Forget Branding! What’s Social Media’s Role in Direct Marketing and Sales?

Nov 08, 2013

Jay Brokamp

Okay, so don’t forget about branding, but everyone always talks about social media in the context of branding. So today, we’re going to focus on social media’s role in building your bottom line by closing deals…

It’s very easy in life to embrace an “out with the old, in with the new!” attitude. After all, newer is most always perceived to be better. The problem with this attitude is that it supposes the correct course of action is one or the other; a classic “if not A, then B” scenarioSocial media can give sales a boost.. While that’s a theorem that’s important for software developers, mathematicians and philosophers to know, it’s not necessarily a good rule for businesses to follow.

Many companies (Dell, for example) have developed a social media strategy that supports and feeds its more traditional direct marketing initiatives. Integrating elements of the old with elements of the new can make for a potent combination with quantifiable results, as Dell has shown. So let’s take a look at how social media can fit into a direct marketing model for a truly integrated sales and marketing approach.

Prospecting tool for sales Twitter and LinkedIn profiles are usually searchable and viewable to the public, so you can glean a lot of information about potential targets from them. While connecting with a prospect via LinkedIn may be pushing it a bit (this just due to social media etiquette that varies per platform), Twitter offers a less formal means of getting your foot in the door if you don’t have an established relationship with your prospect.

Build awareness Connecting/following someone doesn’t mean you have to directly interact with them. If you post often and post smart – attention-grabbing and/or relevant content – your prospects will notice you on their news feed or Twitter stream. If you can get them to engage with you organically (that is, you aren’t directly contacting them to strike a deal), you’re a step ahead of the curve. Even if you don’t, the fact that they’ve seen your name before will hopefully make them feel a little more open to conversation.

Point of contact between sales and prospect Direct message the prospect online or, better yet, send a correspondence (direct mailer, letter, some kind of tangible message) to their office. Use your social media connection to make that first touch less “cold.” For example, if you’re connected on LinkedIn, open with a message that conveys, “Thanks for connecting with me on LinkedIn. Your post about [XYZ] was interesting and I think I/my company can help.”

Support with content As you continue to push the prospect through the sales funnel by means of direct mail, email, phone conversations, or what have you, lean on social media to share content with them through direct messaging or posting a general status update about a white paper, blog article, etc. that’s relevant to them.

Measurement When you use social media in this direct approach manner, you have a digital paper trail of the process – you know how much time, effort and resources went into it and what the outcome was. This makes it easy to calculate ROI and directly tie sales back to social media.

Because change can be difficult, it’s important for the teams implementing a strategy like or similar to this one to see where the advantages in adding a social media component to their tactical tool belt lie. If properly executed, direct marketing via social media can actually come across as more personal, yet less intrusive. In the ever-competitive world of sales, that kind of touch just might be the difference between red or black on your bottom line.

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Tags: digital marketing, direct mail, ROI, Twitter, sales, LinkedIn, social media

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