That’s right. Social media can’t close a sale. Not directly anyway. Let’s clear up what it’s real purpose is: social media’s value is that it assists consumers with purchasing decisions or post-sale communication. It’s not a closer and it cannot make a sale on its own. It needs to work in concert with other tools like your website, print media, outdoor, radio, TV and your customer service representatives or salespeople. In many cases it may be the first stage of your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) process. Call it CRM 2.0 if you like. And while many social media networks have been around for years, companies are just now at the point where they are realizing they can’t ignore them any longer.
Since many of us here at Demi & Cooper and DC Interactive have been involved with the Internet for some time, we recognize this pattern of early market adoption. For example, I’ve been using the Internet since before there was a graphical user interface and everything was done from a UNIX command prompt (which, of course, makes me sound old). When a new technology debuts there is often skepticism by some, even though they realize there probably is some value in it. Funny as it may seem, there were those who did not think television would ever take off. And it wasn’t that long ago that some people needed to be convinced that their company needed a website. Often those who are skeptical make up their minds about the technology before learning about it. We’ve heard lots of things, such as:
“Isn’t social media for teenagers and John Stossel?”
“Social networking is a soft sell.”
“My product wouldn’t be a good fit for social media.”
“Our customers aren’t savvy enough to be on Facebook.”
While it’s true that social media skews younger, it’s not as young as you may think.
And one of the benefits of using social media as part of your advertising and marketing portfolio is not necessarily the people who use those networks. Any time your company is mentioned on any social media platform it gets indexed by search engines and that page floats to the top. And now you have a powerful assistant to whatever sales tools you already have in place.
Coleman-Parkes Research, who was interviewed by the ECT News Network, is about to come out with a report that has some really interesting findings. It puts hard numbers to things which we have already suspected:
- Over 75 percent of companies surveyed think that their company may be mentioned or talked about in social media by others at some point in the future.
- 9 out of 10 companies understand that the next crop of employees will bring social media into the workplace.
- Almost 60 percent of companies surveyed aren’t prepared to handle social media, admitting that integrating those technologies aren’t on their agenda at the moment.
- Only 18 percent of respondents have any kind of strategy in place to integrate these technologies within the company for employees.
- However, 52 percent of respondents agree that companies who fail to embrace social media technologies for business purposes will be left behind.
- 60 percent agree that social media is the next major step in growing collaboration between employees.
Social media can not be ignored. It’s here to stay.
Even one of the largest, slowest moving bureaucracies in our government — one which had become famous for lack of communication — is going to be launching their own social network. The FBI, CIA and the 14 other agencies that make up the United States Intelligence Community are going to be launching A-Space, which is quite basically a social network for spies. It will allow for better collaboration between employees in all of their disparate agencies.
Social media is going to involve your company in the future, whether you control it or not.
Managing social media isn’t an easy task because of the very nature of what it is. There are so many decentralized, independent mediums that it takes an inordinate amount of time to supervise and create meaningful content for all of them. And it only takes one customer and a few minutes to post a comment which is then seen by many.
How we can help: social media tool development, content creation, rapid response comment monitoring all with easy-to-understand trackable results.
It seems daunting, but we’re here to make it easy. You can leverage our experience in healthcare, banking, homebuilding and hospitality markets to develop social media tools, effective content and outreach programs as well as rapid response comment monitoring for your organization. All of our programs are custom tailored to your business and industry. We do a lot of research into your company and specific market to make sure your company’s appearance is presented as effectively as possible. And you’re always kept in the loop. We provide detailed status reports with trackable results showing all the places we’ve created a presence for your company, social bookmarks, social media comment management and more.
Have any questions? Just ask.