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Is Social Media Working?

In one of my online communities the question was posed…

Is Social Media working or not working? Is it making anyone’s register’s ring?

The purpose behind the question was because of mixed reactions from businesses who have found success through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc. and those who haven’t.

Personally, I think the question missed the mark. I would have asked…

HOW is Social Media working for those of you who have found it successful?

No matter what the marketing medium, some will find success with it, others will not. The problem isn’t in the medium, but in how you use it. If you use it right, the rewards are there. So I would want to know how people are using it right.

My Facebook Experience
We have found Facebook to be a lot like networking. It is about building relationships with people by getting to know them and seeing if there are any mutual benefits to our relationship.

The one thing I have learned in my experience with Facebook is that I get far more response when I ask questions than when I send out announcements. I get far more interactions when I ask for opinions and advice than when I post information. And I get a far better opportunity to interact positively with my customers when they post comments than when I just throw info at them. Most importantly, that viral aspect of Social Media kicks in the more people I include in the conversation.

The one definite ROI that I have been able to track is that my fan base grows faster the more comments and conversations I get on a post.

Mutually Beneficial
The benefits of these conversations are HUGE! We get a chance to learn what our biggest fans are thinking. Sometimes we even learn stuff we didn’t know. Sometimes we get to answer questions they forgot to ask in the store. Sometimes we get to clear up misunderstandings.

Most importantly, we have conversations, back-and-forth conversations. And conversations lead to conversions.

Make Your Registers Ring
The best sales people know that the key to successful sales is conversation. As long as the customers keep talking you have more opportunities to solve their problems and sell them what they need. If you treat your Facebook and Twitter programs as conversation starters, not information spreaders, you’ll find that the info actually spreads faster and farther and the sales will result.

Social Media, like all other forms of marketing, works when it is done right. If all you do is post info and tell, tell, tell, you won’t get the kind of return you want. If you think of it as a two-way conversation where you ask more than you tell, then you are on your way to doing it right.



  1. Larry Strunk says:

    Nice analysis Phil, I think the other important question is how do you know if its working or not? In a way, social networks are a lot like 'word of mouth' marketing: it's hard to know when it is working well, but pretty easy tell when it is going against you. The difference is its much faster. Facebook, twitter and Four Square are very good at giving you ways to measure response.
    However, don't forget the soft benefits of a curated social network like facebook. Keeping your busuness 'top of mind' via facebook can lead to increased 'out of channel' recommendations.

  2. Larry, good point. One of the comments in the other discussion on this was about how to measure ROI. Someone suggested running an event. I responded that I always use FB when I run events, but never exclusively. I also use email, press releases, in-store signage, etc.

    No marketing is done in a vacuum. So to measure the ROI of whatever marketing you do is always flawed because of so many other factors.

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