Follow up Post: Facebook, Twitter, You Name It. Social Media is “Happening” to your Brand – Whether You Like It or Not.

Last week I added a post that’s received significant traffic via Social Media Today.  After the post went live, I received a fantastic comment from Dan Perez. His well thought out response and the banter that ensued resides on Social Media Today, however I think it’s worth re-posting here:

Chris, Everyone wants to preach the good word of social media and it’s amazing healing powers. Those that believe will see heaven and those who don’t will burn everlasting in a lake of fire. . .yes? Unfortunately, it’s the “one size fits all” approach which is the reason most companies still shy away from social media. Having a facebook page or twitter account (or a blog or a youtube page or a…) is great but does it really improve sales/revenues? Should companies invest in social media hiring & training (which has as yet unproven ROI) or should they stick with what has proven over time to work: sales, customer service, & product knowledge training?

I’m sure you can give me several examples of companies who have had some success with social media – I’m not doubting that. But the statistics show that very few companies actually have a social media plan in place and even though statistics also show an increase in companies’ use of social media, these same statistics also show companies reporting very little success or ROI with social media campaigns.

Let’s not forget the many companies that have successfully grown their sales/revenue (and continue to do so) without the use of social media. What worked then still works now: delivering a quality product at a competitive price with exceptional customer service. It ain’t broke yet so why do we think social media has to fix it? I’m not here to promote my blog but I just finished posting my personal take on this same issue. Feel free to review it here: http://bit.ly/bSxgYu Would love your feedback…

Dan,

My Response

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my post.  I appreciate, and respect your comment. I think you’re a great writer too. I took some time to read your blog – great work.

The zeitgeist of the post is that today, all media is social media.  That no matter whether a brand decides to formally engage in social media or not, things have changed.  What I didn’t put in the post is that the brand never did create a Facebook page. I’m certain that they’re perfectly happy with that.  Personally, I don’t agree with it, but I’m certainly not disparaging their decision.

They also told me in the meeting that they weren’t interested in a female audience, at all. That their best selling watches were mens watches.  This stunned me.  While working on my masters degree we reviewed that in the buying process there is an initiator, influencer, decider, buyer and user. I think to some extent that still holds true today.  So why not reach out to all of those stages of the sales cycle. It’s just so much easier now with social media.  All you have to do is care, and invest some additional time talking about your product, the benefits, and why you feel the consumer should buy it.

As I said: I’m a brand advocate, and just because they don’t have a Facebook page, or Twitter account won’t sway my decision to purchase another watch from them.  But think about the power they could harness if they were engaging in the conversation, or offering a platform.  They would most certainly gain a new audience that I’m certain they never knew they had.

I would tell them that I purchase my watch with some money that my deceased grandfather had left to me. That their watches, while phenomenal time pieces are more than that. They are family heirlooms.  If they allow people to tell those stories, they could potentially reach a whole new audience.  If they were the ones offering the platform to do so (or at least “hosting” the party) then they would be just that much better.

There are many brands making money via social media, but it’s not about just that. It’s about the idea that customers have access to so many sources of information about your brand, why not be there with them?  I think it’s adisappointment when they’re not, at the very least it’s a missed opportunity.

All the best,

Chris

Dan’s Reply

Chris, Thanks for the reply. There are not many “social media experts” that actually understand the sales cycle…so I’m impressed! Having worked as a Director of Sales for 10 years in the high-end catering and Family Entertainment Centers in NYC & Florida (before starting my video production company in 2006), I most certainly can appreciate such terminology. And you make an excellent point: “why not reach out to all of those stages of the sales cycle?”

The problem is that companies have to commit money and resources so that the proper personel is in place to manage what “could be” a very important segment of their business: social media. In time, I’m certain you’ll see more and more companies take the dip, maybe even introduce whole new methods of online engagement with their customers and prospective customers.

As I stated in my post, social media isn’t going nowhere – it’s here to stay and companies will either decide to invest in it or continue to ignore it. I think the ones that do will have a competitive advantage over those who don’t…I think successful companies already know that.

Thanks, again!

PS – Had to look up “zeitgeist” in the dictionary. Nice use of a big word ;)