When was the last time you said yes to the WHSmith or Robert Dyas staff who always say “would you like to try this [product you’ve not picked up, or expressed any interest in] for a pound?” Personally, I always decline. And why is it invariably Cadburys Caramel, or sink unblocker that they’re peddling?

When was the last time you received a cold email containing a ‘buy now’ instruction on a random product, and you thought, yes, I WILL spend my hard-earned cash on this product costing £30.00. I’m happy to spend £30.00 on something that, when I awoke this morning, I didn’t even realise I wanted.

When was the last time you stopped for the vendor in the street who was asking for a few minutes of your time, in order to sell you something?

So why do some businesses think all they need do on Social Media is post a single buy now message and all of their commercial goals will come true. Ask yourself, when was the last time you acted on a one-off buy now mechanic?

Yet, the demand for single buy now posts, solely tracking a link click, is ridiculously high. Yes, you may receive link clicks from curious folk wondering what your offering is. But, and it’s a big but, if you track conversions, you’ll see you’ve a huge drop-off between social button click and purchase.

Awareness, on Social, is about corralling your core audiences into your brand story; helping them to understand your philosophies, your values, and your proposition. Brands who thrive on Social, delivering incremental brand affinity and brand loyalty (and of course the all-important purchases) are the brands who understand this and create content that activates their audiences triggers.

The ‘McKinsey loop’ has existed in marketing since the 80s. It’s as relevant today as it was back then! We need to introduce consumers to our brand. This is the Awareness phase. Next, we need time to consider, and debate the product or service. This is the Consideration phase. Finally, we probably still need a nudge at the ‘trigger’ – the point of purchase. Smarter brands then hook in customer on a loyalty loop that returns them to the trigger over time.

The key point to the last paragraph being you have to nudge and nurture your customers through these phases. A one-click ‘buy now’ instruction just doesn’t do it. Nor does it drive the affinity and loyalty we mentioned earlier. In fact, direct sales messages can, and will, have the exact opposite effect. They drive brand distain and annoyance. You’ll lose connections. More importantly, you’ll drive wedges between your brand and it’s social commerce potential.

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