Social media marketing is a very powerful tool for businesses as it allows them to gain exposure, generate traffic and develop market insights. According to Lawmence Wong, CEO of consulting firm Cleverus (M) Holdings Sdn Bhd, the use of social media has skyrocketed in Malaysia, especially after the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO).
“Google Keyword Planner data shows that the number of searches on social media platforms have increased 30% to 50% since the MCO was implemented in March,” says Wong.
Although most business owners are aware that social media marketing can help them build their customer base, not many know how to use it effectively, he points out. “It also depends on the nature of the business. Different industries should have different social media approaches. Social media marketing is typically more suitable for those selling small-ticket items to consumers.”
For service providers and businesses that sell big-ticket items, however, social media marketing can be a challenge. Here are several things they can do to make the most of the opportunities provided by social media at this time.
1. Develop a better understanding of the target audience
Businesses that wish to leverage social media should have objectives and strategies in place, says Wong. They should not simply follow the herd.
These businesses can start by analysing their existing customer base to identify the 20% that generate 80% of their revenue. These “anchor” customers should be a major part of their target audience, he says.
“You need to know their interests, what they like to browse and their pain points. You should also know how your products and services are solving your customers’ problems, among others. Understanding their customer base should be the foundation of their social media marketing strategy,” says Wong.
2. Study what your competitors are doing
Facebook is an open platform. It is quite easy for businesses to find the pages of their competitors and other players in similar industries, says Wong. By scanning these pages, business owners will be able to identify their competitors’ social media marketing strategies, the content they post regularly and the responses they get.
“You can even see the advertisements that your competitors are running. This can be done by going to their pages and checking the information using the Page Transparency and Ad Library tools. This is a good way to see their current offers, how the information is conveyed, who their target audience is and how long the advertisement has been running.
“Businesses should develop an understanding of their competitors by analysing the strengths and weaknesses of their social media marketing strategies. This not only creates learning opportunities but also helps them to come up with something better,” says Wong.
3. Create irresistible content
With a better understanding of their customers and competitors, these businesses can then focus on attracting customers. To do this, Wong suggests producing irresistible content.
“Based on their research conducted earlier, businesses should come up with content that their customers would find difficult to say no to. This could be in the form of an ebook, report or checklist, among others,” he says.
“Ideally, it should be informative or something that can help their customers solve their problem or move closer to their desired goals. For example, home renovation contractors could create an ebook or video titled “Top seven kitchen renovation mistakes you need to know about to save thousands of ringgit.”
To get their audience interested, the content needs to address their pain points, says Wong, adding that using numbers in the title will increase the effectiveness of the copy.
4. Create a sales funnel system
Generally, a lot of online advertisements encourage the audience to buy the products immediately by offering limited-time discounts and promotions. However, this is very ineffective, says Wong.
“Asking a stranger to buy from you with the first advertisement is like asking a stranger to marry you on the first date. People usually do not buy from you at the first meeting, no matter how good you are. People need to go through several stages of consideration before making a buying decision,” he points out.
By building a sales funnel system, businesses allow their audience to gradually become their customers. “Here is a typical effective social media sales funnel. First, you should create eye-grabbing content and run a creative advertising campaign to reach your target audience. In exchange for the content, you capture the contact details of your audience, which will act as a lead generator,” says Wong.
“With this in hand, you can immediately send them to your ‘crazy offer’ landing page. The offer can be a free 30-minute consultation or a free trial of your products and services. Ideally, these offers need to be unique, valuable, limited and, most importantly, risk-free. The target customers should feel like they have nothing to lose by accepting the offer.”
When the customers feel that they are getting a lot of value up front, they are more likely to think they are dealing with a trustworthy seller. So, when they are in a “buying mode”, they will think of these trusted businesses first. Closing the sale will then be much easier, he says.
5. Keep improving the process
Even when everything is in place, there is no guarantee that the initial trial of setting up the sales funnel will succeed. Due to the crowded nature of social media platforms, the advertisements that these businesses put up may get lost in the sea of other posts and videos.
Wong says the key is to not give up and continue improving on your social media marketing strategy. “If your advertisements do not attract traffic, optimise the sales copy, promise big things and offer them something they have not seen before — a unique hook to grab their attention. You only have less than three seconds to grab the viewers’ attention.
“One technique is to make your advertisements not look like advertisements. People tend to be blind to advertisements nowadays. Make your advertisements look like news or informative posts.
“If your offers do not convert into sales, try to make it sound more catchy. Pinpoint the target audience’s problems. Do your research again. Are you offering something that most of them want or not?”
Finally, businesses must track and measure all the performance metrics. They should keep testing to discover the optimum cost per lead or acquisition, he says.