http://www.flickr.com/photos/cambodia4kidsorg/Thanks for joining today’s webinar on how to drive more sales with social mediaOur focus is going to be giving you a step by step guide to the basics of getting involved with social media with the objective of using this medium to increase revenue.
Some housekeeping items to coverIf you are following the conversation on Twitter the hashtag we’ll be using is #DirectCapitalIf you are experiencing any technical problems please use the following linksThere will be a recording of this webinar available if you have to leave early or would like the slides for reference.Why is a business to business financing company talking about social media?One of our goals as a company is to be an advocate for small business. During the conversations we have every day with business owners we hear it all, from the against all odds success stories right down to the business being forced to close its doors.Even though we deal with thousands of businesses in hundreds of industries, one common thread that connects all of them is the need to generate revenue through sales. Without that fundamental component any business will close its doors no matter how long they’ve been in business or how good a product or service they have.Most businesses no matter how big or small have a process in which they use marketing to generate leads and create that first engagement point with a customer. It could be as simple as driving by a convenience store with a sign in the window or as complicated as making initial contact with a purchasing manager and getting approval from several different departments.United Airlines broke Dave Caroll’s guitar, wasn’t satisfied with the response from United and in 3 months the song Dave Caroll created to describe the incident has received over 5.7 million views.On a more positive note, Blendtec blenders has leveraged social media to a five-fold increase in sales when the stuck an iPhone into a blender.The question becomes, with social media creating a whole new level of transparency between your business and your prospect, what can you do today to leverage that opportunity? We’ll try and start to help you answer that question today.
Let’s start with the basics and look at a couple of definitions of social media
Here’s what Wikipedia has to offer for a definition.Read definitionI have a pretty good handle on the social media landscape and this one got me reading three or four times to understand what its trying to say.
I think its important to keep things simple so the definition I’ve put here is: social media gives us another way to communicate with lots of people using less effort.This concept of simplicity when it comes to social media is important. At the end of the day social media is a tool to help you do what you have always tried to do to – engage with your prospect, understand their frustration and present them with a solution. Social media’s ability to communicate with more customers with less effort allows you to gain insight earlier in the process than you ever have before.
The fact that you signed up for this webinar and took an hour out of your day, I can probably assume that you believe in some way that social media is here to stay and you need to pay attention. Just in case you aren’t convinced yet, here are some numbers to give you a sense of what direction social media is taking in how you manage the sales process.
Recent numbers released back this trend up. Facebook has 300M, LinkedIn has 50M and Twitter has about 20M. For Facebook, that is just shy of the current US population of 307M
Nielsen also just released a study last week that stated the average internet usage per person in the US is 68 hours per month
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-10342806-twitter-birds.phpOne might argue that all this activity on the internet and social networks is for personal use. But there was a study back in September of last year that brings an interesting perspective in to the fold.
These studies are helpful to begin gaining insight on how your customers are interacting online and whether you should be there or not. But for me an even more convincing litmus test is to hold a mirror up to yourself and look at your own purchase decision process.Do you buy from a telemarketer? Go to the yellow pages or call on a newspaper ad? Call a phone number from a TV or radio commercial?A question to ask yourself is how your marketing dollars align with your customers purchase decision process.http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-illustration-8270779-businessman-mirror.php
Before we jump into the process of what social media can do for the sales funnel, take a look at this high level visual view. Everyone’s familiar with the typical sales funnel in which we try to fill the top of the funnel with as many leads as possible and through the sales process we’ve developed there will be a water fall that whittles that list down so that a percentage of your prospects turn into customers.
What social media does to the mix is let’s you engage with prospective customers before they ever enter the sales funnel. This has several effects. You have a more prominent top-of-mind position when even before your customer is in buying mode you’ve been able to engage and interact with them. This interaction and engagement not only moves you up the top-of-mind scale but also gives you new insights into their needs & business problems I would argue that the combination of these two things leads to a better quality lead which provides better conversion rates as these higher quality, more qualified leads move down the sales funnel.
New information is coming out on this topic daily. I just saw a new study last week that showed people exposed to branded social media AND paid search are almost 3 times more likely to search for that brand than those who only saw a paid ad. The same study also showed that that same group exposed to both items are about 2 ½ more likely to click an organic link, in other words if your business shows up in Google search results.Now that we’ve looked at why businesses should be online, let’s look at a simple process to go about it.
I like the analogy around social media that likens it to a huge cocktail party. One option is to jump into the party and start to push your products or services. How would be accepted? Probably not well and it wouldn’t be a very fruitful conversation. What most people would do is walk up to a group of people, listen to what they are talking about and if they felt they could add to the conversation would begin to do so.This is also a good first step when deciding how you want to leverage social media tools.
So what we need to do first is start listening. Find out what your customers and prospects are saying about your business, your brands, your products and your industry online.What cocktail parties do they hang out at and what do they talk about when they are there?How do you figure out if your customers are online, where they hang out and what they are talking about?
One of the great things about the social web is there are a ton of free tools.Discuss each one of the tools on the page.Also mention there are paid tools such as Radian 6
I recently wrote a blog post that discusses a few of them and the link for that post is here.I have a couple of examples that show how you can use these tools.
Here’s a quick example of an industry that we are active in At first glance CNC metal working equipment may not be an industry you expect to have much of an online presence. Doing a search in google shows several areas where CNC machinists and business owners congregate. However, we need to dig deeper to see how active they are.
Going to the first one at CNCZone.com I pulled a portion of the screen that shows the membership activity.
This may be tough to see but just in this one forum there are almost 135,000 members with over 84,000 conversations (identified as threads) and at the time I pulled this information last week there were over 2,000 members online at the very moment I was looking at the site. If you are active in this space, think about the power of being able to see what 135,000 prospective customers are talking about!
If you have a facebook fan page there is a terrific feature that helps you to find out if that site is worth focusing any resources on. Before you ever have to buy an ad, Facebooks ad creation tool allows you to find out how many members meet the criteria you are looking for!Explain the search tool
Any good initiative starts with the end in mind so after you’ve gotten an idea of what the landscape is like, now you can start to set some goals.
As I mentioned at the outset, the end result we are looking for in this exercise is to drive higher revenue. But, it’s important to understand that you can get to that place very directly, but also indirectly.For example, you can use it to drive traffic to your website, offer a call-to-action to convert that visitor and then bring them through your sales process. However, all of these other things help to drive that traffic. A positive customer service experience, networking with an important prospect and becoming a thought leader in your industry all contribute to higher revenue in the long run.
After defining your goals, you’ll want to figure out how you are going to get there.
Some questions that you can start to ask yourself in defining your game place are….
A natural tendency is to jump in and starting using the tools before going through the steps we just reviewed. They’ll go out and set up a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page without knowing if that’s where there customers are.
This graphic is a little overwhelming but it shows the importance of why you should do steps 1 – 3 before figuring out which one of these tools to use.
If there is a holy grail in social media then it is frequent and good content.Developing frequent and good content has 2 major benefits Search engines like Google love fresh relevant information The other addresses the social part of social media. People like to share good content with people they know. Shiv Singh, who wrote the book Social Media for Dummies expanded On Peter Drucker’s definition of a business which Drucker defined as The purpose of a business is to create a business. Shiv’s addition is this. The purpose of a business is to create a customer who create customers. Creating outstanding content is the first step to doing this. Creating great content that people want to share with people they know is one of the core tenets of social media At a recent conference I attended Gary Vaynerchuk, who turned his family’s $4 million a year retail wine business into a $45 million internet business in large part to educating his customers on wine through a video podcast at winelibrary.tv said “I’m not romanced by the platform, it’s all about the message”
Examples of great content you can create include eBooks, whitepapers and online toolsThere are several goals of this content. Two major ones include:Driving trafficThis content can also fulfill some of the goals you identified in step 2 such as thought leadership and PR.
After creating outstanding content, you need to let the world know about it. Gary Vaynerchuk from Winelibrary.tv also said at this same conference that “content is king, but marketing is the queen and she runs the house”. What Gary meant is lots of people create great content, but in the age of information we are in, making sure people know about great content is still critical as people can be over run by the amount of information.
By this point in the process you know where you customers are and have begun to engage them in online conversation. Whether it is through your company’s blog, sharing with a LinkedIn group, or posting to YouTube, get your content out there. If you develop quality content, your reach will increase as people share this content. This is one of the big leverage points of social media marketing.
Ultimately your content should drive traffic to your blog or website, either by being found through search or going to your website directly, or motivate the customer to pick up the phone or visit your location. But once they get there, now what?
Use a call to action to tell them what to do once they get there. Your business and product will determine the calls to action you include. Landing pages can make or break a campaign. We don’t have the time today but we could spend an entire webinar just discussing landing pages. A couple of things to consider You’ll want to A-B tests with how much information you ask for on your landing pages. As you might expect, typically the less information you ask for the more responses you get to your call to action. Most best practices suggest that the fewer options on the landing page the better. In other words, generally there should only be a single offer and no other navigation on the page. Remember that often times when a customer visits your website for the first time they are in investigation mode. They may request something from one of your calls to action, but may not be ready to buy for 6 months. Depending on your sales cycle, this may be too early for a sales rep to contact them but don’t let that prospect go. Nurturing that lead keeps that sales funnel full so that when they are ready to buy, your top-of-mind in that prospects mind.
You’ve probably heard if it’s not worth tracking it’s not worth doing. Social media can be both the hardest and the easiest thing to track.
The ability to track information online makes analytics of business easier than it ever has been. With a television or radio ad, there never was a really accurate way to determine the ROI on the money spent. With social media and the right tools, you can get very granular if you choose, to determine the ROI of specific campaigns or initiatives. What makes measurement of social media hard for some is determining what to measure to gauge success. Yes, ROI is the obvious one, but how do you measure the value of a twitter account, or a Facebook fan page?Social media requires an additional set of metrics. Some other metrics to consider include …
So there it is. Listen - Start out by listening to develop an understanding of what your customers are saying and where they are saying it Define your goals – avoid the urge to jump in and pick a technology tool before you have determined what you want to get out of social media. Define your game plan – ask lots of questions about what you want your customer experience to be and how you can best deliver that given the resources you can allocate to those efforts. Pick the tools – NOW, after you been through the exercise of steps 1 – 3, research and pick the tools that will most effectively get you to your goals. Create content – as I mentioned before content is king and this is not an area you should skimp on Publicize content – I love Gary Vaynerchuk’s perspective that even if you create great content, if no one ever finds out about it your efforts are wasted Convert leads – use calls to action, landing pages and segment how you treat each lead based on your internal business rules and sales processes. Measure, track, repeat – make sure you are leveraging the web’s ability to track data and use this information to guide where you allocate resources and to refine your messagingWe could easily go on and on doing a deep dive on the details behind each component. Take advantage of the free resources to start identifying how you want to begin leveraging social media.
If you have any questions you can either use the hashtag #DirectCaptial or submit your question using the questions option on your screen.
drive more sales with social media www.DirectCapital.com
presenter: davidcriswell, interactive marketing manager, direct capital corporation david has been with direct capital for almost three years. in his role as interactive marketing manager, he is responsible for managing the company’s online presence and the integration of social media and emerging technologies into the company’s marketing strategy and other business units. his experience consists of a 15 year background in sales and marketing including 10 years as a small business owner. he is also a certified inbound marketing professional. firstname.lastname@example.org twitter.com/DirectCapital Twitter.com/DaveCriswell hashtag: #DirectCapital technical issues: http://www.brighttalk.com/help/viewers www.DirectCapital.com
social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. social media supports the human need for social interaction with technology, transforming broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many).-Wikipedia http://www.flickr.com/photos/granth/
social media gives us another way to communicate with lots of people using less effort http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasjleonard/
75% of americans are using social technologies Forrester, The Growth of Social Technology Adoption, 2008 http://www.flickr.com/photos/tom1231/
time on social networks is growing at 3x the overall internet rate, and accounts for 10% of all internet time Nielsen, Global Faces & Networked Places, 2009
Nielsen, Global Faces and Networked Places, March 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/luc/
Nielsen, Global Faces and Networked Places, March 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/luc/
Nielsen, Global Faces and Networked Places, March 2009 http://www.flickr.com/photos/luc/
93% of social media users believe a company should have a presence in social media (Cone, Business in Social Media Study, 9/08)
85% of social media users believe that a company should go further than just having a presence on social sites and should also interact with its customers (Cone, Business in Social Media Study, 9/08) http://www.flickr.com/photos/martl/
ask lots of questions! how are you going to reach the goals you just set? what do I want my customer experience to be? do I want their experience to be different than it is currently? what resources can I devote to social media initiatives? do I need outside help? http://www.flickr.com/photos/pshan427/
return on investment return on engagement -page views - post comments - whitepaper downloads - webinar attendees - brand sentiment
step 1: listen step 2: define your goals step 3: define your game plan step 4: pick the tools step 5: create content step 6: publicize content step 7: convert leads step 8: measure, track, repeat
about us founded in 1993, portsmouth,nh Direct capital’s mission is to provide simple, fast, cost effective solutions to help businesses acquired the financing they need to succeed. connect with us twitter.com/DirectCapital Twitter.com/DaveCriswell blog.DirectCapital.com email@example.com 603.766.9315 twitter hashtag for questions - #DirectCapital www.DirectCapital.com