Social media and sales – interesting concept this. But new? Not at all. While people complain of a lack of personalized interaction since the advent of social media, intelligent business leaders have been making the most of it, and how. Ask the big bosses and they will tell you how the social media is seen as one of the most fertile areas for marketing, and a key ground to increase a company’s penetration into the market.
Social media, read Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Alerts, Xing and other similar sites thrive on the most updated information about individuals, professionals from the top companies across the world, as well as company information. Every business worth the name has a profile in Facebook, and every professional holds an account in LinkedIn! There are expert minds behind every public move that a brand makes, and every step of it is well analyzed. The companies as well as the professionals representing these companies reveal as much (or less) as they want to, and their public posts and activities are a way of engaging their customers and being responsive towards their clientele.
While these are strategic moves, these hold crucial information, enough for small and medium sized businesses (mostly who depend on these big brothers) to take cue from and make significant decisions that directly or indirectly impact their sales. In this regard, it is every business’s nature to want to know what his competitors are up to, to be ahead of the competition. You can be friends with professionals from your business, follow the leaders and set up alerts (Google Alerts) to track important decisions being taken in your field by top bosses and those of your competitors’. A live update of what’s happening between the company and its customers would drive you to take necessary steps to eliminate customer dissatisfaction, overcome existing market challenges, and make the most of unattended demand areas. Clearly, the key is to hunt for the sales triggers, and the focus is on long term customer engagement. More often than not, getting it right is the difference between your online victory and your defeat!
In the quest for a quick buck, most companies fail to capitalize on this social media boom. Investment in social media, like any other business decision, should be well analyzed. However, its impact (or ROI) cannot just be measured on its direct returns or sales. The social networking sites do well to present a business or a merchant to its intended audience, make an impression, and an attempt to make its customers feel cared for. Once this happens, the audience or its customer base automatically (and hopefully) connects to the brand. ‘Sales’ is an automatic outcome. Bottom-line – the focus is to create the right image in front of your audience, one that is reliable, genuinely customer friendly and one that assures best in-class products/ services.
So now it is a matter of reaping the benefits of this uproar while the hangover for social media lasts. It’s all about a first-hand glimpse of the market, what people are offering versus what people want, and getting together the right minds to deliver that. A concept called social selling.