Social media’s role as an essential marketing channel is well documented. What’s changing is the way it’s being used for direct marketing purposes. It boils down to three fundamental ways to combine direct and social media marketing.
While well-established businesses are still struggling to integrate social medial fully into their overall marketing and business strategies, 78% of companies had a dedicated social media team in 2014. In spite of this, only 26% integrate social media fully into their business strategies. That disconnect is also seen in the following chart from the CMO survey results:
How effectively is social media linked to your firm’s marketing strategy? (1=Not integrated, 7=Very integrated)
One way to better integrate social media into overall business strategy is to couple it with direct marketing efforts. How? There are three basic ways to integrate the two.
- Use Social Media to Build Your Direct Marketing Customer Profile:
- Include Social Proof as Part of Your Direct Marketing Offer
- Cross-Promote Direct Marketing and Social Media Channels
Build a Better Customer Profile: Social media sites contain a wealth of information that can underpin direct marketing efforts. It’s up to marketers to mine social media data for the insights that can help them reach their target audience more effectively.
- What interactions took place between your customers and social media? Which posts, links, ads, etc. did they click on? What topics or brands were liked, followed and/or shared with others? What hashtags, keywords and topics are of interest to your prospects? What hobbies, interests, and other demographic information can be gleaned from their social profiles? This data is a treasure trove that you can use to develop much more complete profiles of prospective customers.
Armed with this knowledge and the information you have already collected about your customers, you can now devise ways to integrate your offers with the interests of your prospects.
The collective data allows you to compile much more complete customer profiles. The customer personas derived from it will help you better segment your customers. Each segment can then be targeted with the most relevant and timely direct marketing offers.
In the end it’s all about conversions and ROI. Pooling social media data with other customer data will increase the ROI of your direct marketing efforts.
Include Social Proof as Part of Your Offer: For this context, social media proof is direct or indirect evidence that others endorse your brand and/or offer. If people see others showing positive feelings about an offer, they are more likely to think positively about it as well.
Social proof influences buying decisions. According to #Socialnomics 2014, 93% of shoppers’ buying decisions are influenced by social media because 90% trust peer recommendations. But only 14% trust advertisements.
Examples of Social Proof derived from social media sites include:
- Customer testimonials: Draw testimonials from social media sites where people are talking about your brand. When possible, include the name, location, job title, and picture of the person. Obtain the permission of the person posting the testimonial before using it in your offer.
- Number of shares or downloads: Display the number of times your offer has been shared or downloaded. Letting somebody see the number of shares is another way to show social proof. Use social media icons that reveal the number of shares. If an offer has been shared a lot on social media, it shows credibility and trust on the part of those who see these numbers. The same can be said for the number of downloads of an offer.
- Embedded social media posts: Monitor social media to find mentions of your offer, brand, products, etc. that reflect positively on your business. You can then insert these tweets, Facebook posts, etc as part of your offer.
- Embedded Customer ratings and reviews: In addition to social media posts, you can also embed customer ratings and reviews of the product or service offered.
The use of social proof elements gleaned from social media can be a potent addition to your direct marketing campaigns. The credibility and trust instilled by them will increase conversions and ROI.
Cross-promote Direct Marketing and Social Media: Use social media as part of your multi-channel direct marketing campaign. There are many ways to do this, depending on which offline and online channels are used to promote your offer.
Here are some examples:
- Make social media an integral part of your multi-channel direct marketing campaigns to amplify your efforts. Link email, direct mail, telemarketing, and direct response advertising to social media, and vice versa. Tying them together allows marketers to take advantage of the particular strengths of each.
- Use social media to create anticipation by telling customers about an upcoming direct marketing offer.
- Include social media sharing icons in direct marketing channels and encourage customers to share the offers with others in their network.
- Post direct marketing campaigns to social media.
The Bottom Line: Your customers do not consume information in a “one-channel” world. The more you can integrate your messaging across multiple channels, the greater your opportunity for marketing success. That’s why it makes sense to always consider how to incorporate social media into your direct marketing campaigns.
What other ways would you add to combine direct marketing and social media?
Share with us so we can all learn.