Content courtesy of one of the top online marketing firms in South Africa – ATKASA

So, you set up every social media platform known to mankind with that idea of selling your service or product the next day.

STOP! You are doing it all wrong.

In order avoid disappointment three weeks later, we want to tell you up front that although social media and as a whole, online marketing, does more often than not drive big sales, that is not its entire purpose.

ATKA recently tapped into the genius of online marketing expert and one of the leaders in the field Tara Hunt on this common misconception.

Our source; her article titled “No, Social media does not drive sales … but that is not the point”.

Her insights will make marketers shout AMEN! And as for the consumer, we hope you experience that famous Oprah “Aha!” moment.

Her humorous approach to online marketing makes all her material great fun to read and it is no different for this specific piece.

“What’s really going on here is that companies think that paying for marketing is some sort of silver bullet. It’s not. It never was and it never will be. Hell, some super bowl ads go unnoticed – and that audience is one of the biggest captive audiences in the universe!”

“You are probably asking yourself, “Okay then, why would anybody in their right mind pay for marketing?”

“Good question. I sometimes wonder myself because not everyone is ready for it…and sometimes they are too late for it,” she writes.

She continues to explain that good online marketing means that you will be more findable AND have more credibility (if the branding is done right) when people do find you. And all of that helps with what you want: sales.

There are all sorts of wonderful things built into social media marketing that you won’t have built into traditional one-way channels. There are:

Analytics – while you can’t really tell who paid attention to that television ad, you can tell who watched your YouTube ad all the way through … and who liked it … and who shared it … etc. The data available on how people interact with your content is AMAZING. As a result, you can change your strategy if you aren’t satisfied with the results, rather than forking out more money for that expensive television advert.

Feedback – it’s right there in the comments. It’s also there on Twitter. Oh … and you can find out what people are saying on Reddit and their blogs and in forums and … well … that is invaluable. Read it. Report it back to your team. Improve your product with it. Respond to it with thanks. Hell, you pay hundreds of thousands of rands to get this feedback from focus groups each year and here it is for you for free. Completely raw.

Relationships – you aren’t going to strike up a conversation through the TV or radio. But that two-way conversation is built into social media platforms. It’s really awesome. You can find out so much about your customers and start to really build a bond.

So, you want to know the ROI of social media and online marketing?

First of all, it’s the ability to listen. It’s priceless. Not with some damned tool that measures sentiment or finds influencers, either. Really listen.

Secondly; Serendipity. It’s opening yourself up to constant and amazing opportunities to participate. By participating, you will find numerous opportunities to lead the conversation and make a great impression. Oreo’s dunk in the dark tweet is a great example of this. They are doing a really great job of being a relevant brand again by seizing opportunities like that. Do they do it every single day? Nope. But when they do, they nail it.

Lastly, community instead of merely customers. The difference is incredible. If you have patience and build a community instead of just a customer database, you will have finally tapped into that magical word of mouth network you wanted to buy a few months ago. But this time, it’s real and authentic and it spreads.

(and there are dozens more…but you get the point, right?)

So PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DOG stop thinking of social media as a direct marketing tool and online marketing as some sort of silver bullet that will drive sales through the roof. Stop reading those case studies where Facebook … no … Pinterest … no … Polyvore … no Snapchat drove millions of dollars in sales from a viral campaign.

That’s not the point.

Visit her blog for more awesome online marketing insights: http://bit.ly/2bLtiyQ

online marketing is no silver bullet