by Mike Hallaron
SM Marketer Matt Heinze writes:
“But this (social media) isn’t an opportunity for selling. It’s an opportunity to engage and become part of the community – add value, answer questions, provide valuable content. Earn trust, respect and credibility. Community engagement and social media are at the very top of the buying cycle, before the sales cycle, and it doesn’t really matter which part of the organization manages and executes there, as long as the approach is right.” (read more of Matt’s article Aligning Social Media Marketing and PR)
Well said, but we are left with the question whether social media is solely suited to brand-related marketing goals and public relations rather than actual product or service sales. What does SM hold for marketers and business drivers seeking to impact the bottomline through direct sales?
Many of our small business customers want to increase the reach of their brand and build a network of friends, fans, and potential new customers. Let’s face it though, these companies are more concerned with finding new sales first.
Defining Social Media Goals Vital
Avoiding social media miscues becomes easier when your marketing goals are defined before putting your strategy into effect. Know what results you want. I believe B2B and most B2C clients will find investment into their website experience will pay bigger sales dividends than social media. For local market SMB’s, traditional advertising (gasp!) and online ad strategies will produce more sales than a Facebook business account or LinkedIn group.
This does not mean that they should skip social media. Not at all. A well crafted social media strategy can help with marketing goals other than sales.
Choose Your Social Media Business Goals
- web presence
- customer loyalty
- customer service and support
- brand recognition
- human resources
- business intelligence
- reputation management
Social media is about direct, two-way engagement between brand and consumer. It should be authentic, not contrived. This means actual staffers participating as opposed to just pushing out one-way, old school press releases through ghost writers using a new megaphone… in this case Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Know the difference.