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How to Make Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Actionable

There's a misconception out there that many business owners and marketers have when attempting to create strategic marketing campaigns that will lead to conversions. And when I say it, you all have probably either heard it from someone else or, like me, you were the one to actually believe in this misconception before knowing the reality. The other few of you are going to learn a very important message that I hope sticks with you. Here it goes...

Most social media marketing tactics do not directly lead to conversions.

As a Social Media Manager at a digital marketing agency for several years, I didn't learn this until my recent promotion as a Marketing Strategist. And when I tell you I was sad to hear it, it's so true. Because, why even try? Doesn't it seem kind of pointless?

In some cases, that may be true. For example, a construction company is almost certainly not going to have any quality prospects that follow them on their social media pages. In reality, the ones who are following and engaging on social are probably family and friends of the employees that work there. They are already aware of the brand and are less likely to convert, or be in the market for that kind of work.

However, there is some importance to it. At my agency, we call it COI— the cost of ignoring.

Say, a potential prospect googles that particular construction company and finds their Facebook page through search. As they are viewing the page, they see that it hasn't been updated since 2013. They may wonder, is this company still in business? Maybe I should look elsewhere...

Next thing you know, this construction company lost a potential customer. Just like that!

That brings me to my next point. We have all heard about the marketing funnel: Awareness, Engagement, and Conversion. Find the general example below.

One source describes it in the simplest form, your customer’s journey with you.

That's mostly right. However, one important note is that not every customer that arrives in the awareness portion of the funnel is going to end up in the conversion portion in the end. If that were the case, it would look less like a funnel and more like a rectangle standing tall.

But, when it comes to social media marketing, there's another very hard pill to swallow, especially for me.

Most social media marketing efforts actually live in the awareness portion of the funnel.

For that reason, social media marketing has somewhat of a bad rap. And what it really comes down to is a lack of information. To the surprise of many, social media efforts don't have to function solely as COI or brand promotion to the abyss.

The organizations that won't invest the time and money it takes to actually build an engaged and sometimes even converting audience on social media will always settle for that. To them, other marketing tactics, like Google Ads and keyword optimization, will garner a better ROI.

However, those efforts often result in more transactional customers, who may only care about what they're buying right now. On the other hand, social media can result in more meaningful relationships, where customers are more like brand advocates, will purchase again, and feel like they are a part of the brand's community.

In fact, when done well, I would argue that...

Social media marketing efforts can and should live in the conversion portion of the funnel.

I'm not one to throw haymakers that leave you wondering, what the *#$@ do I do next?  So, below are a few ways you can transform your current social media marketing campaigns into ones that create more actionable customers.

How to Make Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Actionable

There's no better way to provide this information than a real-life scenario. Let's use a past Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign that went viral on Facebook.

Every October, social media is flooded with the well-recognized pink ribbon to promote awareness for breast cancer. Users who have had— or know someone who has had breast cancer share their stories, statistics, and other information on several platforms. Even big organizations join in.

Frequently, the campaigns that go viral are the ones that require little effort from the user, such as sharing, liking, or commenting on a post. Additionally, users are even happier to participate when it's for good.

Bra Color Campaign:

You may remember the meme a few years back when female users were asked to put their name and a single color as their status on Facebook. As an example, it would say, “Holly, pink.” The color put on the status was determined by the female’s bra color. However, the only ones in the know were the females participating.

Purse Campaign:

A similar campaign trended a few years later that was spread through private messages. It asked female users to change their Facebook status to the location of where they put their purse most often with the words "I like it" in the beginning. For example, these statuses could read, “I like it on the table,” or “I like it on the floor." 

Inches Campaign:

Another campaign asked females to post a Facebook status of the number of minutes it took to do their hair with the word “inches” at the end. Again, the only rule was to keep it a secret from any males unless they asked. Women would post statuses like, “10 inches,” as an inside joke between them against their male Facebook friends.   

I would argue that these campaigns did a great job of engaging users to participate. But, they didn't actually bring awareness to the disease, which was the whole goal. Here's why:

  1. Women aren't the only ones who can be diagnosed and pass away from breast cancer. About 1 percent of all breast cancer cases in the U.S. occur in men. Leaving out men is problematic and wrong.
  2. The facts and information about the disease to educate users weren't included in these viral posts. Instead, the disease was turned into a fun game on social media.

It's also important to mention...

Is "raising awareness" the right goal?

No, I would think not. Do you think the 20.7 million women in the U.S. who will develop breast cancer are content with solely raising awareness? What about the unlucky 1 percent of men?

Highly doubt it.

I am willing to make a bold statement that the majority of people already know breast cancer exists and that frequent mammograms are critical. I'm also willing to bet that what they really want on top of awareness is more funding and better care. Those are the things that can make an even greater difference in the world.

The moral of my longwinded story...

We must first set the right big goals.

Time and time again, people settle for awareness goals on social media because they are misinformed about what they think they want and what they actually want. And conversion doesn't always mean to generate revenue.

Let's use dating, for example. If we are using a dating app to find our soulmate, we don't ask the first person we see on there if they want to marry us. That would be weird and creepy. First, we swipe through a few people— some we like and some we don't (awareness). Then, we actually start really communicating with a special one (engagement). Then, we go on a ton of dates before moving in with one another. Until finally, we get married, have babies, and so on (conversion)

In that scenario, the big goal was to find our soulmate, just like the big goal for these breast cancer campaigns is to find people to support the fight of the disease. If we set our goal as awareness and that's it, we would never find our soulmate. We would be looking forever.

To arrive at our big goal, we must go through each step of the funnel.

And by the way, it's okay to want to include awareness as a goal. But, don't make it the only one if there's a larger issue to be solved.

To summarize the information above, plus add a few more, here are a few ways to make sure your social media campaigns are actionable:

  • Choose big goals. Don't stop at awareness if that's not the actual goal. Go bigger and reverse engineer on how to get there, knowing that awareness will be an aspect of it.
  • Stop users in their tracks. Use visually-appealing imagery or thought-provoking words. Users will convert more times than not when it evokes their emotions.
  • Include a clear call-to-action. What do you want users to do after interacting with your campaign? Provide a link to donate, purchase, fill out a form, etc. Make it super easy to convert.
  • Don't tell users what to do. Inspire them. Why should users care? Always add clear value to users so they not only feel like they should act, but they also want to.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to reach out with any questions about the content above, or about digital marketing in general. I would be happy to help! Stay tuned for more to come. ?

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