Why focusing on the sale and evidencing investment success is killing your Social Media!

A bold statement, isn’t it? And a truthful one. For clarity, at immediate future, we’re wholly focused on delivering impact, aligning to funnel, and proving value from your investment in Social Media. Regular readers will know we drove millions of pounds worth of travel sales, exclusively attributed to social, for a well-known travel brand – to be exact, £2.39m in sales, over 16-weeks. We’ve also contributed to a multi-million-pound sales funnel for one of the biggest technology brands on the planet.

So why do I say, “focusing on the sale and evidencing investment success is killing your Social Media?”. Well, we didn’t just focus on the sale. It was a key part of the process, but so was the ‘nudge and nurture’ phase, and so was the brand-level content created.

I’ll explain. At some point in recent years, performance marketers started getting hold of social budgets and applying the same thinking to social execution as they’ve deployed successfully with PPC. The problem being they don’t understand the varying roles of social media and how to ‘nudge and nurture’ them.

The argument being, (they will tell you), ‘if you’re able to surface enough people who want to buy, and you can achieve that sale in one-click, then that’s more efficient and cost effective for our brand, isn’t it?’

Here’s the part they’re missing. In PPC, you’re surfacing people with a buying intent. These people are already searching for a specific product or service, and the PPC Ad trap is laid to try and divert intent to your brand. The key aspect here is that the searcher already has intent. They’re further through the funnel. They’ve already passed the Awareness and Brand Consideration phases, and they’re rapidly arriving at the trigger point of purchase. PPC is a potent tool to divert attention and spend. It works brilliantly.

In Social Media, however, we’re not dealing exclusively with an audience of intent. Within social we can absolutely identify audiences possessing buying intent today – that’s why we target purposefully and potently with behaviours and interests. There are also audiences who are yet to discover your brand. They’re yet to be nudged through the ‘brand consideration’ phase. They’re yet to be nurtured through to the trigger of sale. Those audiences are your buyers of tomorrow, or next week, or next month.

By focusing exclusively on the sale, and producing product-focused sales messages, with a click-to-buy mechanic, you may indeed snaffle a few sales. It may even be productive for a week or two. However, what you won’t see are the audiences you’re alienating with this poor and lazy social content strategy. None of us like being bombarded with sales messages. We all grow tired of seeing blunt and direct adverts.

Social Media has the potential to give you relevant audiences, delivering social commerce today, tomorrow and beyond. Your content needs to reflect that. You absolutely must have brand content that hooks an audience into your story, fostering a connection beyond just wanting a product. Social has the potential to keep surfacing and delivering those sales, incremental sales and even up-sells.

Your content cannot be one-dimensional and sales-focused. Whilst the performance marketer may be able to report delivering sales from social, and evidence an incremental efficiency in cost, your data won’t show that your slowing rate of sales is attributed to the rubbish and boring content you’re serving. Your audience is or has grown tired of the content. Unfollow. Unlike. Bye.

I’ve sat in many meetings where performance marketers have presented data and proclaimed I’m wrong in wanting to push content at a brand level, interspersing with a few product or service messages (BUT, delivering those in a smart and impactful manner that resonates – I can’t share how, as that’s giving way our IP). These aforementioned marketers take the stance that we’re wrong and the data evidences that. However, as they’re not tracking and measuring the impact of our methods over a 26-week window, they never truly get the data to solve the argument once and for all. Yet, every time I’ve gone above their heads and gained empowerment from the board, guess what’s happened? Did I mention a certain travel brand that had their tills ringing endlessly to the tune of millions?

Don’t focus on the sale. Learn about audiences and their motives. Understand ‘nudge and nurture’ practices so that you can avail of all the audience opportunities possessed within social. There’s an abundance of social commerce success for those who do!

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