Social Media and Sales

I wrote an article a few months back, “Selling Under the Social Media Umbrella”, in which I described more or less, the evolution that took place that brought us to where we are today. So, fast forward six months and look how much it seems to have changed.

People are coming out of the woodwork to claim instant superiority as social media gurus. It seems most are saying they can increase exposure, double sales, and increase your bottom line. Here’s a suggestion, ask for proof! I did from one such claim only to be told it was confidential information. What!? This is not to say they cannot be of some help, they can, it just some precautions. The problem with social media today is it is too raw an avenue to have “experts”. You can have some experience, but only to a point, but certainly not experts. Those proclaiming themselves as experts are grabbing from their legacy marketing experience and throwing the social media cover over your eyes. “Buyer Tread with Caution”.

Social Media takes time and a lot of commitment with the understanding that it is a continuous process; one that you just do not jump into. Social media is not for every business or industry. The smaller the organization, the least benefit it reaps. The reason is fairly simple. The amount of time involved is prohibitive. Smaller businesses simply do not have the resources. This is about the time they begin to look for help. The problem is, they are not sure what type of help they really need, they simply believe it is a quick way to help their business. Unfortunately,  they turn to and rely on the self-proclaimed “experts“.

I believe social media should be called “Commercial Media”. This avenue is best exploited by bigger industries that have a much larger ROI. Bigger industries have the stamina for the long-term. Let me stop here and explain something. Social media is not the same as social networking; either for business or pleasure. Social media is an evolving source of communication. I am not saying there is any benefit to smaller companies, rather smaller companies simply cannot expect the plethora of return an organization with a huge marketing budget can expect.

Social media is an offshoot of marketing. Like any other marketing campaign, a social media campaign’s success is in the execution. If done correctly, the impact can be huge. Done poorly, social media will be deemed a failure as a medium of information dissemination.

For the foreseeable future, social media will be a passive path for sales. It will eventually evolve into an active path, but not for some time. Social networking will be the next path for commercial business despite the muddling around of those that now view it has a fad.

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Happy Selling!

Ed Warner

4 thoughts on “Social Media and Sales

  1. Hi Ed,

    I saw this from another site and wanted to post my comments. I agree that it is a buzz word type of media, but I do think it has some value to small organizations. They just need to understand where and how much social media can help them.
    I think it will become a heavy hitter when it “grows up” but in the mean time it is still in the fad mode.

    Ray

  2. Ed,

    You make some great points about the Bandwagon aspects of the Social Media movement.

    If viewed, as you suggest, as a part of a company’s overall marketing campaign, I beleive small businesses have a great deal to gain from the engagement and customer intimacy that are the foundations of inbound marketing.

    Many small companies actually have an advantage in the use of social media platforms. A firm that knows itself, understands its customer base and is serious about its connections with the community is a social media star in the making.

    Thanks.

    Ed

  3. Thank you for your comments. A direct connection between Sales and Social Media may be closer than you think. You may wish to review our previous blog post – July 24, 2009 – The Holy Grail of Social Networking ROI – on http://www.salesmarketingforum.blogs.com/

    The posting discribes how Social Networking ROI can establish a direct connection between an individual’s posting / response activity on a social site to specific leads in your contact database. These leads can be
    follow-up converted in a similar manner as a email click -through.

  4. I agree with your comment, “The problem with social media today is it is too raw an avenue to have “experts””. However, as you state it seems that the majority of those selling their Social Media services call themselves an expert.

    Our company just recently started providing Social Media services but with the caveat that we are all learning this new marketing medium together.

    I’m a true believer that if you take it step-by-step you will gain so much more than trying to do it all, and keeping it simple.

    I thank you for the article it really puts this in perspective.

    Katrina

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