Often times, social media is described as the vehicle that will drive all of your future sales. Simply search for “Social Media” online, and millions of articles will appear at your fingertips, telling you that without embracing Social media, you cannot succeed in business anymore. As a marketing firm, we are here to tell you, Social Media is not the vehicle. You are the vehicle. Your staff, and their commitment to the customer is the vehicle. Social media, on the other hand, is the gas for the vehicle to move.
Social media has one purpose, and that is to get your customer’s involved in your business on a more social level. I would not typically consider going out to dinner with the next shoe salesman I meet. It just wouldn’t cross my mind. However, if I was shopping for shoes online, and I found a link to a page where a shoe salesman told me a great joke, chances are I know where I’m going to pick out my next pair of Saucony’s. And while I’m shopping for shoes, if I notice that your store has 5000 fans, and the others don’t, that probably is telling, as well…..
If I’m thinking about you in a social way, before I do business with you, isn’t the business we do easier? I don’t know about you, but I always call my friend the plumber if there’s a problem. I typically do not start shopping for services when I have a relationship, no matter how solid, with someone. I needed electrical work done in my home. I could have opened a phone book. I could have researched online. Instead, I “friended” a person I went to high school with, and haven’t talked to in 10 years. I knew that since I blocked for him on the football team many (many) years ago, he would help me out because of our “social” ties.
The article is called, Fuel, for THOUGHT. Your goal is to make any potential shopper into a potential customer, which means you want them to think of you before they think of your competition. That means you are trying to start a social relationship with them even when they DON’T need your product, so that they will come to you without question when they do. If you aren’t being social, and you are simply shouting “SALE SALE SALE, FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY” you aren’t causing any thought. Or, at least, not any good thought.
Fuel is what powers action. Cars don’t move without gas. Can your business continue to grow without social media? It is a possibility. It’s a possibility that if you plant a garden, the rain will water it enough for there to be some growth, too. I prefer not to leave such things to chance. I would rather fertilize, weed, and water, and try to get some award winning veggies growing. Or, to continue with the car analogy, a Ferrari will go down a hill in neutral, even without fuel. I just wouldn’t want to bet on the hill continuing onwards forever. I’d prefer to give it a little gas.