March 2, 2014

Rachel Strella

What Can Social Media Really Do For A Business?

How to use social media for businessSometimes I feel like a broken record when it comes to managing the expectations surrounding social media and what it can do for a business.  I must provide a lot of education about what social media is and how it fits into the marketing pie.  I find that these concepts need constant reinforcement.

This blog is both my reminder and my plea.

For the record, businesses that hope to capitalize on social media must have a strong foundation in place – including operations, marketing and commitment. There has to be a mindset for social media – it’s not the same as nor should it replace advertising or traditional marketing outlets. It’s a two-way communications vehicle, which should be integrated with other forms of communication.

This synergy is what puts social media at the top of the sales funnel. Speaking of sales, here’s a #Strella service announcement: Money is an outcome - it’s not a goal. Better goals for social media purposes include things like driving website traffic and increasing reach.  These are the types of things we measure for our clients.

Social media is a platform for building new or enhancing current relationships.  But, how do we really measure relationships anyway?  Do we check the meter every time we talk with a friend?  Of course not. So why do businesses feel they need to quantify every ‘like’ or piece of engagement? Simply offer value to move the needle with the know/like/trust process.

Even a business that meets its marketing goals cannot be guaranteed that sales will follow. And, that does not mean it’s a marketing problem.  If there’s a lack of conversion, there are myriad of factors that could be involved – and I urge a business to go back and evaluate the foundational elements, namely operations or website functionality.  And while it can be unnerving, it’s critical to evaluate the market need for a service or product, how it compares to the competition and the ease by which customers can move through the sales process.

Once both marketing and sales goals are achieved, a business will still need to evaluate frequently. Changes happen daily – in the economy, in relationships and in social media.  A social media plan requires constant reinvention in order to remain relevant and engaging.

Social media has given us an unprecedented opportunity to build relationships and communicate with customers and prospects. Rather than asking what social media can do for a business, perhaps we should ask how social media can help a business do more for its customers.

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11 comments on “What Can Social Media Really Do For A Business?”

  1. Well done. Businesses take heed: The last thing you want to do is collect all your advertising, marketing and direct mail content and push it into your social channels. Social is a new paradigm and it requires fresh content and a different way of thinking about how you market your brand.

  2. All forms of new media have an uphill battle.

    I think the exceptionally relational aspect of social media efforts are often misunderstood.

    Traditional marketing is based on Interrupting --getting attention to tell message loudly and hopefully --get a sale.

    In a noisy world this stops working. People tune out.

    The new marketing of our age gets permission to inform, educate, and build a deeper bond to *earn* a sale.

    Yes, a HUGE PARADIGM SHIFT. I'm not sure most people understand this.

    A comprehensive plan ties in a variety of channels and tactic to build something longer lasting.

    Maybe it's a weird comparison...but I think it works a bit like this:

    If a caring pastor visits you when you are sick, hurting or in may end up giving more to the church to support the pastor and the associated helpful ministries.
    Can you track a spike in giving each month b/c of it? Doubtful. But, over time, the investment will mean a lot on many levels, if the investment was sincere in the first place...maybe it will mean more participation and grateful people helping out to pay it forward, maybe it will mean growth in attendance or a community feel.....and it will probably mean more giving too. It's just harder to track! 🙂

    1. I think a disconnect occurs when businesses treat social media the same as advertising. For many, it's another 'thing' to do or pay someone to do. The overarching mentality is to get it off their plate. This is a problem.

  3. Social Media is where, in my opinion, is where people can interact with you in a personal yet professional manner.

    I liken it to the true life socials that people attend. It's a networking opportunity. If you enter the social looking like Belushi in Animal House, no one is going to talk to you.

    It is a place to meet people and plant seeds not only for your business but theirs as well.

    If one enters a social environment with the intention of passing out 50 business cards, obtaining 25 emails and 30 phone numbers it won't work out as intended.

    The next social (if you are even invited) people will be more on guard and your results will be even less.

    Slow and low - that is the tempo...

    1. Bob,

      Agree 100% - social media can break down barriers and get to know people on a human level. Social media is like F2F networking - only better because we can eliminate the need to commute! 🙂

  4. Oh I feel your pain Rachel... so many business owners really just miss it when it comes to social media. For some reason they don't see this amazing opportunity as part of an overall marketing strategy but as something that the 'office junior' can do for them ... or even worse they can't see the value in it! If they set a strategy for social media and integrate it into their overall marketing plan, make a commitment to it like any other key objective, they might start to see the results.

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