Every brand that aims to be relevant would boast of a social media presence. Look at any billboard, and you’re likely to find the Facebook “F”, the Twitter bird, or the Instagram camera icon, juxtaposed with the brand name, figuring prominently in the ad, almost as if the brand is sending the statement: “We, too, are living in the present.” But aside from branding, do these social media efforts directly translate to revenue?
In the 2019 report The State of Social Commerce in Southeast Asia by Econsultancy, as much as 89% of respondents said that their business has a social selling strategy or approach, with only a small portion (5%) saying they were unsure whether they do.
However, when asked “Which of the following statements best describes your company’s social commerce strategy?”, 7% pulled in their reins, saying that while they do have informal strategies, they are not documented. Meanwhile, 29% said that they do have social media strategies, but the impact on revenue is minimal.
What is social selling?
Hootsuite defines social selling as “the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects.” As much as we, through our individual profiles, connect with people that we know (or want to get to know), our brands’ social pages are a way to reach out to audiences who may be current customers or potential clients.
But a crucial part of that definition is in the end: “nurture sales prospects”. Hootsuite further explains: “[Social selling is] the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers so you’re the first person or brand a prospect thinks of when they’re ready to buy.”
This means that a social selling strategy does not end in raising awareness on the brand—it has to extend until “fans” turn into “leads.” Based on the report, it seems that brands have yet to develop their social selling strategy to this level.
What are the barriers to an effective social selling strategy?
The Econsultancy report also enumerated the number of factors at play in a well-developed social selling strategy. Based on the responses, it laid down the following barriers that marketers expressed to hold them back from using the medium effectively:
• Lack of measurement technology to set goals and benchmarks
A common trap for some rookie marketers is looking only at vanity metrics, such as number of likes, shares, and reach. These numbers can be easily manipulated (read: troll farms), and do not matter as much as engagement, sentiment, brand lift, and ultimately, revenue.
You need to make use of insights to understand the market landscape and your target audiences, as well as to analyse the competitive landscape (e.g. messaging, digital footprint, content) to craft an effective marketing plan to meet your business objectives and key performance indicators.
• Unclear targets on which to develop a strategy
Every investment must have an objective, and an investment on social media strategies is no different. Marketers must not neglect setting objectives that are attainable (e.g. to increase awareness, to drive registration and lead conversions, to grow follower base) and measurable.
• Lack of social commerce expertise or overall digital maturity
The social media world is fast-changing, with various algorithms and features changing by the minute. It can be costly to stay up-to-date, and burdensome, if a brand’s in-house marketers do not only handle social media but also all other marketing duties.
• Social media is seen just as a customer service channel, brand channel, or not a priority marketing channel
While social media can play a crucial role in a company’s customer relationship management (CRM), there is so much more potential that can be unleashed with a proper strategy in place.
How can I make the most of my social selling strategy?
The education required to stay up-to-date with social media measurement tools, and thus craft effective social media strategies in-house, can be costly. This can be supported by working with a full-service digital marketing agency such as Strategic DigitaLab, which can properly utilise and optimise multiple social media channels, targeting and reaching each specific audience to achieve highly trackable results from brand awareness to top-of-funnel lead acquisition.
Our team of highly experienced strategists, creatives, digital marketing specialists and technophiles can help you craft a social media strategy. Reach us by email at email@example.com or fill in our enquiry form to discuss. You can also take a look at our list of services.