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If you need to create a social media marketing plan for your business in 2013 you'll be smart to cut these three strategies completely out of your budget, providing they meet these "tough love" performance criteria.

This is the year when content marketing and social media focuses like a laser on leads and sales. Or else. 

Give yourself a promotion; grow your business's revenue to new heights, win that new job, start making social media sell for you this year.

Convert your social media marketing plan into a social media sales plan. Cut content marketing that flat-out doesn't net you leads and sales like clockwork. If your social marketing makes you look like a money-spender rather than a money-earner and eats up precious budget dollars ditch it!

Up for the hatchet are:

#1 Updating your Facebook page

It's probably time to quit unless a majority of your updates are designed to provoke reactions (from customers) that are connected to a process: a way to capture sales leads and bring them toward a transaction.

If your updates are not provoking customers and prospects to take action in ways that bring them and your business joy you're wasting precious time, energy and budget. Cut it loose or get it re-focused on direct response-style marketing.

If your updates are creating responses that give you leads---and your customers a taste of results in advance---give yourself a big pat on the back.

#2 Blogging to tell stories

Engaging stories about your business culture or personality don't cause sales often enough, on their own. 2013 is the year where your blog posts, videos and/or Facebook interactions need to make the sale. That means they need to focus on a process that creates high levels of confidence in buyers.

Here's how to test yourself. Are your stories giving blog readers these two things?

  1. A way to fulfill a specific need or desire and...
  2. ...something to ACT on that ultimately gives them confidence (in themselves) as buyers?

If they aren't your stories stink.

Ultimately you've got to connect your product or service to the story in a way that earns a sale. So if you're not fulfilling a desire and giving customers something to act on your story won't be a discussion. It'll be a monologue.

If your story doesn't lead a prospect toward an action (ie. signing up for a free Webinar, video series, etc.) that has material impact on their lives it won't build their confidence. Worse, you'll forfeit the opportunity to earn the customers' trust.

Take a moment right now to make sure each of your stories are helping illustrate a point or bring to life an example and supporting your ability to create a response from your target reader/viewer. If they're not make them or consider not telling the story at all until you can work them into a social media sales strategy.

#3 YouTube videos

Likewise, if YouTube videos aren't helping you take customers on a journey toward answers they need (or experiences they desire) hit pause. Be sure to fly a red flag, throw a card or blow a whistle if the video lacks a clear, compelling, irresistible call to action.

Again, tough love time. Let's be honest. Your customers probably don't need to know how your product or service actually works or look behind the scenes as much as they need a problem solved or a way to better understand the BEST FIT for their needs. They need these things far more than a look at your culture, have a laugh or experience your "human-ness."

They consider these kinds of (important) things more when they decide who to do business with.

Doing for customers is stronger than telling them you can do it

Telling someone "I can solve your problem" through a story is weak as compared to the other option:

1. Getting their attention with a good story,
2. helping them make better decisions, learn a new skill, avoid dangerous risks and
3. delivering that knowledge in ways that builds confidence in customers, trust in your brand and results in a sales lead.

So pull the plug on Facebook, blogs and videos that don't give customers answers to burning questions or a sample of the experience they're craving---and a way to act on them that creates a sales lead for you.

If you do you'll be one step closer to making social media sell for you.

Jeff Molander

Published 8 January, 2013 by Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is a professional speaker, publisher and accomplished entrepreneur having co-founded what is today the Google Affiliate Network. He can be reached at jeff@jeffmolander.com. He is a regular contributor to Econsultancy. 

29 more posts from this author

Comments (22)

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Jacob Ajwani

Jacob Ajwani, VP of Strategy at Yieldify.com

enjoyed this.

"are your stories actually giving your audience something to act on? If they aren't then your stories SUCK"

Occurs at the 1min mark in the video

over 3 years ago

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Jo Harrison

I have to agree with your post, I have been slogging away at Facebook for over a year and to be honest I can count the number of leads I've got from there on one hand. I like the interaction I receive, but I don't know how much is benefiting my business.

over 3 years ago

Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

Hi, Jo...
Not sure that we agree. I'm not saying (at all!) that Facebook can't generate leads or isn't worth investing in. I AM saying this:

Quit ONLY if your updates are not provoking customers and prospects to take action in ways that bring them and your business joy.

DO invest time/budge if your updates ARE creating responses that give you leads---and your customers a taste of results in advance.

But you've got to DESIGN for that to happen. It doesn't just happen by talking into the update window and "engaging with customers." That's a bunch of hooey that, I admit, some people actually believe is a good investment of time (ie. they get paid to do it regardless of the result it produces!!).

:)

over 3 years ago

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Novrillah Fajarrama

Well,

So if we must quit those three things, in waht way ten we utilize social media network for campaign and advertise which leads into sales?

I mean, you were saying that doing something real for customer are better rather than telling them you can..so how you propose we do that with social media way?

Can we use social media network as our little POS as well?

Thanks Jeff..

over 3 years ago

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Sarah Bradley

If your entire goal is to produce Sales straight away, then you are missing the entire point of engaging Socially.

This is an interesting take on a strategy, genuinely, and I have enjoyed reading your opinions. However you use Social to build bridges to your consumers that have never been built before, therefore your Sales metrics MUST be adjusted to incorporate a new way of viewing customers.

So, we shall agree to disagree.

Happy New Year!

over 3 years ago

Paul North

Paul North, Head of Content and Strategy at Mediarun

Social media can do a lot more than just sell or generate leads. What about if your strategy is to enhance your brand or team's reputation? What about developing brand awareness, image or positioning? Complementing a TV ad campaign? Getting feedback from customers to develop better products or services?

You say convert social media marketing into social media sales. Do you mean marketing is a waste of time and money? Can you give examples of some major social media marketing campaigns that you think are a waste of time?

over 3 years ago

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Paul MPN

Facebook used correctly and dependant on the niche your business is in, can be a great recommendation tool for leads. Encourage previous customers to write reviews/testimonials on your Facebook site which will then reach their friends. There is no stronger form of recommendation of services than a personal recommendation

over 3 years ago

Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

All: In no way have I ever said that social media cannot or should not be used to do things outside of creating sales. I've chosen to focus exclusively on sales---that's "my thing" and I know there's life beyond the sale.

BUT...

@Sarah (and I don't mean to single you out) it seems like you are saying that engagement offers more value beyond creating sales.

If that's what you're saying my thought is this: There are 2 kinds of marketers here on Earth. Those old farts like myself, David Ogilvy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br2KSsaTzUc) and a few others who believe that there is no other purpose for marketing. Marketing exists to do one thing: Sell ("or else"). So all engagement (to be a valid strategy) must lead to sales... to people like us.

Also, Sarah, I'd like to understand your 2nd paragraph but I cannot. Maybe you can clarify a bit?

You say, "However you use Social to build bridges to your consumers that have never been built before, therefore your Sales metrics MUST be adjusted to incorporate a new way of viewing customers."

I THINK what you're saying is what I respectfully but firmly reject pretty hard. That is, we need to ask, "what's the ROI of social" and build all kinds of contrived "new" metrics like Return on Engagement and a slew of others that have been offered.... along with math that (in my humble opinion) makes little sense to describe the value of a Like or Fan.

If I misunderstand I apologize.

@Novrillah I've given specific reasoning behind why I suggest quitting.

For instance, if you are not helping customers solve problems critical to their success in life, getting promoted, avoiding risks they don’t know they have, learning new skills—all with the aim of building their confidence in themselves AND trust with you... then you should quit and/or re-focus.

See here for more details if you'd like
http://oth.me/U3rEcb

@Paul. Indeed. But what if "enhancing your brand or team's reputation, developing brand awareness, image or positioning... complementing a TV ad campaign, getting feedback from customers to develop better products or services..." were all designed to earn sales? My argument supports yours. Right?

Yes, I'd argue that most social media marketing success stories (we read about online, in trades) are actually a waste of precious time and money. I occasionally read some great (real) success stories here at eConsultancy and at SocialMediaExaminer. And I publish some on my blog, in my book and on my YouTube channel... like this one about a credit union in Australia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xxmzym3C0c but the sales success stories are rare. I'm about to publish a story/case on a residential HVAC company selling dozens of contracts & systems each month on Facebook by doing as you suggest---using local media (TV, radio, print ads) to drive visits to a Facebook contest... tracking ROI (cost to acquire customers/leads) to the penny.

I can give many examples of campaigns that I believe are a waste of time, yes. I can also give examples of what I'll call "faux social selling success stories" that draw a causal link between the campaign and increases in sales without any kind of real proof that social media create the sales. I wrote about how Bigelow Tea's agency did this in my book's first chapter (free here www.makesocialsell.com/ch1) for instance.

Did you have a few in mind that YOU think might fit the bill? :)

over 3 years ago

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Michael Mcneillis, Managing Director at Personal Touch Gifts LTD

I enjoyed the pragmatism of this article. Now let me go sharpen up my hatchet, time to create some stories that sell not suck!

over 3 years ago

Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

Rock on, Michael! :)

over 3 years ago

Paul North

Paul North, Head of Content and Strategy at Mediarun

Thanks for clarifying, Jeff. I think my examples of social campaigns that seem pointless would be ones that relate to things like chocolate bars, crisps, sauces and other food brands. I can see some value in them but can't imagine how they ever recoup their costs in attributed sales or business growth.

Dare I name a specific one and risk offending someone? OK I'm feeling brave: the current HP Sauce campaign seems to break all your rules above. I hope it's a cheap campaign as I really can't see it delivering sales.

over 3 years ago

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Stuart Witts

Jeff, In some bizarre way I think we are most likely agreeing in some form or another, but I worry about your headline grabbing approach.

Phrases such as - They need these things far more than a look at your culture, have a laugh or experience your "human-ness." - are easily taken out of context and used as material to push an agenda which only serves those making money from advising on social media and not actually doing it or BELIEVING in it.

I have been horrified by the way social networking has been jumped upon by the marketeers and seen as only useful when a direct sale has been made.

over 3 years ago

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Gareth Gainer

I read this and had to check it wasn't the 1st April.
A very narrow view on social or any kind of marketing, basically saying what Coke-Cola, Nike, Apple etc. have been doing very successfully for years in wrong.
To look at David Ogilvy video from 2007 which is now 5 years old!! I think the digital and social everything has moved on somewhat since then. If you are doing the same things you were doing in 2007 then you have problems.

over 3 years ago

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Augie Ray

I spent 10 minutes crafting a critical response to this blog post, which I think is quite wrong, but my comment never appeared. (I mean, I saw it at first, but it disappeared.) Was there a technical issue or is this blog not open to criticism?

over 3 years ago

Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

Hi, Stuart...
I'm not totally sure that I understand what you mean in the 2nd paragraph but thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Gareth...
Well, I guess you believe that there's been a fundamental revolution of marketing at its core---which is what I reject. So we disagree. It would be great to hear you refute my points or argue yours.

Augie...
I'm pleased to see you hear. I respect your opinions and follow you for years now. I have never heard of any such problem and I certainly do not have any control over comments as a blogger here at Econsultancy. I'm sad that we won't (apparently) be able to hear your response.

over 3 years ago

Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

@Paul...
Do you have any good sources on the HP campaign? I'd like to consider blogging this case up a bit and discussing ways they should be improving it. If you'd like to be a part of a critical analysis like that let me know. Thanks for any thoughts you'll offer on where I can study up on HP Sauce.

over 3 years ago

Paul North

Paul North, Head of Content and Strategy at Mediarun

Hi Jeff,

My experiences with the HP Sauce campaign have (to my memory) solely been via their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HPSauceUK

As I say, it's dependent on the cost and KPIs of the campaign but I can't see how it contributes to revenue even indirectly.

My impression of such social media campaigns is that they're fun, temporary and superficial. I don't believe they are completely valueless, just low value.

And yes, thanks very much I'd be delighted to be part of a more detailed critical analysis.

over 3 years ago

Paul North

Paul North, Head of Content and Strategy at Mediarun

Hi Jeff,

My experiences with the HP Sauce campaign have (to my memory) solely been via their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HPSauceUK

As I say, it's dependent on the cost and KPIs of the campaign but I can't see how it contributes to revenue even indirectly.

My impression of such social media campaigns is that they're fun, temporary and superficial. I don't believe they are completely valueless, just low value.

And yes, thanks very much I'd be delighted to be part of a more detailed critical analysis.

over 3 years ago

Paul North

Paul North, Head of Content and Strategy at Mediarun

Hi Jeff,

My experiences with the HP Sauce campaign have (to my memory) solely been via their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HPSauceUK

As I say, it's dependent on the cost and KPIs of the campaign but I can't see how it contributes to revenue even indirectly.

My impression of such social media campaigns is that they're fun, temporary and superficial. I don't believe they are completely valueless, just low value.

And yes, thanks very much I'd be delighted to be part of a more detailed critical analysis.

over 3 years ago

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Brooke

This is great I have been preaching the same, unless your selling consumer goods, do not bother investing much time on Facebook.

over 3 years ago

Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander, CEO at Molander & Associates Inc.

Hi, Brooke...
Actually, I'm about to release a case study on a B2B building materials company making a KILLING on Facebook--- both B2B and B2C leads.

So I don't know that I'm saying what you're saying at all :)

over 3 years ago

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Matthew Jones, Owner at Windows In Wales

Facebook has become a paid advertising platform, they have limited the Organic Reach to 6% therefore making brands pay to play.

about 2 years ago

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