Can Social Media Help With Sales? (Yes. Yes, It Can.)

30 May
Who Shot JR

They probably didn’t shoot him in a debate over social media. But they could have. (source: rockroots.wordpress.com)

We’ve talked about social media before. At this point, who hasn’t talked about social media? Social media is the “Who Shot JR?” of contemporary business culture – pretty much the only thing you’ll hear around the proverbial customer service water cooler.

“How can we use effectively use social media? Does it really matter? Should we acquire a non-proverbial water cooler?”

Now, there’s an answer for at least one of those questions. It comes from Jim Keenan, a social sales expert, who told Forbes about the results of his recent study on the effects of social media in customer service.

The most interesting finding was that in 2012, 78.6% of sales people using social media to sell out performed those who weren’t using social media. He tells me he wasn’t expecting a number that high. Then, Keenan found that when it came to exceeding sales quota (exceeding quota by more than 10%), social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers. Keenan told me that no matter how you sliced the data, social media users came out on top.

No matter how you slice the data. And trust me, you can slice in a lot of different ways.

Many will argue that the numbers may mean more correlation than causation – and they have a point. But consider that over half of the respondents (54%) who used social media tracked their social media usage back to at least one closed deal. Over 40% said they’ve closed between two and five deals as a result of social media and more than 10% of the respondents said; “Yes, It directly contributes to my closes.”

While not quite overwhelming in the way that some data can be, Keenan’s numbers show that social media has a direct positive impact on sales numbers. There are other things that can really help out those same numbers, like paying for leads or advertising, but social media is COMPLETELY FREE.

As in, it costs nothing.

As in, you’re already paying the same price now as you would if you used it. So what do you have to lose?

Social media chart

Studies show that purple and orange are the most effective chart colors (source: forbes.com)

Keenan says the top social selling sites were, in order, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Google+, other. He also tells me that almost 75% of the sales people surveyed said they have not received formal training from their company on how to use social media at all. I’m guessing that it’s primarily due to sales management and their lack of social sales understanding.

There’s an opportunity here. With social media already impacting sales, imagine what it could do if your employees were actually trained to use it. Integrate successful social media strategies into your employee training, and you’ll gain an edge in reaching your customers.

If you don’t have much of an online presence, add Twitter, Facebook, et al. to this list of great ways to interact with your customers. It’s only a matter of time before the businesses that don’t end up in the dust, the modern day equivalent of the betamax. As Keenan says:

Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google Plus, a blog, etc. are no longer nice to haves, they are salesperson must haves.

Betamax

Beta never again. (source: edudemic.com)

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