Social media is a two-way channel, but over the last ten years marketers have increasingly shifted to focus activities on one-way interruption - applying old techniques to new channels.
Communities form post-purchase, but most marketers currently focus social media activities on the pre-purchase funnel. When you force a community to act as an acquisition channel, you dilute it.
There is a significant opportunity to drive post-purchase loyalty, advocacy and re-purchase through social media, and responsibility for functions that drive this are increasingly falling to the CMO. The potential for ROI in this area is significant.
Given those points, we need to re-assess our approach to social media – especially for consumer and SMB audiences. In particular, we need to shift to focus our on-channel activities on existing customers (versus new acquisitions) through:
- On-channel content – both planned and real-time
- Community management
- Social media support
We need to shift the last of these - social media support - from a cost centre to a strategic driver of differentiation.
Still, there IS a place for sales in social:
- Off-channel content and paid (posts promoted outside brands’ communities)
- Couponing and contesting (still key reasons that many people connect with brands)
- Re-purchase and new product launches