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19 Jul / What most brands are doing on Facebook will not create sales (and what to do about it)

The TEAL ORBIT Spin Section would like to introduce its guest blogger, author Jeff Molander, who has reported on “What Most Brands are Doing on Facebook Will Not Create Sales (and what to do about it)” and opens with an insightful video on the subject:

3 Popular Facebook Strategies to Avoid from Marketing keynote speaker on Vimeo.

Engaging content on Facebook ultimately manifests sales, right? Actually, no. This is a dangerous myth. Even the most engaging blogs, YouTube videos, Facebook timelines, or LinkedIn discussions fail to produce leads and sales.

Is your business or brand engaging customers and creating “profitless prosperity?” In other words, are you creating impressive marketing statistics that don’t ultimately help generate leads and sales?

Let’s discover what “it” is that those businesses who are creating leads and sales using Facebook are doing that the rest of us are not.

The Secret to Always Creating Sales

After researching brands and small businesses that are actually selling using Facebook for two years I found the answer: Direct response marketing is the secret sauce. This is the untold truth that top social sellers realize and act on every day. It’s how they’re making Facebook sell for them. Engagement alone isn’t enough for them.

After all, why do so many of us pursue getting Liked on Facebook or followed on Twitter? Probably because of an old idea: getting lots of customers’ attention (reach) over and over (frequency). This, we’ve been conditioned to believe, is enough to earn a sale… somehow, sometime. It’s no surprise since this is how “brand advertising” is conducted.

I’m not saying attention doesn’t matter. It does. But it’s not enough to be momentarily memorable, funny, human, or engaging. That alone doesn’t make social media sell for you.

My colleague, Jim Novo says, “Social events such as ‘Likes’ or comments are simply representations or affirmations of awareness already created by other media, so by themselves, create little value. In other words, events such as Likes might track the value of other media spending, but may not create much additional marketing value.”

Stopping at earning customers fleeting attention or amusement is a surefire losing strategy for an online campaign. Does this mean that brand marketing or engagement without calls-to-action don’t sell products and services? No. But it does mean that it’s a weak strategy when compared to direct response.

How to Make the Sale

Today’s best social sellers do not believe for a minute that exposure to engaging content will result in a sale. They have no faith that it will produce a lead. Rather, the content they create solves customers’ problems or vividly demonstrates (proves… think infomercial) compelling experiences relating to their service. They believe in, and execute on, carefully mixing in calls-to-action. They make it irresistible for customers to take specific actions that connect to pre-designed experiences and marketing processes.

The best way to sell on Facebook is to solve customers’ problems (yes, for free) in ways that earn trust and ultimately help them navigate their way toward your paid products and services.

Everything you do on Facebook, blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and such should be helping customers get more clear on their problems. Why would you do that? Because this is what creates leads and sales.

Think about it this way. When you help people solve problems in their lives they are more inclined to trust you and begin to see your products as part of the answer that they’re looking for. You see, selling on social media is not about Fans, followers, re-tweets or any of that nonsense. It’s about solving customers’ problems in ways that encourage making an eventual purchase.

Flip the Paradigm!

Ignore the “experts” preaching aimless engagement. Get focused on purpose: the behavioral outcome of your social campaign. Is there one? If not, make it so or don’t make it at all.

Don’t get sucked into the profitless prosperity black hole! When I speak to audiences, I encourage them to think (and act) in terms of direct response marketing when engaging with social media and content marketing.

Jeff Molander is a professional speaker, trainer, adjunct faculty at marketing at Loyola University Business School and author of Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell. He blogs at www.makesocialmediasell.com and can be reached at jeff@jeffmolander.com.

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