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You’re Missing the Point of Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing | | 3 minute read

“How does posting a picture of a cat in a panda costume help me sell products?”

social media marketing

"#Halloween is coming soon - need #shoes to match my #pandacostume"


The simple answer is that it doesn’t. But the intention of social media marketing is not necessarily to create leads from a single social message. The purpose of social media is to create a brand identity, generate loyal followers, and nurture current customers. Basically, when someone says your company’s name, you want the responses to be something like:

“Omg, I remember seeing their post of a cat in a panda costume on Twitter. So. Cute.”

“I follow them on Facebook because I love seeing all of the funny pictures they post, like the cat in the panda costume.”

“I started following them after I bought this item from them. Their staff has the best sense of humor, I feel so comfortable when I call them to ask a question about this item.”

If social media doesn’t generate sales, why should I bother?

Again, you’re missing the point. Social media does have the ability to generate sales – especially for industries like retail, technology, and travel – but in the age of instant connections and unlimited available information, the sales process has dramatically changed. Social media is the digital generations’ idea of an introduction.

social media marketingAs a 20-something adult, making purchasing decisions begins on social media. Think about it; let's say you follow two major shoe retailers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Both stores have posted a message at the same time - one with a picture of their latest product, the other incorporated a picture of a cat to announce the start of their annual sale. Which draws your attention first?

Obviously, the cat would get immediate attention – unless you’re some humorless drone.

Once a user sees this post, that may prompt them to check out your social page. On your social page, they’ll find several other posts that either:

  • Contain valuable information
  • Inspire them to do something or think a certain way
  • Educates them on a current issue, a travel destination, etc.
  • Makes them laugh
  • Gives them a step-by-step process to completing a task

When social media users see messages that meet their needs or wants on your social page, they “like” or “follow” and become a loyal fan of your brand over time. These people are more likely to purchase your product/service than most. The idea is to convert these fans into a free marketing tool known as a brand ambassador.

Note: Follow the 80/20 rule - 80% of your social content should be non-promotional and 20% of your content should be promotional. Use this rule as a guideline when posting your social messages.

How does a brand ambassador help me when I have a professional marketing team?

If you were considering purchasing a different phone, whose opinion would you trust more? The sales person whose name you didn’t know until you walked in the store, or a close, personal friend you’ve known for years? Brand ambassadors give you leverage when a potential customer is deciding on a specific product sold by multiple brands. Having that person that can say: “I follow them on Facebook! They love cats, just like you,” could be the difference that results in a sell.

So, no – not all of your social media followers will become customer. But they may have influence over others in their social circle who have a need for your product or service. The next time you’re generating a social media marketing plan, make sure you balance your promotion posts with a healthy dosage of humor, interesting facts, inspirational quotes, or how-to articles.

social media marketing

And if all else fails – cats. Post a lot of pictures of cats.

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Brittany Jackson

Brittany joined Pittsburgh Internet Consulting in November 2014 after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. Brittany is PIC's Social Media Specialist and one of our Content Developers.

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