Researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology have shown that it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they’ve perused your company’s website. It takes just another 2.6 seconds for that viewer’s eyes to concentrate in a way that reinforces that first impression. As consumers become more technologically savvy, they rely more heavily on online information about a company and businesses (your clients) need to be prepared.
Typically, a big hurdle in pitching clients for a social media contract is: “What’s our social media ROI (return on investment)?” Most companies need to understand how any money that is invested will impact their bottom line. This is often a complex question to answer as a social media professional, but it’s one that you need to be able to answer – well.
The New Brick & Mortar is Made of Pixels
Your clients want to believe that there is potential value and an ROI in social media, but they need to be convinced. The reality for most businesses, whether it’s a small cafe, a startup surfboard manufacturer or an interior design firm, is that their first introduction to customers comes via a digital interaction. This might be a visit to a website, browsing their Yelp! page, reading tweets or all of the above. The importance of first impressions is hugely important, so it’s time to invest.
Here’s a good question to ask your clients: how often do you check out a store, restaurant or event online before making a decision to purchase?
Your client now understands that in order to remain relevant in an increasingly digital world that they can’t continue to operate in an old brick and mortar paradigm. Once you have advanced your argument to this point, the rest is pretty easy.
4 Reasons to Invest In Social Media
- The Halo Effect – Your brand and organization need to look active, relevant and beautiful online. Having a good website, social media activity and branding is all part of this.
- Lead Generation – Through all of the advanced tools available on facebook and twitter, it is incredibly easy to target local customers with a social media campaign. Getting your brand out there on social increases awareness to qualified customers.
- Brand Authority/Staying Relevant – Having a voice on social media is an opportunity for a company or organization to show that they are leaders in their industry. This can separate you from your competitors and provide a constant point of communication with your customers so that they always remember to buy from you. It also shows that you are on the cutting edge. Would you rather talk to someone who reads the news everyday or someone who lives under a rock? People that aren’t actively showcasing their thoughts on social media tend to be the latter.
- Tangential Opportunities & Leveraging Your Followers – Building up a social media following that is comprised of valuable and loyal followers is a powerful asset for a company. It’s not a coincidence that opportunities are given to people with large social media followings. Working with a brand or company with a big social media following is like free advertising. For example, let’s say there are two exciting new bands that have equally interesting music. Local music blogs are considering writing a story on one of these bands. Band A has a twitter following of 97 people. Band B has a twitter following of 4,038 people. Which band do you think will get the review and why? This can be extrapolated to your client’s unique situation.
Here are some tips on how to increase your productivity and efficiency by recycling content. This recent post we wrote on “Why You Should Be Tweeting the Same Blog Post More Than Once” is a concrete example that you can take to your clients to show them that you are aware of the bottom line. They’ll appreciate it because they are getting a multiplier effect on their efforts.
John Patton has a broad range of experience in social media strategy and website development. Prior to starting Catalyst Digital Partners, John worked for Living Cities where he collaborated with senior management to launch their social media presence and improve the structure and usability of their website. While in this capacity, John helped Living Cities successfully produce a “top ten” nationally trending hashtag on twitter (#HyperConnect) as part of a Webinar done in collaboration with the Stanford Social Innovation Review. During the Webinar “Leading in a Hyperconnected World,” the hashtag #HyperConnect reached an audience of nearly 2 million twitter accounts in just an hour.
John started his own company, Catalyst Digital Partners, to help provide digital solutions in online visibility, brand development, audience growth and communications for small and medium-sized businesses. His long-term goal and vision is to work with underprivileged and minority youth to help them develop the skills and confidence to become entrepreneurs in the technology space and beyond.