as many friends as possible on behalf of your brand. Particularly for small businesses with loyal followings, this will be the default choice.

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The model that is truly dead, and has been for quite some time, is the build it and they will come. Those days are over.

Whether we like it or not, this is the state of social media today. We can broadcast and pay for reach, which is good if we don’t have insanely great product, service, or loyalty. Or we can cultivate and nurture our most rabid fans. Either strategy will work; it’s just a question of which is the better fit for your brand and the resources you have. 


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Does a daily social media ask help to sell more?

One of the social media marketing tactics that I’d always been opposed to in the past is high frequency repetition of an offer on social media. I made the assumption in years past that your audience was relatively static, and peppering them with offer after offer would eventually make them flee.

Then the era of social media churn began, wherein your audience comes and goes. On top of that, algorithms changed, and you could no longer count on your social content being seen simply because you posted it. Suddenly, it was no longer guaranteed that even a majority of your audience knew about a one-time offer post.

I began a test on March 11, 2015 to do a daily social promotion. My usual schedule of 5 items of note remained the same; the social offer was simply tacked on later in the day.

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Because I have 3 books for sale, I was able to present a new offer every day, repeating only every 4th day.

Other important things to note were that I wasn’t running any other promotions concurrently. My cadence of other posts and my weekly newsletter did not change. As best as possible, testing conditions were held stable and normal for the duration of the period.

What have the results been? Here are my sales numbers:

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To say the least, worthwhile. In the chart above, the blue bars represent daily sales of all books. The red line is a 14 day moving average of book sales. By incorporating a daily social media ask, it’s brought my 14 day sales average as high as it was during the initial launch.

Does this mean you should adopt a daily ask? As with all things, you have to test for yourself. Try it out, see if you generate similar, better, or worse results. Keep what works, leave behind what doesn’t work.


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Selling social media to a sales-driven company

Jonathan Chiriboga asked:

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The answer to this question is contingent upon your analytical skills. My tool of choice to prove the value of social media to lead generation and sales-focused people is Google Analytics.

In order to make this determination, goals and goal values in Google Analytics must be set up first. Once you’ve got goals and goal values, go into Google Analytics and find the Conversions menu on the left hand side:

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Once you’ve found the section called Assisted Conversions and clicked on the item mult-channel funnels, you should see a screen that looks like this (assuming that you have goals and goal values operational):

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What we see above is that social media has driven real revenue. In this particular case, since this is my personal website, Google Analytics is measuring eCommerce activity from book purchases. Social media drove 44 last touch purchases (meaning a social network post was the last thing someone did before buying) worth $142.53. Social also drove 24 assisted purchases (meaning that the social network post was part of the value chain but not the last thing someone did before buying) worth $77.70. Combined, social was worth $220.53, or 15.3% of my sales.

No VP of sales would dare throw away 15% of their sales revenue, not if they wanted to keep their jobs.

Now, if you’re B2B or complex B2C (because they’re the same thing), you’ll instead be measuring the inferred value of the leads you create, rather than the transactions themselves.

When you can prove that social media has a direct tie to sales, it becomes straightforward to sell in social. At this point, social media is a relatively known quantity, and there are case studies all over the Internet on sites like MarketingProfs and MarketingLand that you can show a skeptical VP of Sales or CMO. By explaining the above measurement strategy as part of your social program, you’ll prove that you’ve got your eye on what really matters to them, and that will go a long way towards getting their approval.


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