In the fast-paced world of social media, it’s easy to assume that ideas from just last year are passé. The concept of AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) as a model for marketing success has been around for over a hundred years.
AIDA is not even “so last century,” it is “so 19th century.” Given its age, you might be wondering why I’m even bringing it up. The answer?
Some Things are Timeless
Over the years, AIDA has served many marketers as an enduring process for constructing everything from sales letters to advertisements. Winning in marketing requires the ability to apply timeless concepts like this in new ways, connecting the best of the past with a vision for the future.
As branding has moved into the social media arena, some firms have done a better job than others adapting concepts that have worked in the past to new channels of communication. Companies succeed are adept at carrying forward time-tested marketing techniques and marrying them with new technology.
AIDA in Social Media
Curious how can AIDA help you with your B2B social media branding? We’ll start by recapping what it means. The AIDA acronym outlines a process for moving a prospect from ignorance (lack of awareness) of your offerings to active participation in your sales funnel. It works like this:
- Attention – People stop and take notice.
- Interest – They turn their heads and watch for a while.
- Desire – People decide they like what they see.
- Action – They follow thought to get what they want.
Each step in this process can be applied to B2B branding. Here’s how:
Attention: social media is all about getting attention. It’s a “look at me” environment in which attention flares and fades almost instantaneously. Today’s trending tweets are tomorrow digital discards.
As a B2B marketer, you can get attention for your brand in many ways. Posting pics of your drunken coworkers at the company party may get lots of attention, but not in a good way. To get the right kind of attention, you need content and postings with relevant stopping power.
Speak to your audience personally in a creative AND professional way. Then quickly move your audience to the next step in the process. Fail to do this and all you’ve accomplished is capturing fleeting attention. You might be able to leverage this later, but why wait?
Interest: Moving from attention to interest can be the most difficult step in the process. Because attention is some ephemeral, it’s critical for B2B marketers to generate real interest immediately.
An awesome hook or headline will capture attention and generate enough interest for a prospect to read a post, follow your tweets or otherwise lurk on the sidelines while they learn more about your business.
Interest goes hand in hand with action. You may enjoy a seamless transition from interest to action when a prospect reads a tweet, clicks on a link and downloads a white paper. But there’s a step missing in this scenario, and it’s a vital one to sealing the deal.
Desire: Interest and action without desire creates a mass of unqualified leads. This might be OK if those contacts can be nurtured to create desire over time, or if they may become brand advocates or influencers and recommenders in your B2B sales process. If not, you’ve got a hole in your funnel that needs to be plugged.
When prospects want what they see, their action (next step) takes on new meaning. The reason behind the action is a genuine motivation to learn more.
From a branding perspective, desire must be about connecting with your company more than craving the incentive. The offer that inspires action must, must, must have a clear link to your brand value.
A $50 gift card for doing a demo might generate a lot of desire and result is prospects taking action, but when the money is spent, will there be any accrued value for your brand? Probably not.
Action: As you can see from the examples above, actions in social media are much more than sales. Savvy B2B brands understand that social media actions are simply steps on the path to purchase. As such, they should create affinity for your brand.
In B2B branding, you must have a clear view of how the actions you entice your audience to take build a connection with your brand. Are they designed to reinforce your brand personality or value proposition? Do they help prospects see how your business fits with theirs?
Typical calls to action offered through social media are digital signups for things like white papers, demos, free trials and webinars. Maybe even a free consultation, an ebook or a contest. When you use these, do they reinforce your brand?
As the final step in the AIDA cycle, consider how do these items inspire action that furthers a relationship with your brand:
- Do they provide an opportunity to take a connection offline, so a sales rep can start a conversation with a prospect?
- Do they help articulate how your B2B brand is different from competitors?
- Will the action create trust in your brand, or generate feelings of goodwill?
When applying AIDA for B2B branding in social media, start with the fundamentals in mind. Focus on the actions that help build brand value, and work back form there to create attention-grabbing social media campaigns that get attention from the right prospects, inspire interest and fuel desire to keep the conversation moving.