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How social media + email drives sales

What we're talking about around Emma

A hot topic around the Emma office this week was the recent Kissmetrics article that analyzed the challenge of using social media channels to convert people into paying customers.

We like to talk around Emma. A lot. We had way too many opinions to fit in the area around our office water cooler, so they spilled over into the blog. Feel free to leave a comment and join the conversation.

Mary Foster, Christopher Lester and Cynthia Price

What's your take on the article’s conclusion that people don’t want to be customers on social media?

Mary Foster, Social Media Specialist: It’s not all that surprising. Social is one of the lowest-performing channels for us in terms of conversions as well. But we’ve never really treated social as a sales tool.

Cynthia Price, Director of Partner Development: Exactly. You shouldn’t approach social with those sales goals in mind. Social was built as a community so you have to think of it in that way. You have to think about engagement as a different measurement of success than actual conversion to buy.

Hana Crume, Client Insights Lead: I think direct sales pushes don’t work with a lot of people because there is a lack of trust there. Retailers have to think about how to use social to build a relationship with customers and an experience around what they’re trying to sell.

Grey Garner, Market Strategist: I think your content has to be genuine and conversational. It has to be transparent, and it has to be human. But I don’t think that means you can’t talk about what you do. And if there is something good or special to share, then you can interject that into the conversation in the same way that you interject “Hey, I just got a great deal at a local shop. You should go check it out.”

Christopher Lester, Director of Concierge: You have to look at social through your customers' eyes. What benefits them and what makes their time interacting with you through this medium better? Is this going to help them? These are important questions that enough brands don’t ask.

Mary: Right. Help potential customers or existing customers feel connected to your brand through photos, inside sneak peeks or lifestyle types of content. If you’re selling jewelry, would it be more beneficial to post an ad for the jewelry or to share photos of celebrities wearing your jewelry? Probably the second one.

Hana: And while you might not get the clickthrough to convert from your social channels, there is still huge value in nurturing that potential customer and building that relationship, which will be crucial to the eventual sale.

Christopher: Yes, things that make your brand seem more relevant to folks and help them align with you stronger ultimately drive those buying experiences.

Grey Garner, Hana Crume and Jeff Slutz

The article showed that email is a more successful channel for customer acquisition than Facebook or Twitter. Why do you think that is?

Grey: Strictly from a sales and commerce perspective, I think email has a huge role to play in terms of taking those social touch points and actually having a conversion. I think it is the ROI channel in that respect. But it can be driven by great experience on social channels.

Cynthia: Each of those social touch points inch you closer to a conversion, but I feel like email is the best at pushing further down the funnel to where you might make a purchase.

Christopher: It’s really a series of small conversions. Social is a great way to create brand awareness that will convert me to hear from you via email, and then email converts me to landing on your website with some intention where I would ultimately make a purchase.

Grey: And I think people’s expectation around email for interacting with brands is that it’s less about having a conversation, because it isn’t a conversation. It’s a push channel at that point. So the expectation is “I’m going to receive deals.”

Cynthia: If I get a coupon in my inbox, then it feels like I got something special, like it’s something that maybe only I got. I don’t know if everybody else got it. There’s something about email that makes it feel more unique and personal.

Mary: It’s because you can segment your audience in email in a way that you can’t in social. Personalized emails can be relevant, timely and offer some awesome exclusive sale or perk. So personally, I find it a better sales conversion channel. And I think the numbers in the article show that too.

How are we using social at Emma to engage our followers?

Cynthia: For us, it’s about pulling back the curtain on what goes on inside these walls, how we think about things, how we build things, how we engage with our customers.

Mary: For example, we have an Instagram account. We’re obviously not trying to sell new Emma accounts on Instagram, but it’s a fun way to give people who like us an inside look into Emma.

Christopher: Brands that get it put out quality thought leadership and cultural pieces that remind folks that there are actual people that work here, and they have passions in life beyond what we do everyday. It helps people feel a connection and builds trust with your brand.

Grey: And we also have a notion of karma in what we’re doing in that the majority of what we’re doing is sharing content that we don’t write. So there’s a little bit of that giving back idea and approaching it in the right way that brings some credibility.

Hana: Which is important because people have much better BS detectors than they used to. They can tell when a brand is making an authentic connection versus when they’re trying to sell something.

Christopher: People are always worried about how to communicate B2B with social, but those aren’t just businesses or customers. They’re people. If you’re really a relevant brand, you’re wanting them to buy because you feel your product is going to make their lives better. And I’m not just talking about email marketing, because I mean, there are times that a new pair of jeans will make my life better.