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And one more point/question, Brad?
In my example w/ J and O Fabrics using FB and a simple coupon to create sales. If the sales are not coming (year after year for them) from FB in that example I gave where exactly are they coming from, "directly?"
Thanks for considering.
Thanks for the clarity, Brad, but in my experience (myself) I'm selling directly using social media. And would not suggest picking something over something else without looking at the particular business case/environment, myself. But back to direct selling (figuring out what you mean by direct)...
I use LinkedIn Groups to target, court and successfully net leads and sales. I do it in 3 steps:
In many cases the interaction results in sales (people coming to my site and buying my book right away). In other cases I net leads that I court effectively enough to sell a $500 "How to Make Social Media Sell" training program. I court using an email list but mix it with, for instance, YouTube videos and Facebook comments on landing pages.
So if your point is to "get people OFF of social media" so you can sell to them as an effective strategy I suppose I agree. But I'm not sure if that's what you're saying here. I'm confident you can appreciate a guy who markets himself as the "Make Social Media Sell for You" guy showing up to debate you a bit on this :) (if not appreciate, at least understand my motivation maybe!)
Respectfully, the premise is wrong. I can see how you conclude that you can't track sales based on advertising. But yes you CAN track sales otherwise. I wrote an entire book on the subject profiling small businesses like www.petrelocation.com and www.riverpoolsandspas.com along with big brands like Intuit and The Tractor Supply Company. They're all generating leads and making sales with social media and they can prove that social media caused the sale.
www.logan-services.com is selling HVAC units on FB--- all trackable to their FB page. They simply buy local ads, drive it to FB where leads are captured via a give-away contest. Trackable 100% to sales revenue.
www.jandofabrics.com is selling novelty fabric on Facebook. The CMO here runs a "Most Creative Halloween Costume" contest that leverages FB's photo sharing. Current customers spread the word about the contest prize ($50 gift card) to non-customers. Everyone who enters gets a $ off coupon and a chance to win the prize. A % of those non-customer enteries convert and are tracked by a coupon code. The CMO here is making real money on social media.
So how can you not sell and how can you not track sales again?
Social media IS advertising. It is banner ads on Facebook (and Twitter for that matter). It's mass media on an interactive realm. Social media is, at best, used for creating preference -- not demand.
Facebook, Twitter et al are demand creation tools -- if you design them to be. The problem is, for most of us, that's nearly impossible because of how the creators of these devices have limited the way we can use them.
They're not built for marketers or for advertising!
But yet there are success stories out there involving demand creation. We just don't read many of them. Perhaps because the word "engagement" isn't in the headline. Sales is. http://socialmediatoday.com/SMC/207536