In today’s information society the amount of output from various social media channels is more like the ticker tape of old than anything else. A constant, unending stream of information. While it’s great to be able to find all this information the question begs to be asked, what is the value of Social Media? Social Media, as it is delivered now, is all about information. And therein lays the value. I have no doubt as to the significance and necessity of the information delivered by Social Media but it needs to efficiently gathered and monitored. However, I believe there is a better question to ask: what is the best use of the various social media channels from a B2B / B2C perspective. Should it primarily be used to create brand awareness and brand management or is it better used for lead generation. One source is inbound information, the other outbound. While social media is currently used for both, in its current iteration social media is best used for building brand awareness and brand management (that does provide some cross over/pull through applicable to lead generation). One major caveat does follow at the end of the article.
Client and company experience and our own research combines to support the conclusion that social media is geared to brand management and brand awareness. I have also yet to find any empirical proofs that social media has increased sales (notwithstanding some anecdotal proofs). I have found multiple instances of social media successfully being used as listening posts to monitor traffic (both brand and client) and enable pre-sale research. Social media allows a company to monitor both Voice of the Customer and Voice of the Employee (otherwise known as VOC & VOE respectively) to aide in the development of Net Promoter Score (NPS). Given the multitude of social media applications and outlets such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs to name a few – the information is often too voluminous and time intensive to sort through and compile on a regular basis. Tools are needed to aggregate the various social media channels and provide a complete view of what is being said and discussed to allow marketing to steer the message and allow the business development staff to close a sale.
One of the tools developed by Cool Life Systems is a platform to view composite and aggregated information from social media channels based on the terms and information you deem relevant. It pulls in channels from blogs, websites, social networking sites, and more. It is a powerful and easy to use tool to create and adapt your marketing message. A business is foolish not to monitor the “tape” to learn what is being said about your business. With information going viral at the drop of the hat, you cannot afford to know what is being said about you – both the good and the bad.
The caveat. The web and the habits of users changes and evolves almost daily. I do expect that social media will eventually become a primary tool of lead generation as the consumer becomes more accustomed to social marketing, individual technology use becomes more widespread (wider adoption of personal mobile devices), and technology and software innovation continues to improve. This adoption curve is dependent upon development, application, technology, infrastructure, adaptation. Adopting a sound social media foundation now and later adapting that foundation as social media evolves will allow the businesses already engaged in using social media platform to easily move their pivot their position to change from listening post to active lead generation. Simply put – Things Change!