2 Questions Stumping Social Media Sales People
Anyone who sits down with clients to discuss social media always gets a handful of common questions. How do I know social media will work for me? What’s the ROI? How can social media help my business? What in the hell is Pinterest? Even this painful one still comes up from time to time: “Twitter? Who cares if I’m having a sandwich or brushing my teeth?”
Most social media sales people are ready for those questions. They have the answers waiting on the tip of their tongue, because they’ve been asked so many times. But there are some huge questions business owners frequently ask that I’ve seen stump sellers.
Maybe these questions are so simple and obvious to advocates of social media that it’s difficult to verbalize an answer to the layperson.
Whatever the reason, are you getting stumped by the questions below when you sit down with potential clients?
Question 1: Why Should I Care About Social Media?
Consumers expect to be engaged not only when they walk through the doors of your business, but also when they walk out of your doors. Every second of every day.
Marketing is no longer about throwing ads at mass audiences hoping they’ll stick. Calculated responses to letters are a thing of the past. It’s not even as much about taking a customer service call between the hours of 9-5 anymore. In the words of The Now Revolution author, Jay Baer:
“Business is now about near-instantaneous responses; about making the best decisions you can with the extremely limited information you have; about every customer being a reporter, and every reporter being a customer; about winning and losing customers in real time, every second of every day.”
Every second of every day.
Consumers want to have conversations with you, to experience your brand’s personality first-hand. They want to be treated like people – people with aspirations, emotions, wants and needs, and unique personalities.
Social media enables your business to take advantage of these consumer expectations. It allows you to turn simple transactions into long-term, valuable relationships with your customers by showing you genuinely care to converse with and understand them.
All of that, while incredibly important, is a bit fluffy, right? Maybe you need some hard evidence to convince you social media is a good path to go down. Got it!
Consumers Are Moving Away from Traditional Marketing
If I told you most of the marketing dollars you spend are getting less and less effective, how would you react? Because that’s exactly what’s happening if you market using a traditional mentality — in the sense that your marketing and advertising is more about yelling toward the consumer than it is about conversing with them and earning their trust.
Take a second to check out the image below from a recent Nielsen Ratings survey about consumer trust in advertising. Notice any trends? Trust in radio ads, 41%. Trust in TV, magazine, and outdoor ads, 47%. Even online banner and text ads are terribly untrustworthy to consumers.
Earned media beats traditional advertising according to Nielsen survey [Click to Tweet This!]
If you go down the list, it’s obvious “earned media” is starting to take a dominant position, and social media falls right square in the middle of this. The people who choose your business after reading a positive recommendation on Facebook aren’t choosing you just to be nice. The people who choose to check out your product line after a friend sends a tweet about your product are browsing for a reason.
They do those things because they were exposed to your business through a medium they trust — an online review, a friend, a family member. There’s a unique feeling when your friend recommends something compared to when the loud-mouth on TV recommends something. It’s along the lines of, “My friends wouldn’t steer me wrong, but that guy on the TV…he’s just trying to manipulate me for cash.”
So, what of the advertising that focuses on yelling messages at giant audiences, telling them how they should feel and what they should buy? Not doing so hot, right?
Why spend so much money on marketing traditionally when it’s evident consumers distrust being approached with that mentality? Why not reallocate some of your marketing funds toward areas of higher trust, areas that are much more likely to heavily influence a purchase?
Question 2: Why Would Anyone Talk About MY Business on Social Media?
If you make it through that first question, it’s almost inevitable you’ll face this next question in some form.
It goes a little something like this:
Client: “Okay, consumers are using social media. Got it! I personally have no interest in playing around on Facebook or Twitter. You couldn’t pay me to take time out of my day to talk about other businesses on social media! Why would anyone else take time to interact with or talk about my business on social media?”
The unsatisfying answer is people care to talk about your business today for the same reasons they always have.
Let’s make sure we’re on the same page: The roots of marketing and communication haven’t changed.
Word-of-mouth recommendations are still the king of marketing (especially for a small business). The biggest change brought about by the dominance of social media is the amplification of word-of-mouth.
But that begs the question: “Why do consumers talk, at all, about my business?”
Why Can’t We Consumers Keep Our Mouths Shut?
That question digs a little deeper into the psychology of consumption. We could go all sorts of directions with this and get ridiculously complicated with all the research that’s been done, but here’s my relatively simple take.
As consumers, we like to confirm our purchases were good purchases and we like to complain about bad purchases. We like to talk to other people and get their opinions about buying the latest gadget or even some new low involvement product like cereal that tastes awesome. We like to know we’re not downright insane when we buy something, then complain that it didn’t actually fulfill the need.
Consumers are pretty chatty about what they buy if you think about it. Take a minute to reflect on some of the conversations you had today with your co-workers, husband or wife, mom or dad…hell, maybe even your dog.
Did you discuss any recent purchases, big or small? Talk about any new products coming out?
The simple fact of the matter is we, as consumers, like to “show off” things we purchase or complain when we feel like we got screwed. This is nothing new or revolutionary. It’s as old as buying and selling. It’s as old as bartering.
Some of this talk is a desire to flex our muscles and show we have the wealth to buy stuff, but most of the time it’s simply a desire to maintain our own sanity by seeking confirmation from friends and family that we made good purchases (or that we’re right in being upset about a purchase).
So, answering the question of why anyone would want to talk about your business on social media…
Because, damn it, we’re human beings and affirmation from those around us is a basic need! It’s always been that way. Social media is nothing more than the modern medium through which this basic need is often fulfilled.
If you want to place your bet against social media…if you truly think no one wants to talk about the product and service you sell, then you’re placing your bet against human nature. Is that a bet you’re comfortable taking?