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In our industry, we are frequently presented with the challenge of needing to explain the value of social media to an older executive who prefers traditional marketing.
Use this simple guide when discussing the importance of social with a potential client, and remember to cut out all unnecessary jargon. Social media can be a very complex ecosystem for those who have no prior social knowledge. Keep it simple and use relative examples to traditional marketing. Remember, money talks. Make reference to real-life examples of situations that have worked for relevant clients in their industries.
If you have never worked in their industry before, consider looking at case studies, or moving that client over to a boutique or specialization agency instead. Be honest, realistic and as informative as you can.
1. Your competitors are using social media.
You are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage if you are not present. Sink or swim. Most users rely on reviews as a modern testimonial when informing their buying decisions. Where a potential client may have asked a friend or neighbor for a verbal referral before, they will now check your reviews on Facebook or see if any of their friends also like your Facebook page.
Social sentiment is a powerful tool for measuring the success of your business as a third party. If you don’t have a social presence, users will likely rule you out immediately, similar to managers tossing out resumes with spelling mistakes on them.
When there aren’t very clear competitive advantages between a client and their competitors, having a valid social testimonial can be critical. Offer your followers an incentive in return for a social review, such as a 20% off coupon or a complimentary item or add-on. Platform-specific incentives are an easy way to keep your audiences engaged, such as promotions that only run on Facebook or Instagram.
2. Users are moving from traditional to digital.
E-commerce is booming, and physical commerce centers are being affected (see the decline of malls and physical shopping centers). According to Stats Can, revenue from e-commerce totaled $1.4 billion in August 2018. On a year-over-year basis, retail e-commerce increased by 13.9%. Physical shopping centers, on the other hand, have not seen similar success, as we’ve seen the closure of several large box stores in the last three years (e.g., Target and Sears). This doesn’t mean that e-commerce will fully replace physical shopping centers, but the trend is hard to ignore.
Instead of fighting this shift, businesses should be making sure their spend extends into both realms or split it according to the age of their demographic. Even physical newspapers are moving to digital readers, and advertisers who used to purchase media buys through TV have shifted to streaming and cost-per-click (CPC) platforms.
3. Social media offers more targeted ads, detailed reports and measurable metrics.
With traditional marketing, we were only able to target users based on physical location (e.g., billboards, radio) or network/interests (e.g., TV, magazines). Social media advertising allows us to target specific users based on a combination of particular identifiers such as gender, age, geographic location, interests, spending habits, marital status, device and more.
We can execute campaigns with much higher efficiency and provide detailed metrics in order to learn from campaign to campaign. This means a significantly lower CPC and cost savings for you or the client.
When discussing the value of social media, it’s important to consider which KPIs were important previously, and how that can translate into social media terms. Be reasonable with your estimates, and consider that sometimes a mix of traditional and digital strategies would be a good fit for certain clients. There’s no one-size fit in terms of marketing strategy, but explaining a client’s options is an integral aspect of finding the best fit possible.