Social Media for Business 101- from Converstion to Contract

Quite often I am involved in discussions and debates about why business will or wont adopt Social Media. Generally these arise because Social media is generally talked about in non hard edge business terms and the focus is on the warm and fuzzy.  People (inc me) talk about numbers and stats, communities ans conversations when business wants to know about customers and sales.

There is an old business adage – Nothing Happens until Someone Sells Something!!

So when I read stories about why business should be using social media I generally draw on my past experience in sales and managing sales to teams to analyse what will turn business on about Social Media.

The first thing that comes to mind is the need for some cultural change and some organisational change for Social Media to thrive in business.  Marketing, PR, Customer Service and Sales need to take down the walls and work as one team to leverage Social Media for real business benefits. Having done that they can focus on getting from conversation to contract.

Recently I sparked a great discussion around this topic on Twitter by asking why would business adopt Social Media if it didn’t deliver direct bottom line benefits ….

My question was –  If businesses join Social Networks to sell ….. but nobody ever joins to buy…. why should business bother.

It was a very useful exercise and unearthed many opinions and in the end I think there was some consensus ti the views I presented. Combining the feedback with our experience in working with a variety of clients … and my direct experience in sales and marketing with companies small and large, local and multinational I have come up with some basics for business:

Tell genuine stories to build awareness & credibility and engage buyers in conversation with a focus on making sales and develop long-term loyalty,that’s what business should reasonably expect from Social Media not warm and fuzzy PR and shout out advertising.

A Social Media Campaign must deliver

Awareness/Perception/Credibility

+ Consideration and genuine interest

+ Willingness to try and buy

+ Loyalty and ongoing alignment

+ Advocacy and “ownership”

Some basic rules

Be What You Say …..  and ….   Say What You Be

Talk about the benefits you bring to people   Not about how good your organisation is

Have others tell your story for you

At the end of the day Social Media is old-fashioned business it’s about building Sales by Listening, Building Credibility, Solving Problems and Word of Mouth Marketing.

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