Monday, November 23, 2009

Social Media: Getting Down to Business

Excerpted from "Why Social Media Purists Won’t Last" by Jason Falls

Social media purists have laid down the law and, so, to participate in social media as a business, you must do things like, “participate in the conversation,” “engage your customers,” and “talk with us not to us.”

I’ve got news for you. In the world of business, all that talk will get you exactly nowhere. Conversations do not ring the cash register. Engagement does not sell more product. Talking with people just means you have to take time to listen which prevents you from spending valuable time selling more product.

I am trying to make a point all the social media evangelists out there need to grow up and face: If you don’t stop selling the fluff and start driving the bottom line, you’re going to have to go back to whatever you were doing in 2005.

I’m all for your principles. I’m a big fan of The Cluetrain’s “markets are conversations,” notion. But I can promise you a conversation never paid the damn electric bill.

Make your company blog drive search results to the keywords you want to win. Present calls to action that lead your Facebook fans to buy your product. Entice Twitter followers to subscribe to your e-mail newsletter where you can present similar calls to action for purchase.

Share your content, engage your audiences, talk your talkity talk all you want. But walk the walk, too. Move the needle. And not the UV meter on your virtual stereo, grasshopper. Move the one that makes the cha-ching sound.

My Take

Sure - businesses look to the bottom line. And if social media does not bring in revenue it will quickly be deemed a waste of time and money.

Social media is rapidly evolving. New approaches are yet to be developed that will generate measurable sales from SM relationships and online/offline word-of-mouth. Businesses that adapt will enjoy increased customer loyalty. And they will enjoy dividends as new technologies are introduced and as more purchases are influenced by social media.

The Web and Web-based commerce will only become more and more social. The social Web will impact B2B and B2C advertising by supporting trust and connectedness.
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