Social Media & Conversion: The Yellow Brick Road

Hey, hey. We’re back. And if my watch is accurate, it’s time to talk about about social media, conversions and, perhaps, a little Wizard of Oz. Helping us do it is Jeffrey Eisenberg. Hopefully my battery holds out. SES is apparently not a fan of providing power to attendees. Or tables.  We have to take notes with our mind and ignore those pangs of carpal tunnel.

Jeffrey says him and his brother Brian are the closest you’ll come to finding “experts” in the world of social media conversion.  He’s uncomfortable with the term “expert” because he thinks you have to do something for 20 years to really be an expert. However, he still seems to think that’s what he is.  I guess we’ll find out.

Social media is a really big deal. More than 70 percent of people check several times a week.  People get carried away with the idea that Facebook gets more traffic than Google. It does in some areas. But just because it’s generating traffic doesn’t mean that it’s going to make you money. Companies typically spend $92 to bring customers to their site, but only $1 to convert them.

Transparency is NOT your choice, only authenticity is.   If you have employees, people can know all about you. You can’t hide anything. The question is whether you’re going to be authentic in that. Marketers are no longer necessarily  just the people that we pay to tell lies that the company has no intention of keeping (ouch!). Right now those companies are being found out. This is a good thing in his opinion. I agree.

Advertising only accelerates the inevitable. Let’s say we opened up a restaurant. YEY US! It had perfect service, unbelievable food and it was dirt cheap. If we advertise one time, we’d never have to advertise again. [eh, probably not true] He thinks of advertising as the price you pay for not being remarkable. When you’re NOT remarkable, then you have to keep advertising.  In advertising, you have to actually find out the truth.

He shows the following ad and says Harvey probably isn’t really like that. I disagree. I’m sure Harvey really IS that amazing of a puppy. :)

He begins talking about UGC. We use user-generated content on storefronts, on packages, on displays, etc. We’ve given it a lot of credibility. There was a time when we started trusting people ‘like us’ more than experts. And that’s starting to change a bit because there is so much of it. It’s just evening off.

Social media is a wonderful thing. It allows us to have open conversations about what’s going on in the marketplace.  But it also puts a lot of pressure on us as marketers. When we hear these kind of things, it puts a lot of pressure on us to monetize it.

In college we learned about the 4Ps of marketing – Price, Placement, Product & Promotion. If you’re a marketer, how often do you get to determine the price? Rarely. How about placement? That’s more of a sales job. Promotion? What about the product? How often do we get to change the product? Rare again.  Social media has put the product front and center. All that money that we’re putting into advertising, hes not sure how wise that is when we’re accelerating that inevitable.  Eventually you’re going to be found out if you’re creating crap.

Better Experience vs Advertising

“We take those funds that might otherwise be used to shout about our service and put those funds into improving the service. That’s the philosophy we’ve taken from the beginning. If you do build a great experience, customers will shout about it.” – Amazon, who does 25 percent of all ecommerce in America. Clearly, they know something.

Exceed expectations to create remarkable customer experiences. He mentions brands like Amazon, Zappos, Google, Facebook, Starbucks.  They don’t do a lot of advertising. They don’t have to. Because they provide such great user experiences.  You didn’t find out about Google through an ad. You found out about Google because someone you knew told you about it.

The Scarecrow worships ROI.  What is the value of a relationship? What’s the value at smiling at your wife or husband in the morning? What’s the ROI? There’s a value to doing the right thing with people. How did airlines become so generic that we no longer care? They cut the warm nuts, and then the peanuts, and then all the other comforts. They kept cutting things because it didn’t affect the bottom line but it affected customers. Because now we don’t care who we fly with. That’s a problem.

What does matter if what people think about you? Because that’s your social capital.

Spoken from the Heart. The Tin Man’s 3 Voices of SM

Conversations

  • Natural chatter
  • Relationship building
  • User Generated Content
  • Sharing content, pictures, etc.

Commercial Speech

  • listening to learn
  • listening for service
  • Groupon
  • @DellOutlet

Advertisements

  • Contextual ads like Facebook

Do all conversations have goals?  Not necessarily.  When we interrupt conversations (register, subscribe, buy, share review, like, follow, upload, comment), it’s rude. Why are we in social media? To get offers or to have conversations?  If you’re Delta, you don’t need to put “book a trip” on your Facebook page. People don’t want to book a trip from there. They wouldn’t think to.  Social media always has to be about your customers. If it’s not about them, it’s ignored. Or worse.

Motivations are important because we’re working in a medium where people have to self-select. Behavior varies by task and motivation.

Contextual ads: We think of Google AdWords as contextual ads. That’s what they are. But we also think of Facebook ads as contextual ads. However, they’re not the same thing. There’s a very big difference between the two. The way Google ads think, you’re motivated to look for something. The closer you come to relevance, the more we’ll click. On Facebook, I’m not involved in anything, you just know something about me. It’s more targeting.

We’re still on the yellow brick road. We can get there.

Conversion is a journey, not the destination.  For you to achieve your goals, visitors must first achieve theirs.  Conversion always stinks.  Proflowers is one of the highest converting sites online.  What they do is use scent very well.  Information scent is made of cues that people use to decide whether a path is interesting. These cues consist of images, hyperlinks and bibliographic citations related to the information needed.

Attention — Interest -  Desire — Action — Satisfaction.

If you’re not doing this, you’re not getting business.

There’s a difference between the final thing you want someone to do and the intermediary thing. It’s the difference between macro and micro conversions.  Conversion is what the users does, it’s the “take action” part of the buying decision process. At the macro-level, the visitor converts from prospect to customer.

Funnels, gravity and hyperlinks

  • Register
  • Subscribe
  • Buy
  • Share
  • Review
  • Like
  • Follow
  • Upload
  • Comment

Online that is no gravity. What moves people toward doing all the things mentioned above is their own motivation. That’s the only thing you can use to move people along.  Sales is NOT a numbers game, it’s about performance. It’s very important that we look at the underlying motivation.

Rethink your conversion goals

  • Conversion to conversation
  • Conversion to consumption
  • Conversion to opinion holder
  • Conversion to word of mouth

Social media isn’t magic.  If you just click your ruby slippers, you can go home. There is no place like home. Social media is about relationships. If you want to build great relationships, it’s about excellence.

Aaaaand that’s it? What say you? I’m not so sure I’m on board.

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About the Author

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone co-founded Outspoken Media in 2009 and served as Chief Branding Officer until April 2012.

Get social with Lisa at Twitter

4 thoughts on “Social Media & Conversion: The Yellow Brick Road

  1. I really like and agree with a lot of what he had to say. Especially the part about Wowing the customer and letting them be your biggest advocate. One caveat to that though… The companies in the example are HUGE. I’m not sure how well relying on customers to be your advertising works for a small business. There needs to be a critical mass of people buzzing about you for it to be “viral”.

  2. Lisa, thanks so much for this detailed coverage. Articulate, concise, and fast. Wow.

    JE brings some provocative insights, as always. And just to recap, conversion to word of mouth is our social media goal, and we get that from product excellence. That seems obvious enough.

    But why wouldn’t people book a trip from their Facebook page? Is it more polite to make them leave to buy our product? They’re logged into Facebook already–how do we insult them by offering something contextually relevant where they already are?

    Yes, we don’t want to use caps in our tweets, or fill our wall exclusively with links to our product pages. But isn’t Jeff being just a little schiz? On the one hand it’s all about the granular conversion path–hard core drive to the purchase–build that pheromone trap for their money. On the other, be polite, it’s all about them, don’t be pushy or they’ll ignore you.

    If people think our product is interesting enough to tell someone about, they will, whether they bought it or just heard about it. If they use social media, that’s one of the places where they will tell their story. And that makes our product part of their society, right? So…shouldn’t we tell our story too?

  3. I feel like the Wizard Of Oz reference was perfect in this. Seems like he gave buzz word + buzz word + buzz word + and thereeeee you have it! RELATIONSHIPS MATTER. Back to social media conversion research.

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