Till a couple of years back, traditional direct marketing vehicles, such as direct mail and email marketing were considered a marketer’s best friends. However, the explosive growth of social media has changed the direct marketing landscape for good. When marketers started using Facebook and Twitter as direct marketing tools, critics were quick to ask how direct is social media marketing and if it’s feasible to successfully integrate the varied concepts of social media and direct marketing.
Being a veteran marketer and an avid social media loyalist, I’ve been lucky to witness the best of both worlds. Here’s my take on how you can use social media for effective direct marketing.
Social media is direct marketing
Mails, catalogs and brochures are only a small piece of the direct marketing puzzle. However, they are not effective means for direct marketing in the online world. In contrast, social media is tailor-made for the web; it lets you impart that special ‘personal’ touch to your campaigns and provides valuable feedback much better than most conventional direct marketing channels.
No place for Legacy Direct Marketing aggressive pitches
It’s true that people don’t join social networks to be confronted with marketing messages; instead they join to be social with friends, family and other like-minded individuals. In most cases, people on Facebook and Twitter are increasingly getting comfortable with the idea of associating themselves with brands they like or use.
However, marketers must understand that social media works very differently from traditional direct marketing channels. There’s no place for aggressive sales pitches and marketers need to be mindful of their tone.
Listen, participate and engage
Social media is all about community participation. As a direct marketer, you must be prepared to listen to what your social media contacts want. Answer their questions and provide suggestions on how your business can provide the perfect solution for their needs. It’s important to engage with the audience and follow the “give to get” principle.
Email + Social Media in Direct Marketing
Very often, Email in conjunction with social media is the best approach for direct marketing purposes. You get associated with people on social networks and when they feel comfortable, use email as a transition opportunity to promote your direct marketing campaigns.
Measuring Social Media Direct Marketing success
I’ve come across many direct marketers who say they find it difficult determining metrics by which to measure success of their social media efforts. The rules of the game don’t change whether you are using social media or traditional direct marketing methods. You just need to consider how many of your social media followers are transitioned into paying customers as a result of your direct marketing campaigns.
If you’re skeptical of whether social media can be effectively used for direct marketing, look at any of the millions of marketing success stories that have been crafted around Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. Dell and Amazon have been great ambassadors of how to use social media to sell products directly to customers. These companies use Twitter to market their products to customers, who in turn expose these offers to their friends and followers.
Have you used social media for any direct marketing campaigns? Please share your experience by leaving a comment below this post.