In prehistoric times, our homo-sapien ancestors would herd animals that were generally edible towards a cliff’s edge. It required a lot of planning and a lot of organization, and all of that without Excel or Google Docs. Ultimately, our ancestors would lead a big herd of animals to a well-known cliff’s edge. The animals had a lot of momentum, and they had all been grouped together, so it was easy for them to go right where they were being led. Right over the cliff’s edge.
Thousands of years later, we are still trying to herd things. Some of us are herding animals still, but those of us in marketing are doing something kind of weird. We’re trying to herd other people using online tools. We are doing a lot of planning. We are doing a lot of organizing. We are gathering people together, and we’re hoping that we guide them right to our website. And uh, well, then it gets to be a bit more like the prehistoric saga. We guide people to our site from Facebook or from our blog and then they just kind of disappear, right over the cliff’s edge.
Social Media can be a lead generator, but that is not the ROI
If you are trying to prove to your company that the ROI on your Social Media campaign is good, showing the number of fans and followers you have is not the answer. Showing the number of retweets isn’t it. Showing the amount of interaction you have on your Facebook page won’t do the trick. Even looking at a Google Analytics report and showing that you have a lot of clicks to your site from Facebook won’t be convincing. Why? Here are some questions you might field before you get through your presentation.
– Are those clicks people, spiders, or some other kind of bot?
– What did they do after they clicked to that page?
– Can we follow up with them?
– Did we make a sale because of any of those clicks?
– How much time did you spend inspiring these clicks to our website?
Catch them in your web, don’t drive them over the edge
Collecting leads is really important, whether they are coming from an ad, Social Media, a press release, or anything else. But if you think about the word lead, you begin to understand why that’s not enough. A “lead” is a possible lead for YOU to get a sale, right? Now, one nice thing about getting leads from Social Media is that you can get a face, a name, and other information pretty easily. If someone likes a video you post, for example, you know that one of the views of that video was that person (or at least there’s a pretty good chance that they liked it after watching it. Some people are chronic likers, which is a topic for another more psychological post).
So the real question is what to do after you get that person to like a post or you find that people are clicking to your website. How do you get them stuck in your spider’s web of seductive selling? First things first, you need to know that they are approaching. Measurement is a growing topic in marketing and with good reason. You can’t talk to a person and nurture them into your sales cycle if you don’t know they’re there. You only know they’re there if you are monitoring what you have going on.
Once you note that people are clicking or are engaging with you the way you want, you need to know how to continue to guide them to the point where they are ready to buy. This is a delicate dance, and sad to say, it’s kind of like the dating process. If you don’t offer enough, er, information, you might find that your lead runs away and goes right into the arms of someone more helpful. On the other hand, if you are too pushy or too “selly,” you might end up with the same result. Converting a lead into a sale and thus creating measurable ROI from any campaign, Social Media or otherwise, is a process of give and take. And it’s a process that needs to be happening with multiple people at any given time. Just like our ancestors didn’t try to hunt one woolly mammoth at a time, we can’t really afford to work on converting one lead at a time.
“Social Media is all about ROI”
I see statements like this a lot, and I always get concerned. First, as I discussed in my previous post, the “ROI” claim is made based on the perception that Social Media is cheap or free. We know that this is in fact not the case, so the idea that one sale would blow your ROI chart into the next century is false logic.
The statement also indicates a confusion between “lead” and “sale.” ROI is a measure of sales against investment. A lead is a hope.
If a lot of people skip the step of developing a Social Media plan, even more skip the step of planning what to do if the campaign actually works. This is going to be problematic when marketers who are gung-ho on the ROI of Social Media are suddenly asked to account for their immense amounts of excitement and satisfaction about follower numbers.
Don’t let your leads fall over the cliff into a big pile of lost opportunity. Keep them close to you. Give them reasons to come back after they’ve clicked that first time. Make them feel comfortable. That is the true path to happiness in the marketing world.
1st Image by Ole Jørgen Bratland & Gisele Jaquenod.http://www.sxc.hu/profile/picaland
2nd Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/bluemoonX