The Secret to Direct Response Success Using Social Media

Direct response marketers want to generate sales and measure ROI, yet often wonder, “How does social media fit into the mix?” Rest assured, there is a point of convergence between traditional direct response marketing and the social media used to support it. Read on to discover the secret.

Social Media: Making More Than A Great Impression
By now, you’ve probably set up pages for your company on the most relevant social media channels. You’re tracking the number of page “likes” and “follows” and keeping an eye on post impressions and shares. Yes, it’s great to see growth in these numbers—and it’s even better to see “clicks” on your shared content—but you’re not getting the whole story, nor giving social media its due respect.

Direct response marketers, including the TWO team and several of our clients, want to do more than track audience engagement. We want to get our hands on metrics that definitively answer our questions about “what offer works best with this audience?” and “which creative drives more leads to our sales team or sales from a website?” The answers to these questions help drive marketing strategy.

Here’s the problem (but let’s call it an opportunity): According to the most recent The CMO Survey, only 20.3% of marketers are able to quantitatively prove the impact of social media on their business. We want our social media campaigns to deliver the actionable results we’re able to achieve with traditional direct response media like direct mail or even pay-per-click online advertising. So let’s get to it!

Taking Social Media to the Next Level
To get to this level of data bliss, we must take a page from the traditional direct response marketing playbook, recently updated for the digital marketing age. This page is titled “Dedicated Tracking Mechanism.” (That’s the secret.)

In direct response marketing, customers are explicitly asked to take a clear action. Campaign messages contain directions like “call now” or “reply today.” Responses are tracked using dedicated tracking mechanisms: phone numbers, coupon codes, barcodes, business reply cards, online ad landing pages, e-mail offer landing pages, etc. It’s easy to track conversions and to measure what works because you’ve got the hard numbers that demonstrate outcomes.

Using social media, on the other hand, many companies tend to focus simply on getting “likes” or followers, and they measure engagement to some degree. But without a clear call-to-action and a dedicated tracking mechanism—in this case, a “click here” and a dedicated landing page—there’s really no way to tie the social media marketing activity to sales.

Social Sales Activity is Practically Begging to be Tracked
According to the 2016 Nielsen Social Media Report, 39% of heavy social users believe that finding out about products and services is an important reason for using a social network—and 35% of heavy users cite special discounts as important, such as access to exclusive offers and coupons.

Yes! This means prospects are converting to customers over the social media channel. You’ve got to measure these conversions and attribute the activity to the social channel. It’ll do wonders for your marketing analysis and budget.

When you share an offer through a social media post, you say something along the lines of “click here to learn more,” right? Well, don’t direct the click-through traffic to a generic page on your website. Direct your clickers to a dedicated landing page—a page that’s accessible only through the particular post or share and closely ties to the message in the social media post. This page should contain an order form or content download (or whatever counts as offer redemption) for the visitor to redeem the offer. This is where the conversion takes place and the activity can be measured.

Now there’s some science to what makes for an effective social media offer. And what works for your company might not work for the next. But generally speaking, offers promoted over social media channels tend to perform best when they include some sort of customer endorsement or review. Social “shoppers” like to see that other people in their network have happily subscribed, redeemed, joined, or purchased (whatever the case may be) your products or services.

If you’d like to learn more and start applying some direct response marketing tactics to your social media marketing, contact us today.