Social media is a communications tool, not the business sales function

As the week ends, I wanted to reflect on our first event, Social Media for Business, held on Wednesday. The event was a huge success, with over 80 participants from all over Scotland, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with those who came to learn and develop telling us that they gained a lot from the keynote speakers and the marketing expert workshop sessions.

But what did I learn?

I listened to the chat during the workshops, and I learned that for those attending who run businesses, there can be a misconception that social media should take on the role of sales within their organisations, with comments like: “If I am not paying my social media manager to generate sales, what am I paying them for?”

McGowan Marketing Social Media for Business Event
McGowan Marketing Social Media for Business Event

There is no doubt that social media has hugely disrupted the communications landscape, with flexibility, targetability and measurability unattainable by other communications tools, but these benefits could create an unrealistic sense of assurance of return by underestimating one key variable – consumer behaviour -and this means consumers of social media and consumers of products and services. No social media manager could ever foretell precisely how all people will respond, all of the time; they are just better informed.

For us, we take clients on a journey to remind them that social media is a communications tool, one of many that should be used to support people through the various stages of a consumer journey. This journey has several equally essential stages; making a purchase in the there, yes, but it is only one stage.

Taking the customer on this journey is what your social media managers are paid to do; sales is just part of the process.

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