According to some marketers, direct response marketing techniques aren’t a good fit for social media.
Direct response marketing focuses on an appeal to the consumer followed by a call to action, while most social media marketing techniques are more focused on fostering a connection and building a conversation. Social media marketers often want to avoid sending consumers elsewhere, which is what is often required by a direct response ad. These two types of advertising don’t have to be at odds, however; in fact, the two can work quite well together if given the chance.
There is an increasing trend of including direct response marketing techniques in social media, allowing marketers to take full advantage of the connections they create in the digital social world. Through the proper use of direct response advertising techniques, social media marketers can take their interactions to the next level and significantly increase the effectiveness of their social media advertising efforts.
If done properly, direct response marketing can not only improve the ROI you receive from social media marketing, but even draw in additional followers on your company’s social media accounts.
More than Followers
For many companies, social media sites present a way to interact with consumers and provide a “good face” for the public to see.
A company may have a social media manager to make posts that promote its products or that convey its voice, and in many cases the manager will also interact with followers to convey the idea that the company cares about its fans’ desires. This is where a number of companies stop, though. While creating a positive public image and crafting positive associations in the minds of consumers are important for marketing, these efforts often lack the follow-through to try and influence customer purchasing decisions unless there is a specific promotion being advertised.
By incorporating direct response marketing techniques into your company’s social media interactions you can convert those followers who “Like” your content into consumers who actually buy your content. This is a natural progression from the previous approach to social media; you have spent time creating positive feelings toward your company and its products, and by using direct response techniques, you will encourage followers to act on those feelings and support the company as a consumer.
Awareness and Action
One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to adjust your social media marketing strategies significantly to incorporate direct response techniques.
Your company does not have to shift its general social media tactics and become more aggressive or include a call to action on every post. In fact, trying to make that sort of adjustment would likely backfire because it would come across as being too forceful for the majority of your company’s social media followers.
Instead, continue utilizing your current social media strategies as a means of building brand and product awareness. The majority of your posts and interactions should be focused on this, establishing and reinforcing the positive connections that the company has with its followers. Posts featuring direct response techniques and a call to action should be rare and appropriate to your current marketing campaign, enticing followers to comply specifically because your company doesn’t ask much of them often.
Facebook Direct Response Ads
Another aspect of social media where you can incorporate direct response marketing tactics is paid advertising.
You have likely seen tech companies and others utilize this with things like sponsored posts on Facebook; direct response ads asking viewers to download a free eBook, participate in a survey or take similar actions are fairly common and aren’t viewed as overly aggressive tactics even by fans of the company.
The key is to make sure that the call to action is relevant and appropriate for your company’s brand. It might seem odd for a restaurant chain to offer eBooks on automotive care, but it would seem perfectly normal for a software company to provide reports on the future of artificial intelligence.
So long as the request makes sense for your company, your fans will be likely to comply. Since the ads are part of a targeted advertising campaign, you may manage to increase your company’s overall social media following as well because the ads will remind non-followers that you do have a presence on the platform that’s hosting the ads.
Online and Offline Advertising
Perhaps the biggest advantage of combining social media marketing and direct response techniques is that it allows you to run a fully digital marketing campaign while still affecting offline sales.
Offering exclusive digital coupons or other incentives that can apply to offline purchases is a great application of the direct marketing and social combination. Your company’s social media presence helps to build brand trust, the direct response aspects encourage consumers to click through for coupons, and the coupons can then be applied to purchases at other retail locations. On top of that, you can also gather demographic information to help you target future advertising campaigns based on who clicks through to access your coupons or discounts.
It is important to keep in mind that this is still a technique to use sparingly. Your coupon offerings on social media will be more effective if followers see them as something special instead of just seeing them as “this week’s coupon.”
The bulk of your social media presence should still focus on building the brand and encouraging brand loyalty. Just remember that you can leverage your social media presence for other things as well, and direct response marketing can play a powerful role in that.