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The Green Sheet Online Edition

July 27, 2015 • Issue 15:07:02

Why your social media marketing is failing

By Nancy Drexler
Acquired Marketing

Imagine that you run a restaurant. Like any business owner, you worry about increasing your sales, managing your overhead, keeping your customers satisfied and controlling your reputation. And there are simply not enough hours in the day. When you do find the time, you access the Internet for one of two reasons: to stay in touch with the people in your universe or to grow your business. To accomplish the latter, you look at industry trends, review new products, explore recipes and read local restaurant reviews.

Unsociable payment messages

Then this item pops up on your Facebook page: EMV is coming.

Or worse: We are ready for EMV. Are you?

What is your reaction?

  • This was not written for me.
  • I don't care what you are ready for.
  • I think I had that vaccine years ago.

Let's say you have a lull between the lunch and dinner rushes, so you do have a little time to read the post. You learn that it was written by WhateverPay, a business that can solve the Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) implementation issues you didn't know you had.

What do you do then?

  • Realize that WhateverPay cares about your business more than the company you are currently using and call WhateverPay immediately?
  • Find out who you currently use for payment processing and call that company immediately?
  • Get excited by the information and immediately send a connect request, become a Twitter follower and visit Whatever Pay's website?
  • Roll your eyes and move on to something not so distasteful?

Let's face it: there is nothing social about payment acceptance. Nothing. So why do we continue to post "all about us" messages on social media sites? When it comes to social media, we are an industry of fast followers. We learned that this new form of media was attracting millions of readers, and we jumped right on it. We moved our websites to WordPress templates and then to wide-screen, very white templates, and we said less in order to say more. We thought about all the things we could write about ourselves that would make us sound good and look good to all those online surfers.

How to do it right

But we forgot to think about the important stuff. Here are four tips to help you get the results you seek from social media marketing:

  1. Remember, as a marketing tool, social media is word of mouth on steroids. Social media provides marketers with a relatively inexpensive way to capture the attention of millions of prospects. But it works only when the content of the message is relevant, creative, interesting, exciting and, most importantly, worthy of sharing. Social media marketing is great for ice bucket challenges. Not so great for EMV. The bottom line: If you wouldn't talk about it at your dinner table, don't talk about it on social media. If your own spouse doesn't care, what makes you think millions of strangers might?
  2. Focus on what matters to prospects, not on your company. What happens when people talk about their payment processors? In print advertising, you post a message and hope a percentage of viewers will respond. On social media, you engage in conversation – which means that if you are lucky enough to engage some prospects and customers, you'd best be prepared to hear and respond to all the things they really want to say about you. And what do most businesses want to say about their credit card processors? When was the last time you gave a shout out to your electric company?

    The bottom line: Remember that you are speaking to individuals. Think back to the beginning of this article. If you want to build brand visibility and thought leadership among restaurateurs, be where they are (restaurant sites, menu sites, etc.) and tailor your messages to their interests and needs (it's about reducing overhead not complying with new EMV regulations).

  3. Adapt to how buying decisions are made. Like it or not, we are selling a commodity. You don't buy cable television on a Facebook page. You check for reviews, but there are other steps you take to make the purchase. What other steps must a viewer take to purchase your solutions? How easy do you make it for them to do that? How many times in the process will they be tempted to change their minds?

    The bottom line: Just because someone likes you, connects with you, follows you or notices you that doesn't mean the person is going to buy your product or service. Social media is one part of a marketing toolbox. You need the rest of the pieces.

  4. Be Dan Price. The Gravity Payments Chief Executive Officer took a million dollar pay cut and essentially gave the savings to his employees – on network television and many other media channels. The message was social, and the result is that Dan Price now has a lot of followers, connections and friends. Many of them are business owners or are themselves connected to business owners.

    When Dan Price posted about EMV on social media, he wrote, "Help us spread the word to avoid some of the predatory practices we've seen." With that one simple line, Dan did three important things: made the EMV message meaningful, encouraged sharing and reinforced his brand as an all-around great company that truly cares about small business owners.

    The bottom line: Marketing today is about building a personality for your company. Not just for today, but for years from now. People do business with people, not companies. If you keep changing your name, logos, colors and priorities, you are not being interesting; you are being schizophrenic.

    Decide who you are and will be, and then make sure everything you say and do reflects that brand.

And you thought it would be easy? end of article

Nancy Drexler is the President of Acquired Marketing, a boutique marketing firm for businesses in the payments industry. To learn more about what Acquired Marketing can do for you, visit www.acquiredmarketing.com, call 917-743-5258 or email ndrexler@acquiredmarketing.com.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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