Social Network Behaviors for Businesses
Having at least a slight notion of business conduct in social networks, you are sure to have heard that “SMM does not work”, “social networks do not sell” etc.
Yet a great number of companies are highly engaged in social networking activities with their own accounts; quality SMM experts do not stay without work; new methods and new trends are appearing, and some of them even become “memes” or are drawn as examples.
The duo of “business and social networks” lives on and grows!
In this article, I will not argue that your business needs to use the SMM, I just suggest taking a look at some of the possible interactions.
SMM creates needs, thus outpacing demand
More traditional internet marketing methods such as SEO or PPC advertising work rather with goods that are already in demand. If the goods are new and no one is looking for them in Google, there will be no query with which one could successfully promote these goods.
Here come the social media. I guess many of you must have seen ads and commercials of the “talking hamster” on the internet. Just a year ago no one had even heard about it and therefore no one was looking for. It’s the social networks that were able to “palm off” successfully the novelty to people and thus generate demand for it.
“Practice shows that SMM works fine with creating demand for a new product/service. Of course, at the forefront here comes the quality author’s content: text, photos, videos, infographics, presentations. Everything should be high level.
It is also important to remember the principles of social proof: people are willing to pay for something that someone else has already paid for and was satisfied thereafter. So you cannot do without examples of successful solutions of other people’s problems and without personalities.
Thus, opinion leaders and agents of influence are your key to success!”
The decision to purchase is generally made not in a single moment. An average user will check about 10 different sources before he places the order or request.
If you have an online store or service, the potential customer could first meet you on Facebook. Then he will follow the link to your website, browse through its pages, subscribe to it, then read it again and return to Facebook, to make sure that one could trust you, then look up in Google, and again go to the site, and then place an order.
At the same time, if you do not adjust settings in Google Analytics, the source of traffic, which brought the conversion, will be Google. But we remember that the first time he got interested in you was still on Facebook.
When properly configured, associated sales will appear in the analytics this way:
Are the social networks always a proper place for direct sale?
Let’s sort out the company’s goals and define whether the social networks should be applied as a tool for direct sales.
When considering the Facebook as “the second online store”, one can really get disappointed. Social networks are living under other laws and regulations.
Over the years on the internet people have already formed certain behaviors: when planning to buy something, one will usually go to Google, while social network will be the choice for is fun and socializing. So a plain boring catalogue of photos in a group will not catch attention and stimulate buying.
But we should not ignore the benefits available through social networks:
Trust. When your company has an active Facebook or Vkontakte profile, the potential buyer sees that the company is not a short-lived one, cares about its reputation and, most importantly, that there are real people behind it. This significantly increases the company trust and purchases from the site.
This is especially important in the consulting businesses where trust is based on knowing the person. And even if we have seen a picture of a person just once, there will be “I know him” effect and a positive impact on decision to order.
“Any service of “social media” class is a communication platform. In other words, a platform where people communicate and interact in other ways. What emerges and develops between people in the communication process? Relationship. And trust, as one of the characteristics of the relationship. Social media allow you to build a relationship of trust with people. And this is their strength”.
Helpdesk . Fewer and fewer people are willing to waste time on phone calls and more leave their questions, complaints and thanks online.
Social networks allow to do it in public, so the user can expect a more rapid response (delay will not be ignored), and get more feedback from other buyers.
It depends only on company’s activity whether it receives support from “brand advocates” or snowball complaints from disgruntled users. In any case, “in skillful hands” helpdesk through social networks is a powerful tool.
Informing.If your company is launching a new campaign or a new range of products, or celebrating birthday, you can either wait for users to check the website to find this information – or notify all interested users through social networks.
Repeated sales. It is well known that selling to an old customer is reasonably easier than attracting a new one.
Social networks work with an already loyal audience that once has liked your page, and consequently they are likely to apply to you again.
Contests, promotions, sweepstakes. This is generally one of the most powerful SMM tools – contests through social networks tend to be much more effective.
It is easier to inform the interested audience about them. The networks already provide a variety of convenient tools for contest implementation (subscriptions, likes, reposts, retweets) and also include a social element of competition. People see who else is involved, estimate other participant’s chances, and, again, they trust the results much more.
“Talking about the use of social networking, online shopping should be aware of a few axioms, which are often disregarded:
1. Online-shop is ALWAYS selling in social networks. Even if it does not advertise its hot deals on social networks (by the way, why?), but only answers questions and builds the image – It is still selling.
2. The Internet is dynamic – now people are in your group, and a moment later they google your website (good choice) or join the group of competitors (bad option).
3. Internet makes everyone a genius. The user can easily find out how original and trustworthy is the content you provide. For example, the telephone survey, which was made six months ago, is no longer needed, etc.
Forget about one of these points – and any, even the most effective communication model is doomed.
And now let’s go back to the topic, i.e. online store that regards social networks primarily as a channel of image building, helpdesk, communication platform, but not as an instrument of direct sales. In my experience, there were several companies of the kind, mostly clothes or electronics sellers, and one tool shop.
As the analysis of each case has shown, this approach brought quite tangible results.
When the work is properly structured, the number of calls to the group grows every month (usually 15-20% the first six months, then less). Number of loyalty subscribers slowly but surely increased (after 3-4 months neutral users would enter discussions already on the side of brand, and willingly advise new clients who asked questions).
An interesting point is that qualified consultations concerning goods in 70-80% cases end in sale. Well, the most exciting information I received from the above-mentioned store of household tools, is that after a year of active work in social networks traffic had increased by 800%. Despite the fact that before this, the store had already had a community of several thousand people. Similar, though not such huge traffic gains, were shown by other projects.
I also observed a community where everything was not so smooth, and the reason was the wrong approach since their launch. However, as soon as the communication policy had changed – so had changed the response from the audience, and extremely fast.
So to what, first of all, do you need to pay attention in the “not selling” online store community?
1. If you have eliminated the sale of goods from communication, this does not mean that you can endlessly post kittys and all the latest internet memes. Subject headings should be strictly defined and almost always directly relate to your sphere.
2. Qualified work. If your group on the social networks is a helpdesk, it must respond to user requests quickly and competently (not later than in 30 minutes).
3. Monitor tagging and mentioning. If your page is tagged somewhere, you have to go there and join communication (unless it is a very extreme form of trolling).
4. Effect bookmarks. Before users used to add sites to their favorites, now they like the page. Be sure to add like boxes (buttons such as I like, +1, etc.) of the most popular social networks to your site.
5. Give an advantage. What does a user get if he is in your group? Faster response than by e-mail? The latest industry news? Promotional codes? (If you still want to sell a little bit J)
6. Regular posting and replies to comments. The user who first came to your site, most likely, will watch your community to understand if you can be trusted. Regular interesting posts and public responses to the comments are champions in generating trust.
7. High-quality graphics, preferably adapted to the seasons and promotional activity. Users are less likely to read and are increasingly paying attention to the illustrations. You must be original and bright, but not forget about the quality: there is no more powerful trigger for desire to close the page, as a low-quality image.
Of course, all these are very particular and simple tips, and further detail elaboration is possible to make them more useful, but it will need to scale them for a specific business, its strengths and weaknesses, goals, history, etc. And in an article for this site is not enough
In any case, you should know that proper communication in social networks, even without direct sales, can provide advantages such as:
- Optimizing client communication time.
- Indirect sales growth. Good advice is often available.
- Creating above mentioned brand advocates (well, or at least free of consultants).
- Growth in site traffic.
- Keeping contact with the user.
- Creating an image of experts in their field.
With a proper approach, one can notice the perks of social networking less than in 5 months. And I wish that to you!”
Conclusion: Do not hammer nails in with a microscope. Sales often should be carried out by the online store, and social networking is the platform to communicate with users, build trust, cultivate a loyal audience and evoke positive emotions. And all this will lead to an increase in business much more effectively than mindless blunt attempts to sell on platforms that are not designed for this purpose.