The Missing Link in Social Media Marketing

While attending several OMMA Global sessions this week I noticed that something was fundamentally missing from most conversations about social media marketing: how to drive real sales and ROI – beyond just listening and engagement, from social media. In fact, Ellis Booker, the editor of BtoB Magazine recently wrote, “How best to use - but not abuse - social media for sales conversion is the $64,000 question, and will preoccupy marketers, agencies, and media companies for the foreseeable future.”

Social media is powerful – Obama’s social media strategy during his election campaign and the power shift that is occurring in the Middle East speak to this point clearly, but as marketers we’ve forgotten to look at why social media is so powerful.

 

People trust people, not marketers. According to Nielsen, 92% of customers trust Word of Mouth, and more than 90% of customers say that a Word of Mouth recommendation is the leading influence on their purchasing decisions (source: Zocalo Group).

Now, the question is - who drives Word of Mouth for your company?  It's your Brand Advocates (highly-satisfied customers who proactively recommend your brand or products without being paid to do so), a highly influential segment that every company has.

But, have you identified your Advocates?  Are you energizing them via social media to drive sales and ROI for your brand?

Advocates recommend brands because they genuinely “want to help people” (source: Comscore & Yahoo!).  And, social media is so powerful because it gives everyone a voice – one that can be heard.

Have you tapped into this energy, and made it easy for your Advocates to share their positive experiences with your brand or products?