Maybe it’s time to stop talking to your clients about social media completely. After all social media is not an objective in and of itself. It’s merely a means and a tool to create deeper and more valuable relationships with customers and prospects.
What should you be talking about then? Here are five subjects that might be more compelling. Rather than asking a client if they want to be in social media, ask one of these questions.
Want to improve your organic search results?
Start the conversation here. Everyone wants presence on the first page of Google’s search results. And if you get there organically, you’re three times as likely to get clicked on. Best tactic, of course, is to create great content that gets linked to. Convince your clients to make their website a blog, create something new every day (or aggregate it), and be present and engaged on Twitter. Or do it for them. We’re not talking social media here. We’re discussing traffic, awareness, and sales.
Looking for a better way to conduct real time qualitative research?
We all know the artificiality of focus groups. You spend many thousands of dollars on travel and recruitment assuming that in return for $50.00 and a ham sandwich a stranger can tell you whether your storyboard, product idea, or brand positioning is any good. Introduce your clients to better, faster, cheaper and more reliable feedback about their category, brand and competition. Let them know they can ask questions and get instant answers. Or listen in on ongoing conversations. Eventually you may have to tell them it’s called Twitter and Facebook, but what’s the rush?
Would you like more out of your advertising creative ideas?
Don’t argue against advertising. Clients love their TV spots. They’re big, they define a brand, and they get talked about. (If they’re any good.) But TV spots and campaigns come and go. Start by reminding them that the reason to put everything on Youtube is so bloggers and others can embed it on their sites. But go a step further, too. Encourage clients to invite customers and prospects to create their own versions of the campaign or execution. Heck, in a lot of cases they’re going to do it anyway. But an invitation, a crowdsourcing contest, or just a little encouragement might extend a campaign far beyond the two or three spots in the campaign. Not to mention develop deeper relationships with prospects than if you only allow them to watch.
Interested in stretching your media dollars?
Who isn’t? Even if an advertiser doesn’t want to “do” social media, they still want greater reach. Yet another reason for embeddable code and presence on YouTube. But why not turn a company’s employees — if they’re willing — into a distribution channel. Give them the means to email Quicktimes of your new spots. Encourage them to share work with friends and family by posting it on their personal social networks. Take advantage of YouTube annotation or something less intrusive like Klickable so the content can actually work for you. Sure this will turn into “social media,” but perhaps starting the conversation with “stretching the budget” will get them more interested.
Looking for ways to increase positive word of mouth?
Even marketers who’ve resisted social media are aware of the fact that a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend or peer is 200 times more convincing than a TV commercial. Who, then, could resist an opportunity to create a word of mouth marketing plan? You could hire one of the really good buzz marketing companies like BzzAgent or Street Attack. But you could also do something as simple as introduce all of your customers to each other, on your site, on Facebook, even on Twitter. Doesn’t matter. But letting them – customers and prospects — ask, answer, respond and share ideas or recommendations with each other is the easiest way to ratchet up word of mouth. Amazon, Dell, Best Buy, American Express are all proving it.
So far I’ve yet to meet a client who isn’t interested in accomplishing all of the above. And guess what? As soon as they say “let’s go,” and you launch a blog, put them on Twitter, invite fans to co-create, make it possible to share video and creative, and introduce their customers to each other, you’re doing social media.
What do you think? Are you still talking about social media? Or something more compelling?