Social media is often seen as the marmite of any marketing toolkit – you either love it or you hate it. But whatever your stand point, the majority of businesses have some sort of presence on social media sites, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or a combination of them all, and recognise it as being of some benefit to their business. 

But what is the real value of social media and is it effective for all types of businesses?

The emergence of Twitter and Facebook came at a convenient time for businesses. Just as the world was crashing into the worst financial crisis there has ever been, all of a sudden there are these new ways to market your business for FREE!

But despite the buzz surrounding these tools, which are undoubtedly great for Business to Consumer businesses selling products, there remains the question of how effective they are for service led and Business to Business businesses. You can’t sell a service in 140 characters. Or can you? There are some schools of thought that suggest that social media, whilst not being the most effective stand-alone marketing tool for service businesses, can improve the conversion rate of their sales pipeline.

There is often an average rate of conversion across all channels often referred to in marketing terms as the 1% rule. The rule states that if an average company sends out 10,000 emails, 1000 people will open the email and 100 people will go on to buy – i.e. 1%.

If you bring social media into the email example above, perhaps tweeting the link to the email campaign to all of your followers, you are increasing the likelihood of people opening the email, therefore allowing for a bigger ‘conversion rate’.

Social media can also be used to encourage involvement in market research, if you are able to tweet a link to the survey and promote the results following completion along with a blog explaining the results (if it they can be shared publically), this is likely to encourage a higher involvement next time and get you some exposure and visibility of your products or services in the meantime.

Effectively, social media allows an extra bite of the cherry, without you having to double your marketing budget to get that second chance. This helps to understand that the real value in social media is it helps to make your other marketing efforts work harder by joining sales and marketing activities together.

For more information on how you can achieve a ‘joined up’ approach to all aspects of your marketing strategy from carrying out market research to reviewing your current approach, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.