I’ve been wondering if companies’ social marketing activities really lead to sales. I Digged Bob Knorpp’s article on Ad Age and found it very interesting, as it discusses a relationship between sales and social media from a unique angle.
As Knorpp says in the article, many still think that the objectives of social marketing are “to create engagement, gain followers or generate Facebook likes.” Yet does any of them really generate sales? They’re all important elements in social media marketing, but having engaged fans, many followers or many people who like your page doesn’t mean it directly leads to sales.
According to Knorpp, “the object of social marketing is not simply to collect audience appreciation, but to make every customer experience shareable — including the purchase.”
In the article, Knorpp shares his pleasant customer service experience with Zappos. When he sent an anonymous gift with them, the operator was so impressed by his act that this operator sent him multiple gift packages over the next two weeks. Because Knorpp was amazed by Zappos’ quality customer service, he still talks about it (And as you see, he even wrote an article about it for Ad Age).
If you’ve ever visited Zappos’ Facebook page, you probably know that Zappos is great at social media marketing. After reading Knorpp’s story, I realized that Zappos is also great at making their customers talk about them online by giving them memorable and shareable sales experience.
“Zappos doesn’t do social to generate sales. Zappos makes selling social.”
Social media marketing can build a strong relationship between a company and the audience and get the public talk about the brand; however, you cannot really tell that it directly leads to sales. Knorpp is right. Customer service experience plays a big part in building the trust. If you have a bad experience of buying something from a company, you won’t probably buy anything from them again, though they have excellent social media activities. If you have great sales experience with a company, you will buy their product again. In this context, whether the company has strong social media activities or not does not really matter when making a purchase decision.
Companies should not just focus on gaining followers/fans/likes or creating engagement, but also offering customers meaningful and shareable sales experience, and get them talk about it online. By making selling social, companies can convert social media into sales.