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Social Media, The New Top Of Mind & 5 Tips To Help You Create It

Top of Mind Awareness is one of those terms you hear thrown around a lot by marketing reps. Wikipedia defines it as "Owning the space that your product or service occupies between your prospects' ears. That way, when they're ready to buy they think of you first." One of their definitions anyway, and the one I liked the most!

When a brand, service, or product is able to achieve top of the mind awareness they ensure that when a consumer comes into the market for their particular product or service, they are able to mentally push aside all of the current advertising they are seeing and think of them. Traditionally, this was done by being memorable, consistent and by repeatedly marketing their unique selling position or USP. Given that traditional advertising breeds mistrust (Neilson did a study and found that we trust only 14% of the ads we see) can you imagine how expensive a traditional top of the mind awareness campaign can be? That's where social media comes and why it's the new top of mind.

SEO Is Super Important, But...

Let's face it. When people go to Google or other search engines it's because they are searching for an answer. It could be the answer to the question, "Where can I find the best deal on a 2010 Ford Fusion," or "Where can I find financing, my bank turned me down?" Whatever it happens to be they are searching because they DON'T know the answer.

What would happen if they did know the answers to those questions and instead of typing in a search query in some search engine somewhere they typed your URL into the address bar? Not only would there be a bigger chance that they would submit a lead but they would close at a higher rate as well, that's because you have already built trust with them by creating top of the mind awareness.

Of course you should ALWAYS optimize your website for search but you should also include social media induced top of the mind awareness strategies into your online marketing mix. Here are 5 tips to get you started in the right direction.

1. Start A Blog

There is no better way to create authority, top of the mind and influence than through the creation and authoring of your own blog. As I stated in the previous paragraphs the only reason somebody goes to a search engine is because they want an answer to a specific question but if they already know the answer before the need for an answer surfaces then you have done your job in creating top of mind awareness.

2. Create A Facebook Fan Page

Okay, I know, you've heard this before and you have a fan page but it's not all that you thought it would be, or what you were lead to think it would be. Most people will tell you that you should pitch on your fan page, and odds are you're probably not. In fact you're probably using it to showcase your customers, the exciting stuff that's going on in your world but still you're not seeing any return on time investment, its worthless right?

Of course it is, if you're NOT doing it the right way that is. What's the right way you ask? Engagement. Spend your time asking though provoking questions, running contests and giving stuff away. You want your fans (or likers?) to "like" your posts or better yet comment on them. Talk about local news, showcase that you're part of the community, in fact you can even allow other local business to start discussions on your fan page, this shows you are one of "us" instead of one of "them."

3. Don't Pitch, Let Others Do It For You

Strange isn't it? Strange that the less you pitch the more you sell from your social media efforts, but it's true! Look at what Ford has done with the Fiesta Movement, what can you do to get your fans, followers, customers, or other types of connections to create content for you? What if you did an ongoing, monthly contest where customers created videos about their experience with their sales person.

The rules could be that the sales person with the most videos got a bonus at the end of the month and each customer that created a video could win dinner for two. Of course they would have to label the video with the businesses name and upload it to YouTube to enter the contest but just think about how many videos you could have in just a few short months, these videos would most definitely build top of mind by influencing everybody that watches them.

4. Know Today's Customers

Customers today are too busy, skeptical, cautious, tired of all the sales pressure, and confused about all the choices available to them, you should adjust your marketing accordingly. What I mean by that is everything you do should address one or all of those. Social media is a great tool to do just that!

Battle Skepticism With: As I mentioned in the second paragraph, consumers only trust 14% of the ads they see but 78% of what a peer recommends. That's why it's essential that you get your customers to talk about you on their own social graphs, not only will that defeat skepticism it will build top of mind.

Addressing Cautious Customers: Answer every question, don't hide behind half answers because you just want to get them in the store. Know that today's customer wants to know ALL the facts before they comment. You could address this through blogs and FAQ's.

Forgo The Sales Pressure: You could have the least amount of sales pressure of all your competitors but if you talk about yourself too much on your social networks people will equate that to sales pressure and will cost you business and top of mind.

Helping Busy Customers: We're too busy these days to spend time haggling price, searching for the right deal or shopping around. Showcase the fact that you willing go the extra mile by getting your past customers to comment about or create videos on, how much time you saved them.

End The Confusion: Choices are everywhere and its easier than ever to shop around with the click of a mouse. But, with that, comes confusion. While we all like choices, the more there is the more confused people become. Most people don't have the time to research all their choices but there are a lot of things you can do to help them with that. For instance you could do a video showcasing your product, taking the time to explain exactly what it is, what it does and the many features it has. Don't use these videos to pitch but to showcase your products.

5. Top of Mind By Association

Being part of the clubs, groups, or associations your customers are part of is a great way to build top of mind. I don't what you to think of social media as just ONLINE, take away the technology aspect of it and you are left with people, people talking to people. Of course there are many different online groups you can be part of as well but think about where you can go in your local market and network. If you really want to create top of mind get out there and talk to people. When somebody has the need for your product they will think of you because you are already being accepted by their peers. That's influence by association.

Social Media Is Top Of Mind

Use it wisely, create a strategy and stick to it. Social marketing won't happen overnight but one day you will wake up see a ton of leads in your inbox, a ton more traffic to your website and dozens more calls and think that it did happen overnight. Embrace the new media but embrace it smartly, take advantage of it and give, give, give. Top of mind will be yours!

David Johnson is the Digital Marketing Strategist For and Next Generation Dealer Services.

Views: 68

Tags: awareness, media, mind, of, social, top


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Comment by David Johnson on May 22, 2010 at 6:29pm
Thank you Chris! I agree with what you said about social media being what the top sales people have been doing for years. There are a lot of people that haven't made that connection yet. In other words, in order to be successful with social media you have to execute the fundamentals of sales and the only way to do that is by following up, building relationships and influencing word of mouth.

So what do you think, does social media make us better sales people? At least in terms of prospecting, following up, and building a book of business?
Comment by Chris Hanson on May 22, 2010 at 6:16pm
Great post as usual David. Social Media is interesting in that it is really just taking those fundamental things that the top salespeople have been doing for the last few years and just adapting it more to the Internet, to Social Media (and of course becoming students of Social Media by learning from the experts like you because there is a lot to learn and keep up with).
Comment by David Johnson on May 18, 2010 at 11:04am
I have a very similar rule that I use, thank you for sharing! I'm fond of saying that the less you pitch the more you sell using social media, after all social media is all about creating the types of customers who create other customers and in my opinion there is no better way of doing that consistently than through the use of social media.

Jodi, thank you for commenting!
Comment by Jodi Palmer on May 18, 2010 at 10:53am
Social media can be very powerful as a way to elevate awareness and top of mind recognition; however it's only a tool. It's critical to approach it strategically and determine which "channel" to start with. You don't have to be everywhere at once. And I approach it from the standpoint of having my other critical marketing ducks in a row first before launching new time consuming initiatives. Keep in mind that each social media channel will require about 32 hours each month to keep it up-to-speed.

What ever can make the process easier for the consumer is a good thing and it will reap dividends for the dealer. I recently saw stats indicating that 21% of consumers would prefer to buy their vehicle online. Why? 36% said price discounts, 28% said they don't want to interact/negotiate in person with a dealer, 22% ease and speed of transaction. (Cars Online 09/10) The same report mentioned that consumers are willing to pay more for convenience and superior customer service--$100-$500 more! It's something they want AND they are willing to pay more for it.

Something else to keep in mind from a social media webinar I just attended included a breakdown of what type of content to include in social networks. It's not all about "pushing cars" or "me, me, me", a company called Social Media Delivered calls it their Social Media Equation(R) that should be used to dictate social media content:
o 20% informing
o 20% entertaining (make them laugh)
o 40% Interacting
o 20% converting into business

Building awareness via social media integrated seamlessly into your overall strategy can be an extremely effective way to build positive awareness. Disregarding some of the "fuzzy" guidelines and marketing fundamentals for social media can easily change your brand awareness, however not in the right direction you want to go.

Just some food for thought.
Comment by David Johnson on May 18, 2010 at 9:18am
So true, it's a constant conversation! Thank you for the comments Patti!!
Comment by Patti Swanson on May 18, 2010 at 8:20am
Clarity, you delivered. I'm sure you've had the conversations with dealers, and for that matter many other organizations and individuals, where they're frustrated and think social media is a waste of time; well planned and executed, it could be their gold mine! Glad to be on the same team with you! Keep the good information coming...............
Comment by David Johnson on May 18, 2010 at 8:07am
Patti, you are absolutely right, too many are dabbling, not enough dealerships are seeing any return on their time investments. My hope with this post is to bring some clarity to this whole new media thing and show dealers just how social media fits into their marketing mix.

Bruce, I'm happy that you found it useful! Let us all know how it goes.
Comment by Bruce L. Roffey on May 18, 2010 at 7:53am
I love it. We are always looking for ways to leverage our over the top customer service into market advantage. I will implement the free dinner idea, that is good stuff!
Comment by Patti Swanson on May 18, 2010 at 7:09am
David: Great post. You succinctly explain how social media, done right, helps companies own the space between their customers ears when its time to make a purchase decision. (love the definition) Many are dabbling, but fewer are following the right formula and executing it correctly.
Comment by David Johnson on May 17, 2010 at 8:38am
Ralph, I agree! It is a great quote!

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