In a word YES! But as with everything the way you go about it impacts your results. Personally speaking over the last few months as a result of the social web I have developed at least 2 strong business partnerships, build(ing) a brand reputation and secured several qualified business leads resulting in signed contracts! I did not spam my followers and connections with overt sales messages, but rather shared newsworthy content to specific audiences across different social networks.
From my experience in business, people buy from people. Why? Trust, rapport and specialist knowledge – the rest will follow. It’s worth bearing in mind that ‘word-of-mouth’ applies to both good and bad service, and if they have a bad experience they won’t just the traditional 9 people anymore, it’s countless numbers through the web. The social web has great impact for brands, both positive and negative. In my article How ‘Pollinators’ change the marketing equation for Land Rover you see how an automotive brand targets their influencer audiences online resulting in highly effective reach, engagement and sales leads. Brands that identify the various social communities and interest groups with their influencer audience, can generate measurable results using proven social platforms to reach this audience.
My personal view is that there’s a lot of confusion in the market place about social media. In these challenging economic times, businesses have to prove ROI on their investments and marketing is no exception. Social Media can definitely deliver an ROI for your business but to do so requires a well thought out strategy, which includes resource (time, budget, people) allocation. Consider the basics:
- how are your owned channels performing; engagement rate, discussion, interaction with and between fans and followers
- which social networks and platforms do your customers connect on
- what is the most effective way of engaging with existing customers and prospecting for the new ones through paid media
- measure, monitor and manage activities
The more effectively brands develop and manage their paid media, the better the results with their earned and owned media.
How are you defining your social media strategy and measuring results?