Using Social Media as a Lead Management and Branding Strategy
The last 3 years has seen the evolution of the most incredible tool for managing sales leads and creating brand awareness, that is social media venues. Social media venues such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube gives businesses the opportunity to communicate with all its customers, potential customers, and referral sources. It also gives businesses the opportunity to create awareness and educate its target market with regard to its company, industry, products, and services. The key to understanding social media venues is that these venues do not serve as an effective short term lead generation strategy. Rather, the venues are designed to help businesses manage leads and create a brand. This distinction will help business owners evaluate how much money should be invested in using these venues to grow their companies.
Traditional Marketing Strategies Are Designed to Develop Short Term Leads and Dollars
Most marketing strategies for small and medium-sized businesses are designed to generate immediate leads that are to be managed and converted into sales within a reasonable period of time so that the owners of these businesses can achieve a reasonable return on their initial investment dollars. These marketing strategies can include “outbound” marketing approaches which simply means the business is marketing directly to its target market. Such strategies include direct mail, telemarketing, the use of outside sales people, and email marketing. Most of these strategies involve the use of a “prospect” list where businesses can communicate directly with decision makers in its target market. The goal is to meet potential customers, build a relationship with them and close a sale either immediately or over the long haul.
Other strategies include “inbound” marketing approaches which are marketing strategies aimed towards getting potential customers to respond to an ad of some sort. These strategies include newspaper ads, magazine ads, radio and television commercials, and Internet ads. The goal here is to answer all inquiries in a timely manner and book a sale, and appointment, and reserve the lead for a future follow up communication.
Social Media is Not a Lead Generation Strategy, It’s a Branding and Lead Management Tool
Social media is not built to be a lead generation strategy in the short term although it is possible to generate leads; the reason being that both business entities and non-business consumers typically are not looking for vendors on social media venues as of yet. Most social media participants use social media venues to build relationships and connect with the world. These venues also give businesses the opportunity to connect with this same world that is looking to connect. Although a business can target certain communities online and/or place ads on these venues, what drives social media is the human motivation to connect, build relationships, and participate in communities. Therefore a business owner cannot invest in a social media marketing program with the mentality of investing money today and receiving immediate leads because most leads that will be generated through social media venues will be developed over the long haul.
How Can Social Media Venues Be Used Effectively?
Simply look at social media venues as an advanced Customer Relation Management “CRM” System such as Outlook, ACT etc. Every customer, potential customer, and referral source should be contacted through either one or all of the social media venues available for use. Then over time, a business can communicate, educate, and market towards the community it creates online. This communication overtime can help a business build a brand and develop sales leads through the community of existing customers, potential customers, and referral sources it has created overtime. Long range, this strategy can be enormously profitable.
To understand what marketing strategies you as a business owner should be executing, contact us or give us a call today at 201-496-6931.