Social Media created a signifcant change in the way we communicate with our markets. The promise of social media is the opportunity to connect, converse and engage in an ongoing manner with our prospects and buyers, as well as partners, thought leaders and others relevant to our industry.
But does that connection and conversation really contribute to the bottom line? Or are we fooling ourselves simply because everyone else is “doing” social media, so we have to “do it” too?
I can’t help but be reminded of the good old days when events were huge portions of marketing and sales budgets, whether they contributed to the bottom line or not.
- We had to go to those events because that’s where the buyers were.
- Every one of our competitors as there as well. Not being there would be the kiss of death to our future sales.
- We spent mega dollars on events, brought home cases of lead slips. Then our sales reps complained because the leads were no good. Seems all those attendees were tire kickers versus economic buyers with the power to write the check.
A comparison of social media to events might go something like this.
- We have to do social media because that’s where our buyers and prospects are hanging these days.
- Everyone else is on social media, so if we’re not there it looks bad for us.
- We seek social media popularity through our number of follows, likes, fans, circles and more.
- Our sales reps scour our social media fans and followers in search of potential buyers. Do they find economic buyers, or tire kickers?
One has to wonder….
Is Social Media the “Event” of our 21st Century Business?
I think the answer is that it depends on your market and your buyers. For some small business and smaller B2B vendors social media is a productive way to reach out and engage with buyers. For other businesses - say arge B2B businesses with big price tags, I have to believe social media is less productive.
How do you know if your business can drive revenue through social?
Here are a few questions you might ask.
- Less than 30% of executives have social media presence. If we’re a B2B business selling to those executives (who have the large check writing ability), are we fooling ourselves with the time and money spent on social media?
- Out of all our Followers and Fans and Circles – how many are actually potential buyers? Do we even know if they are buyers? If not – what are we doing spending time and dollars and our focus interacting with them?
- When it comes to social media and feedback – do we know if the feedback we hear is real and relevant? Or is it the angry, vocal folks who give feedback that isn’t representative of our best buying markets?
Then there are the strategic questions…
Is social media driving bottom line revenues?
Is Social Media simply a “must-have” for communication without any bottom line results, like our events of the past?
What other roles can Social Media play beyond simply driving revenue toward the bottom line? Is customer support/service and feedback worth the growing budget dollars?
My Own Personal Experience
I got involved in Social Media when my book, Defy Gravity, launched some 3 years ago. At the time, I was told by my marketing team that social media was the way to market and sell my book. I trusted that fact because these folks were experts.
They were wrong. You see, my market and audience is comprised of senior level executives and boards of directors for large, complex B2B businesses. I learned that those folks are simply not out here on social media. They’re running their businesses – not sending tweets or posting on Facebook. If they’re on any platform it’s LinkedIn – for searches and reference, not for posting content or reading it for that matter.
Today – I’m on social media because of the relationships I’ve found and the cool people who I call friends. I know that social media doesn’t drive revenue for me – my buyers aren’t there. They have other things to do.
The relationships /freindships I’ve made on social media are worth the time and effort I spent there in the past. But I won’t be spending as much time on social media in the future. Why? Because my buyers live elsewhere and when it comes right down to it – I need to spend more time with buyers and less with fun friends when I’m “on the job.”
Which brings up another question.
Where do your buyers live?
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Does social media drive your bottom line?