E-commerce Link: Social Selling
You've probably logged on to webinars, attended keynote speeches and read the books of online marketing gurus. Maybe you went back to the office, tweeted, set up a Facebook page for your brand and blogged.
If you're like most marketers, you've generated a few sales loosely attributed to social media, but you want more. Earning customers' attention on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn is a good start, but how to get a customer from your Facebook page or blog to the point-of-purchase is unclear. And the metrics you're told to use (like "engagement") don't help.
I suggest you do two things: 1) expect more from social media and 2) discover and capture your customers' demands. Eschew the notion espoused by online gurus—that attention, buzz, conversation, listening, word-of-mouth, etc., are the end points. Walk into your boss' office or board meeting and proclaim sales to be preeminent this year. Update your expectation of social media.
A number of online marketing experts say the social media opportunity is in buzz, conversation and engagement that ultimately creates attention, awareness and preference; that this is the end-game. But it's not. Sales are. More awareness, more often and in more places, is just not enough.
Consider the marketers I've profiled throughtout 2010 in this column. Like you, they've been listening to customers and engaging them—these ideas aren't new—and they're busy getting noticed on the social Web. But exceptionally successful marketers are using Web and social tools to improve on old ideas—like selling!
These social media trailblazers aren't re-inventing the wheel. For them it doesn't stop at awareness. Instead, they're using digital tools to translate the ever-changing needs of customers and capture sales. No, cash isn't flowing from tweets, posts, conversations, "social graphs" or word-of-mouth buzz. These tactics aren't the "secret sauce." However, traditional direct response marketing strategies—combined with the new Web and social tools—are.