Many people ask us if social media is about having a conversation or conversion. To maximize the effectiveness of your social media campaign, it’s a matter of balancing both. From a social perspective it’s all about having a powerful, interesting, engaging, and value creating conversation. It’s not about you – it’s about them. It’s about creating value that they can’t get anywhere else. Think about the people that you enjoy speaking to. They are great listeners, they are well informed, and you learn from them.
Now let’s take a look at the conversion side of things. Even in Internet marketing, the traditional five-stage buying process is used by prospects including need recognition, information search, evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase evaluation. If this is the case, converting a prospect from an information search to evaluation or purchase is critical. And since customers value personal sources more than commercial or public sources, social media is even more important. This is where putting out high quality content comes in and creating value for prospects.
One of the fundamental teachings of the five-stage buying process is that different prospects are at different steps, so you want to balance your communication to connect with different types of prospects. For someone who is information gathering, providing high quality value creating content in exchange for an email address is a great tactic. Not only are you creating value for them, but you are now able to drop them into an automated campaign to continue to convert prospects from information gathering to purchase. For someone who is evaluating alternatives, it would be effective to publish case studies and success stories. Lastly, you want to ensure that your value creation and social proof is completely aligned to your overall value proposition so that your prospects get a clear and consistent message, which is completely unique and differentiated from the competition.