Social Media Shouldn't Get a Pass on Sales Performance

Social engagement, behavioral marketing, interruptive marketing... we are drowning in a sea of catchy terms that often repeat what we have always known. Today's digital marketing opportunities bring customer word-of-mouth selling to a new level.

Social media is here to stay and prosper -- in the right hands.

Social media alone will not do the job

Social media mavens sometimes make the mistake of assuming that social media will simply take over the marketing world and that interruptive marketing will fade away into irrelevance.

What arrogance. In a sense, such social media proponents are saying they know more about marketing in their short exposure to the field paying little to no attention to a large body of knowledge they would do well to learn.

How does one talk about a product or service in social media that no one knows about? It can rarely happen online or in social media alone. But no sane investor or advertiser will want to put all of his eggs in a single basket hoping for phenomenal exposure in the absence of traditional media support.

As important as email open rates and clickthroughs are or the quantity of likes on your social media webpage, do not allow your programs to proceed without requiring sales performance somewhere along the way. Ultimately, the investors, CEO, CFO and other C players expect profitable sales. And no strategy -- including the social media strategy -- will get a pass on spending company resources without solid proof that it builds profitable revenue at sufficient volumes to warrant the expense.

The social media strategy must validate its resource allocation 

As ClickSquared's Senior VP of Marketing Dan Smith puts it: “If you can’t track the results of social engagement on business performance, this should be troubling to you as a business leader.”

In an informative white paper published by Click2 and Peppers&RogersGroup entitled "Creating a One-to-One Dialogue Through Social Interaction," the authors position social media in its proper context.

"Unlike other online marketing strategies (e.g., behavioral targeting), social marketing provides companies with tremendous opportunities to connect with individual customers in a deep and meaningful way, enhancing social engagement as a result. 'Ultimately, it’s about moving from broadcast to unicast, and making that one-to-one connection with the customer,' says ClickSquared’s Smith. 'Because once you’ve developed that one-to-one relationship, great things can happen.' ”

The bridge to the sale is critical to the success of social media

So go for customer/prospect engagement remembering that engagement does not guarantee sales any more than awareness advertising did in years past. Customer engagement and interest in the product and awareness of its benefits require a bridge to the sale.

Keep your strategies in balance for a successful financial outcome. 

Posted on August 24, 2012 and filed under Social Media.