Social media is not's why

Image: Flickr, Phil Roeder

Hello, there!

I hope you had a great weekend.

Social media is a hot topic these days and there continues to be lots of discussion about it.

Among the topics commonly debated are which strategies work best, if ROI is measurable, and what (if any) benefits companies can receive from it.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review considers this last point and argues that social media does not translate directly into sales for a company and is therefore useless.

So…are companies wasting their time on social media?

A response article by ZDNet interviewed marketing and analyst experts for their thoughts on this and in short, here’s what they said:

-There are clear use cases for social media that produce measurable results such as:

                -Monitoring social conversations for product issues to fix before the issues affect the                            majority

                -Providing sales reps real-time intel to enhance their sales productivity

-Social media  builds long-term relationships with customers

              -Humans make decisions based on trust, need and likeability and social media gives                             brands the opportunity to earn that

              -Intangible relationships eventually lead to tangible results

-Social networks allow brands to amplify content

              -Brands can give customers valuable, real-time information they want unlike other                              mediums

I agree with the marketing and analyst experts and would also add that social media is translating directly into sales for several companies/brands. For example:

                -Speakers utilize social networks to drive leads to their main website and track how many                   paid speaking opportunities were booked due to social media promotion

                -Restaurants listen for customer tweets about being hungry and answer them directly with                 a unique link to place an order online for food delivery from their restaurant (and track                     sales via the links or special landing site built for this social purpose)

                -Fashion retailers post photos of their merchandise on Pinterest with direct links to                           purchase the items on their online store and track sales from Pinterest via back-end                           analytics

                -Stores post a “secret word of the week” exclusively on their social channels that if given to                 the cashier, they receive a discount (and track sales through this unique, word of mouth                     promo code)

                -Companies hosting a conference promote unique links via its social channels to its                           registration website and track sales from how many individuals clicked the link and paid                   for their conference pass

                -Brands promote unique links to their website’s “request a demo” page for their product                   and track how many demos, and eventually, purchases were made that started with the                     links posted exclusively to social media

 In short, a company that has established measurable goals for social media and is actively pursuing them with a focused strategy is on its way to reaping the benefits of social networks.

And yes, some of those benefits can, and are, including direct sales.

Until next time,