If there’s one common question that every business, brand, or organization new to social media has, it’s probably “how will using social media lead to sales?” It’s a fair question to ask. The problem with this question, however, lies in how it’s worded. What businesses new to social media should be asking is not “how will using social media lead to sales?”, but instead, “how can using social media lead to sales?”
It’s a slight difference, but here’s why the second question is a better question for business owners or brand executives to ask: it shows that they already understand the fact that creating a presence on social media sites doesn’t automatically lead to sales.
Unfortunately, most business owners just can’t seem to grasp this truth—that just joining social media sites isn’t a guarantee of even one new sale for a company. Developing a social media strategy for your business and joining social media sites are two very important steps to take, but if you want to actually start seeing real results—i.e. actual ROI—then you’re going to need to walk a lot further than you might have originally planned.
So with this new question in mind—”how can using social media lead to sales?”—what’s the answer? I’d be lying if I told you it was a simple “a + b + c = $$$” equation. There are a number of factors that play a part in whether or not your efforts on social media will actually lead to sales. To help you better understand what some of these factors are and how they work together, I’d like to share with you a chart that I like to call the social media equation. Here it is:
If the chart above looks complicated, it’s because it’s meant to. Because using social media to make sales isn’t as easy as a lot of people want it to be. It takes things like time, consistency, transparency, interaction, and value. It takes real work.
You may know that you have a good product that you think a lot of people could use, but if you can’t take the time to genuinely care about your followers and show them that you have a good, valuable product, you aren’t ready to be on social media.
No one wants to see a video on Facebook or a photo on Flickr that looks like an advertisement. No one wants to see the same “great deal” tweet ten times in one day.
If you decide to take the first steps to create a presence for your business on social media, it can lead to sales. It just takes time, effort, passion, dedication, authenticity, patience, and above all—a good product.
Still have questions? Ask me on Twitter. I’m @robwormley.