Reece Jacobsen Submitted by on the 13th of April 2012

So your company or client is looking to get the most out of the social media budget that was so generously handed over by the marketing department and immediately you start hearing the words “Brand Awareness” and “Sales” fly around the room at 100 mph. Sound familiar?

“What can social media ACTUALLY do for your brand?”, I’ve learnt that answering this question is vital in managing the client’s expectation and is the key to creating something special. Here’s a suggestion on how you can do it.

Ask the ‘Sales Demon’ if they have ever tried to eat a bowl of soup with a fork? It’s nigh on impossible, because a fork was not designed to do that. Social media, by nature, was not designed for direct sales. It was designed for connecting, networking and starting conversations and it works best when it’s being used as a tool to do this.

Social media offers a brand a wide variety of benefits, including:
• Market research: Learn about your customers through polls and feedback on content
• Customer service: Assist customers without them having to call in and listen to your annoying hold music
• Public relations: Showcase your good work
• Thought leadership: Share knowledge with your customers to help them get the most out of the products or services you render
• Loyalty building: Most importantly, talk to your customers and show them you are listening. It’s the most powerful way to build a relationship with your most valued asset.

The truth is, I believe social media does affect your bottom line. It’s the ‘Tenzing Norgay’ of sales. Your social media team helps you overcome Everest without getting the credit. As much we’d like to think our conscious brain is responsible for decisions it is not the case. Your emotions, which sit in your subconscious drive behavior, we just justify the action (to purchase) with logic.

The way I see it, being able to chat to a brand (and have the brand chat right back) is more valuable in building a strong relationship with your social media audience. When these fans and followers buy your product again, or recommend your product to their friends or family, think about the social channels keeping the brand love burning.