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Thread: The Role Social Media Plays In A Sale

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    Default The Role Social Media Plays In A Sale

    Just read this post from SEOmoz about Tracking the KPIs of Social Media. The post is mainly about tracking key performance indicators from different social media sites. It talks about different metrics you might be concerned with on Facebook and Twitter, etc. However that's not why I'm starting a thread about it.

    The reason for the SEOmoz post is that it's hard to track the effectiveness of social media. Before getting into all the analytics talk there's a section at the top titled, Why + Where Social Matters, that considers social media's place in the conversion funnel. Here's a quote that sums it up nicely.

    Social media isn't the deal closer - it's the channel that creates potential for a future conversion
    Rand talks about social media, being part of the discovery phase of the conversion funnel. There's a nice graphic in this section of the post showing this.

    I always see a lot of people here asking questions about how to get more links from social sites or how to get followers to buy something and that's not social's part in making a sale. Social sites come much earlier in the process. They won't close the sale, but they can lead people into the funnel that's on your website.

    I'll leave you with one more bit from the post.

    Social media does lots of good things for businesses and brands on the web:

    • Drives traffic
    • Builds brand familiarity
    • Creates positive associations with the brand
    • Delivers social proof via the people sharing the content and discussing the brand
    • Attracts brand followers and evangelists who can help spread the word
    When you see social media this way it changes how you go about using it. It's no longer about tweeting a link directly to your products or artificially increasing your Facebook friends. It's about having another channel to reach people and generate brand awareness. It's about leading people back to your site, which can then work to turn visitor into buyer.

    Give the article on SEOmoz a read, even if just for the part at the top about social media's place in a conversion.
    KristineS, Stu_Upton and arzafar like this.
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    Queen of the Forum Array KristineS's Avatar
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    I like that whole "Social media does lots of good things for businesses and brands on the web" list. I get tired of the whole ROI argument because to me social media is about relationship building. Some of those people may become customers, and some may help spread the word about your business/brand to other people who become customers, and some people may never care at all about what you say or who you are. Still, having a social media presence does all the things that list mentions and it allows you to have real time, immediate interaction with people who are at least interested enough in what you have to offer to give you a bit of their attention.

    I also agree with you that when you look at social media like that it changes how you handle your accounts. I see so many people who are pushing the hard sell and not doing anything to form relationships and then wondering why social media isn't bringing tons of customers to their door. It's really sad that so many people are trying to apply metrics to social media that just don't fit.

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    I don't mind when people try to figure out the ROI of social media, but it falls into a part of the process that's really hard to measure. I'm with you that it's more about building relationships. It's also big for branding. Both are hard to quantify in terms of ROI.

    We had a few threads here recently focused on how to get links from social media and other direct things like that. Then I saw the SEOmoz post and thought it would be good here.

    In general you aren't going to see such direct results from social sites. I think the benefits are more the indirect. Making friends and contacts for the future, getting your name out there so it's recognizable. To me that's a good thing so most people don't like the direct selling thing. I think lots of people feel a bit spammy when they're pushing products on other people. Selling indirectly eliminates those qualms and works really well online as long as you're willing to put in the up front work.

    It'll take some time to build up your brand and network, but once you do it'll be easier to sell without having to be pushy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vangogh View Post
    I don't mind when people try to figure out the ROI of social media, but it falls into a part of the process that's really hard to measure. I'm with you that it's more about building relationships. It's also big for branding. Both are hard to quantify in terms of ROI.
    Maybe I should have read this thread before starting mine.

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    Nah. It's never too late to learn or readjust where you've been.
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    Queen of the Forum Array KristineS's Avatar
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    Although, I will say that I have seen sales come from our social media accounts. It does make it easier for people to connect, and it allows a potential customer to figure out what your company is about before they buy. We do have customers that came from our social media connections, so it can and does work for selling. I just don't think that should be the primary aim of having the accounts.

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    That's how I feel too. I don't want to imply that social sites can't lead directly to a sale, but it shouldn't be the primary focus. Most stats will show people on social sites aren't looking to buy while they're there. It makes sense since people are there to socialize. That's what you should take advantage of. Socialize with people and build the relationships you're going to need to help your business. You can gain from those relationships at a later point.
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    So I suppose that a certain amount of it comes back to the old saying that 'people buy from people' and building the initial trust relationship in a non-sales pressured social environment works as the electronic ice-breaker for any future conversations, really good article

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    Member Needs New Keyboard Array seolman's Avatar
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    Great article and spot on. Social media reminds me of the giant billboards along the highway (example: with Coca Cola ads). How many people bought Coke after seeing the billboard? Can't really be measured and shouldn't be. We all know that branding, just keeping the name/product in front of people, is a big part of not allowing competition to distract our customer base. It's also a major part of the "discovery" process for new potential buyers. For this reason most businesses cannot ignore social media.
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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    Interesting comparison. I never really thought of social media like a billboard, but in some ways it's an apt comparison. Of course social gives you more since you can interact with the community. I can't recall ever having had a conversation with a billboard.
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