Social media can be a powerful sales tool if you know how to unlock its potential.
Personally, I find the term ‘social media’ quite misleading; after all, media is something you buy but you certainly can’t buy your way into social media. Sure, you can buy Facebook ads and be happy about an average CTR of 0.051% but in that case you are missing the point. You don’t use its full potential.
I understand many brands are disappointed with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the other social media platforms because it does not drive sales like a TV ad for example. But that is not the fault of social media. It’s your fault.
I’d like to share some sales figures from one of our clients- an FMCG product manufacturer which went from zero to hero using just social media: The chart below shows the sales growth when the product first launched and had no clear direction about its marketing efforts. The only thing was a bit of PR which drove short term awareness and in return sales:
When the brand launched, PR drove awareness of the products which resulted in good sales figures.
To increase sales, the brand decided to invest in price promotions. Those price promotions however actually harmed the brand and its sales as you can see in the chart above. In a way, they diluted the brand value and consumers did not perceive the product as worth buying if it is always on sale. So how do you solve this problem?
The solution for us was clear: Social media!
We designed a solid social media strategy, defined some objectives of the social play, recruited a dedicated Community Manger and set up some social media tools to communicate with the customers. But rather than talking about the brand and its great products, the social communications focused on a “shared value” between the brand and its customers. An example of a shared value is Pedigree’s belief that every dog deserves a loving home.
Let’s have a look how our social media strategy affected sales:
Sales went up while the price came back to its normal retail price after ditching the price promotions. And customers did not mind at all, in fact sales went up quite a bit. Customers were quite happy also to engage with the brand via their blog, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channel. I could go on about the amazing rapport and engagement we had the customers but I know that it all comes back to the $ALES so I’ll leave it at that.
Speaking of $$$ the opportunity cost of using social media properly is low. We managed to to drive the entire programme, over 12 months, for the approx cost of 5×30″ national TV spots in prime time
Ergo, social media works as a sales tool very well AND for a lot less money than you may think. However, the money is not the key issue here for me. It is more about setting up a lasting competitive edge which is something TV will never be able to achieve.
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