There are so many companies posting and tweeting and still don’t know how it contributes to their business. Social marketing must be understood if it has any chance of helping your business. And I am still amazed at how many people are looking for the wrong results social marketing yields.
Recently it was reported that social media does not lead to sales. In fact a Bloomberg headline even stated “Social Media’s Diminished Impact on Business”! We do not completely disagree but focusing social marketing on sales results is flawed.
I have worked with a number of brands the past three years on digital marketing strategies and my response is the same as day one working on social marketing strategies.
1) Social media is not good for direct sales.
2) Social media is great for business.
Yes, sales are the most important metric in business, but business leaders need to recognize that there are complex and numerous stages that lead to a sale. There are also very important post-sale stages and activities that define sustained sales. Pre- and post-sale activities and metrics are the strengths of social marketing.
A recent eMarketer article revealed that for social marketing, “engagement is the primary metric, used by 23.3% of respondents. However, measuring increased sales was still high on the list, pointing to the fact that some marketers still expect to get a dollar conversion out of their social efforts.” While it is nice to see that marketers recognize the importance of “engagement,” they need to take social marketing one step further and relate engagement to business KPIs. Thus the approach of measuring awareness, consideration, loyalty, and advocacy should be considered as these attributes tee up sales.
Marketers need to stop assessing social marketing as a last click sales enabler. Successful social marketing conditions the right target audience behavior to create brand preference teeing up sales and creating post sales loyalty and advocacy. Social marketing must be integrated in other digital marketing efforts that produce sales. Social marketing is not the end all for marketing success. It is an important aspect that needs to be integrated into a holistic marketing strategy and plan.
Don’t aim for sales in social marketing. Understand social’s role in shaping your target audiences brand preference and behavior. Werd.