Can Social Media Achieve Your Goals?

by admin on May 20, 2013


Http://LeonardSipes.Com and Http://MyLifeAudio.Com

Many of the articles I place on this site are reminders that social media still has a way to go as to being a communications platform that convinces people to take a specific action (buy-give-participate).

Social media seems to be great for branding, information gathering and damage control but when it comes to what professional marketers do to get you to buy-give-participate, social is still dominated by ads on websites, television, radio and print.

A very recent article on ProBlogger states that they get 10 times the number of book sales via e-mail when compared to their social media network of 600,000 contacts.

So why is social a less than adequate platform for driving sales?

Reasons as to why social lags?

1. Social is best suited for the exchange of  information between friends and colleagues; friends share information on Facebook, business is conducted on LinkedIn and news (however defined) happens on Twitter.

2. Social is built on rewards for customer participation. One reward is that the company or organization is listening and responding to your concerns. Does that happen?

I may love Jeeps and subscribe to their Facebook page but if I contact Jeep  I expect an answer. But many organizations have been dismal at responding .

And just because someone responds doesn’t mean that the interaction is satisfying. Comcast replied to a concern of mine through Twitter and the result was less than satisfactory.

If social wants to drive sales it needs give me a satisfactory experience through unique content,  offering me something special or by taking care of me as a customer.

Loyalty drives engagement. Unique content keeps me interested. Special offers get me to buy.

Two research reports from Marketing Charts illustrate both concepts:

Social media as a driver of sales:

There is previous data from Marketing Charts stating that the bulk of advertising focuses on websites, television, radio and print.

The research below cites preferred methods of digital advertising.

Getting Customers to a store:

Some retailers aren’t sold on the concept of digital channels being the primary driver of future growth, at the expense of stores. But most do see the value of digital channels in driving traffic to stores – and they have some thoughts on which work best once the consumer is actually in (my emphasis) the store.

Results from RSR Research’s “The Relevant Store in the Digital Age” reveal that nearly all retailers see their e-commerce sites as having a lot (58%) or some (38%) value in driving traffic to stores. 87% recognize that smartphones have a lot (50%) or some (37%) value in driving store traffic.

Other digital channels that retailers see as valuable in driving foot traffic are their mobile applications or websites (88%) and their email communications (91%).

While retailers are a bit less confident about the ability of their social networking efforts to bring in consumers, 84% still see a lot (33%) or some (51%) value to their social media presence.

Bottom-line? Social has the lowest score compared to other forms of digital.

Delivering in-store sales:

When it comes to actually delivering sales in-store, social networking presence and email communications are even less highly rated.

How business responds to contacts via social media:

Socialbakers has released its latest “Socially Devoted” figures for Q1, and the results are a mixed bag. On the one hand, the average response rate grew 6% points quarter-over-quarter to 38%.

But on the other hand, that means that significantly fewer than half of questions posted to brands’ Twitter profiles were answered (my emphasis added).

What’s more, the average response time increased by 10%.

By comparison, brands answered 60% of the questions posed to them by Facebook fans in Q1.

Looking at the most recent Twitter data the most “socially devoted” industries were:

  • Finance (62.8% of questions answered, up from a leading 46.1% in Q4);
  • Airlines (53.2%, up from 45.7%); and
  • Telecom (46.1%, up slightly from 43.5%).

Alcohol (15.6%), electronics (16.7%) and automotive (20.7%) languished at the bottom, although each improved from the prior quarter to some degree, with the alcohol sector roughly doubling its response rate.


I remain bullish that social media will eventually dominate marketing and do a better job of driving sales-donations-participation.

But we need to acknowledge that we have a way to go to move social beyond branding, crisis communications and information collection.

Social needs to build loyalty through unique content, special offers and satisfactory answers to questions or comments.

Best, Len.

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