If you’re like most B-to-B marketers, you’ve been engaging customers on social media for a while now—or at least wading into the water and getting your feet wet. But for many of us, engagement has been a bust; it feels a lot like that mystical practice called branding. Yet a few successful brands are turning engagement into leads and sales. Here’s how they’re doing it and how you can, too.
Popular opinion says awareness (reach) and influence leads to conversion. “Regular social media participation with customers, brand advocates and prospects will ultimately convert them into customers.” Need proof? Here’s some (tortured) research—some fuzzy math nonsense that looks a lot like the “proof” that brand marketers offer up for the last few decades.
This is not to dismiss the need for awareness or take a swipe at mass advertising. Without awareness we cannot create and capture demand, as we know from the fundamental, proven concept represented as AIDA (awareness, interest, desire, action). What I’m saying is this: Having awareness, interest and desire of a customer does not reliably convert into action (a lead or sale) unless it is designed to.
We can directly increase the chance of an action being taken (as a result of engagement) by making it happen.
Let’s face it. Engagement is today’s version of branding—something everyone believes in, practices yet cannot define and, in the end, the C-suite doesn’t really expect much from anyway. Bottom line: for most of us, engagement isn’t our best friend. But that can change with a different mindset and approach.
After a year of interviewing businesses experiencing remarkable success using social media I found the common success principle: Ceasing to believe that passive engagement works and designing social media programs in ways that create purpose-driven customer behavior.
In other words, if you want to start experiencing success with social media start giving customers a reason to offer more than a “like” or merely consume content. Use that reason to induce an action using what we already know works: Some kind of irresistible bait … a scratch to a customer’s itch that is part of a pre-planned process that leads them toward a sale.