Fairly often when I talk about social media and its role in a PR and marketing effort, people ask me this question: If I invest my money in social media marketing, how many leads will I generate or products will I sell?
Whenever I get this question, it hits home that there’s a fundamental misunderstanding about what social media marketing is – or is not. As I try to explain, what social media does most effectively is create brand recognition and keep your name in front of the people you’re trying to reach. And, of course, through that process it should definitely have an impact on your sales. But it can also be an unseen impact, not just direct-response sales or leads.
So, what do I mean by an unseen impact? I was just discussing this with Jay York, our senior social media strategist, and he had a great way of explaining it. Years ago, the popular TV show “Seinfeld” was often referred to as a “water cooler show” because the morning after a new episode aired people would chat about it with their co-workers. So, even those people who never watched an episode of “Seinfeld” learned about the Soup Nazi, puffy shirts and an eccentric holiday known as Festivus. They became part of our culture at that time … and still are!
The same water-cooler-type moments hold true with social media. When people see something on social media that strikes their fancy, they’re likely to mention it in real life to friends or associates. It could be a restaurant, or a book, or a new store that opened in their neighborhood.
How does that water-cooler-type moment help you? Even if the person who saw it on social media isn’t a buyer at that moment, when they mention it to a friend who is in the market for that product or service, there’s a good chance that friend becomes a customer. But guess what happens when you ask this new customer how he heard about you? His response will be: from a friend.
In these cases, you won’t be able to make a connection to your social media campaign, yet your social media campaign is what prompted the sale.
This is what I’m referring to when I say the “unseen impact” of social media marketing.
So what’s the takeaway to keep in mind?
One of the great things about social media is you don’t have to pay to use it. But, you do need to keep it active on a regular basis, so there is an investment of time even when there isn’t one in dollars.
If you can’t devote the necessary time to it, you might consider finding a professional whose job it is to make you look good by taking the time to post quality content and interact with your followers.
You’ll benefit from what social media has to offer – building your brand and keeping your name out in front of the people you want to reach – even when the impact is unseen!
P.S. If you’d like professional help with your social media, as well as getting quoted in the press and being interviewed on radio and TV, give us a call. This is what we’ve been doing for our clients for 27 years. To learn more, please call us at 727-443-7115 Ext. 231. We’d love to hear from you!