Customer Acquisition in Social Media Marketing

After reading this entry in Top Rank Blog about tips for marketing with social media, something crossed my mind. Though there were some great tips on things that people can do to use the power of social meda to bolster marketing, I was not seeing THE sure fire way. It was gray. I think it’s still gray, and I’ll tell you why.

Lets take for example Client A. Client A wants to use social media, has heard about social media or at least has heard about blogs for example, and wants to use it to drive traffic to his or her sites, increase sales and or use it for branding purposes. That seems to be a safe assumption for most companies.

Well those are all well and good, but first things first. Where does the client go? You have consultants running around out there claiming to know how to do it, but by the looks of the tips. I saw nothing that was a “business process”. I saw a here try this, or this works, or a you might want to try this or I have seen that…..Get the point? A client needs to know what are you going to do, how are you going to do it, how long is it going to take, and what will I get from your efforts, amongst other things.

The problem is, with social media, though you can measure traffic to a certain degree, the “process” or the initiation of a social media campaign is not an overnight phenomenon. there are some instances of it occurring from a viral marketing standpoint but It’s a process that needs to be cultivated. The issue that most clients have with this business model is that they don’t have time to nurture their presence in social networks. Their businesses require immmediate results and returns.

Businesses know this and need to know this: 1) Here is my customer I know what it takes to acquire this customer via this form of advertising, sales and marketing and channel. 2) Here is my customer, what is it going to cost me to acquire that customer through social media? And what are the steps that you are going to take and what are they going to cost me for you to achieve that? After you first explain to me what social media is…

After they ask you “Is it like Myspace”? 

If you the social media marketer come to me and say, “We’re going to create a Facebook group for you, A couple of blogs, maybe a bbs, a couple of microsites, and we’re also going to Twitter and use Stumbleupon as well as a handful of others.” I’m first going to say, “Huh?  and then “ok, what is that going to do”? And you’ll say, “We’re branding you, and we’re driving traffic to these sites and pages and they’re finding out more about you”!.  To which I will say, “Thats great, how many sales can I expect? What kind of conversion rates can I expect from social media???” At that point I better get a really good answer or another plan that perhaps uses a widget or two that is placed in strategic social media sites that can drive traffic and convert sales.

 That’s the real question, or rather one of the many questions. Here they are and you might want to use them as you are approached by social media marketers or companies who will claim to know what they are doing.

  • What is your social media plan?
  • Do I need sales, leads or traffic
  • What types of social media do you plan to use and why those? and why not these?
  • What will be the upfront costs? What ongoing costs can I expect?
  • What will be the costs of customer acquisition? A cost per acquisition model certainly applies here!
  • How long will it take to roll this plan out
  • What kinds of deliverables can I expect and when
  • What is your track record
  • Have you ever worked with this type of product or my type of company before?
  • How successful have you been
  • What will it take to manage it on my own
  • Lets focus on some deliverables
  • Lets set some benchmarks with incentives
  • What is your plan to integrate this social media plan with our other marketing plans
  • What if you fail
  • What guarantees do I have
  • References

The key here is alot of agencies are starting to add social media as it’s own division within their companies. Though there are very few companies and agencies who have done it right over a sustained period of time, because of the “new-ness” of it all. It’s up to you to figure out who can deliver what, and in what time frame. The last thing you need is for someone or some company to experiment with your brand as they muddle their way through figuring out just what works and what doesn’t work with social media marketing.

Lastly what companies and businesses and people need to realize is that social media marketing is a moving target. It’s changing and morphing into something different every day. The reason is, marketers are figuring out new and unique ways to leverage the media to the advantage of the client. Some are proven, some are loopholes, some are brainstorms and some are just plain strokes of genius. Though you still need a concrete strategy as you go forward. It doesn’t hurt to have someone who is willing to take a chance or try something different on your behalf. Keep that in mind as you work your way down the bulleted list. The first of many steps will be finding someone who knows social media marketing and actually has a business model wrapped around social media marketing. As it is a moving target, I’m sure that there are some differring opinons on this. What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Customer Acquisition in Social Media Marketing

  1. Making social media marketing tangible is tough. Keep focused on the deliverables. The internet can track advertising better than any other form of media. Set benchmarks and talk “pay for performance” and it helps.

    Great blog.

  2. Chris great point. I think paying for performance based on deliverables might be the only way it works. The benchmarks perhaps being spaced a month apart. The issue though, traffic is one thing and might be the goal if its a branding issue but sales is another. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hey Marc … excellent post! You nailed it!

    Some marketers think they can approach me and win my business with tactics they happen to think are very cool: “social networks,” “viral marketing,” “blogging,” and so on. And while I respect those media, they do not “wow” me as much as their purveyors may believe.

    To me, the “wow!” comes not from the marketing medium, but from relevant, timely content that provokes and inspires a positive response. In the business model that informs my professional life, that is the definition of good direct marketing.

    Moreover, the communication theorist Marshall McLuhan was wrong: the medium is not the message. The message is the message. The medium may be cool, but a “yes” and closed business are even cooler.

    Michael A Brown

    Business To Business By Phone

  4. Michael, I agree with you, agreeing with me. I’m finding that there are more experts out there spouting their take on what consumers want and what marketers know, when the reality is most experts and marketers never bothered to ask, or have never really “done” it to the extent that they really know, whats up. Especially when it comes to Social media. Now more than ever, social media is a part of our lexicon and yet…it’s talked about like DB cooper and the Loch Ness. We all know something about, but no one really knows for sure, and the ones that do know, don’t have time to share. Or do they?

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  6. We can also utitlize data analytics for customer acquisition and customer retention. They have proved to be very beneficial for companies in core verticals such as insurance, retail and banks. With enormous amount of data available on web, companies can utilize data mining along with predictive analytics to analyze site visitors and optimize their customer acquisition strategy.

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