At the recent Target Marketing webinar, “The Secrets of Social Media Lead Generation,” some listeners asked questions like, “I don’t know how to start dialog with potential customers on Facebook and need to turn friends and ‘likes’ into leads and sales … can you tell me how?” If you’re asking similar questions, you’re not alone.
In September 2010, I profiled AnchorBank’s “function before form” approach to online lead generation—where the bank caters to customers using helpful advice like an industrial designer uses ergonomics. In a nutshell, what sets AnchorBank apart from other banks is its systematic approach to content marketing. The bank focuses on solving customers’ problems and prioritizes how, when, and where helpful tips and tricks get distributed to customers.
Yes, AnchorBank’s content is relevant to solving typical financial problems that customers experience, but success lies in a system that prompts customers to express need—then nurtures it and captures sales. That’s the key. But what happens when processes aren’t planned so well?
Chase +1 Campaign
Acquiring new accounts was Chase’s focus with its Chase +1 Facebook campaign aimed at students. But students actually needing Chase’s card weren’t given an opportunity to move toward it. In its first foray, Chase failed to give students answers—such as tools that improved their ability to manage finances. As a result, Chase didn’t gain new, first-time credit card customers using Facebook.
Chase created awareness for its Facebook campaign by investing in banner ads that invited students to join a Facebook group page. The group was designed for students who wanted to learn about the new Chase +1 credit card product.
Chase also offered group members the chance to earn redeemable points for spreading the word about the Chase +1 card. In the end, points could be “cashed-in” for DVDs and other merchandise. About 34,000 students participated in the initial campaign.
Unfortunately, Chase’s Facebook group had no means to prompt, or capture information on, students’ actual state of need. For instance, did the students Chase attracted need a card? If so, what credit line and services did they expect? When might they need one? The bank communicated with Chase +1 group members about once a month and used Facebook to deliver announcements about the product. Essentially, the bank advertised rather than educate students on getting the most from credit cards.
Use Social for More
Think about Chase’s problem in “social” terms: The bank failed to leverage what mattered most to students, making it nearly impossible to prompt them to apply for its card in a social environment. For instance, the bank didn’t design a system that hooked and followed up with students. In effect, Chase didn’t generate applications on leads that could be pursued and closed. It simply got exposure for the new card.
At the time, this campaign was heralded as a win based on the number of fans generated and the involvement of several hundred student “ambassadors” who weighed in. These students gave feedback on how the Facebook program was designed, but this kind of listening merely amounts to a digital focus group—market research. It wasn’t part of a sales-focused process.
Paul Adams, Facebook’s global brand experience manager, puts it very bluntly when he says, “We’re still seeing the fans and followers arms race—businesses trying to gather as many fans as possible. But I think that’s fundamentally wrong.”
When asked if there is too much focus on the total number of Twitter followers, friends or Facebook “likes,” he is equally blunt.
“Many brands run competitions on social media platforms. You have to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ that business to enter. So the question is whether they are making connections with advocates of their brands or with people who simply love competitions,” says Adams in an interview with O’Reilly Radar.