Today I’m going to illustrate why social media marketing isn’t a fad by telling you a fable. This fable is about someone selling something viewed as a (shudder) commodity. Our heroine in the fable is Sandra who sells cars for a living.
As we begin our story, Sandra is at a crossroads. Her sales are okay: She averages 20 sales a month, which puts her smack in the middle of the pack at her auto dealership. She’s been at this level for a couple of years now and she’s tried everything to boost her sales. She’s tried telemarketing for new customers and she’s tried direct mail. She even rented a list and tried e-mailing prospective customers. The results were uneven at best. Her problem was that she knew that only 5% of the public was looking to buy a car at any one time, so her methods relied on finding those people at precisely the correct time.
One day, and because this is a fable I’m obligated to start at least one sentence with the words “one day,” Sandra read an article about the power of social media for increasing sales and wondered whether this might be the way to engage with the “quiet” 95%--the people who would buy cars but weren’t in “purchasing mode” yet.
Sandra started by doing a lot of research. She spent her spare time researching what other people and companies had done, what platforms they used, how they went about using them, and, especially, what mistakes others had made. She listed the questions and uncertainties she had and diligently researched the answers.
Sandra already knew what her goals were: Sales leads. She knew from her experience that she typically closed one of every three sales leads, so she set a goal of generating 12 new sales leads every month. In theory, if the sales leads were good, she could increase her sales from 20 automobiles a month to 24, an increase of 20%.
After a month or so of this research, Sandra decided her best avenue to accomplish her goals was by writing a blog. This seemed easy enough, but then she hit a roadblock. What would she write about? She knew from her reading that she had to write something automobile-related and that she wanted to be seen as an expert, but she also understood that a thinly-disguised sales pitch would get her nowhere.
Then Sandra had her “eureka!” moment. She found an article that explained how she could appeal to her potential customers. She read that she needed to help her customers with a problem. Sandra needed to figure out what problem her potential customers were facing and how she could help them with it. And that’s when it hit her: Her dealership customers were always baffled by the trade-in value of their cars.
Sandra decided then and there that she would become the automobile resale value guru. Her blog would be all about the factors that affect the resale value of your car: the model, the age, how it was driven, and maintained. She knew that there was a segment of the car-buying public that wouldn’t need her knowledge and insights, but that was okay, she would go after the much larger crowd that could use her help.