By Graham Jones
Most people admit that they use social media in their business to “increase awareness”. Yet you can increase awareness as much as you like – unless it makes money, what’s the point? Sales are what matters to people in business, yet the way that social media works it focuses our minds on “awareness”. Being aware of a product or brand is not the same as buying it. Business owners want you to buy, not just be aware. Hence all the data about “numbers of followers” or “engagement through likes” is all tosh. It is meaningless, pandering only to our business ego. What matters in business is the profit we derive from sales. If you don’t have enough sales, you don’t generate enough profit. The hapless search for “increased awareness” or “greater traffic” alone is nonsense.
Luckily, new research shows a way out of the chasing daft data. The 6th Annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report confirms that most business marketers are chasing the wrong statistics. Yet, buried within the data of this report is the answer to increasing sales using social media.
The study found that the two main reasons people used social media as part of their marketing was to “increase awareness” and “gain followers”. Both of these are easy to measure in terms of “followers” or “likes” and so these targets can provide marketers with so-called “data” which can be used to prove that their work is successful.
Bottom of the list – yes BOTTOM – was using social media to generate sales. Even though the point of being in business is to generate profit from sales, it turns out that those people doing social media marketing rated sales as the least important benefit.
But turn a page or two on and you find that the report reveals a stark difference between the majority of social media marketers and those who are actually generating leads and sales using social networks. The people making real money using social media marketing are the ones putting in the most hours of work.
It turns out that 74% of those who spend more than 40 hours a week on social media are the ones making money. Yet almost two-thirds of business are spending less than 11 hours a week on social media – a quarter of what they need to do.
The figures make it clear – the more time a business spends on social media, the more likely it is to generate sales.
Most businesses are having to focus on meaningless statistics revolving around “awareness” as that provides some logic behind their investment in social media activity. But what this really reveals is that the majority of businesses are not investing anywhere near enough time and money on social media activity.
If you put more time and effort into the world of social media, you will be able to generate more sales – providing a business with a greater reason for using the social web. Rather than trying to work out how to spend less time on social media, your business ought to be considering how it can spend more time on it. The result of that, it seems, will be more sales.
Image courtesy: Statista