“Can’t we just get Kim Kardashian to retweet it?” I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of someone suggesting this to you as you’ve wound your way through the world of social media – probably not – that’s why you’re not in prison for the grizzly murder of a sales person who made one too many helpful suggestions. (Unless your reading this from a secure unit, then dear reader, read on.)

It’s a common problem, social media means different things to different people – and it probably comes from the persons perspective and incentives. For instance – the sales person is there to sell – at all costs, they often don’t give much thought to the how… Selling on social media seems perfect – get the person with the most followers in the world on the case – we’ll have these iPad cables sold out in a jiffy. Heck – you probably would but that’s beside the point!

A Social Media Manager takes a different view, they have to think like the potential customers – why should I be interested in this? Why should I follow a company or lend them my like? This can be extremely frustrating for the Salesperson – they want to leverage the audience – and hit their targets! Social Media promised so much, they cry!

These differing perspectives can lead to tensions – how many times has the sales department come to you and asked can you push this on Facebook? Work your social media magic on this… They are often met with a sharp intake of breath and the demeanour of a mechanic at MOT time. This isn’t because we want to get in your way, far from it. We understand that without you bringing the Benjamins in… we wouldn’t be here. That’s a fact; but we’ve also learnt a thing or two about this marketing malarkey.

Social won’t do the sales job for you, it makes it easier to reach people. The fly in the ointment is that making them buy is just as hard as it ever was. This  doesn’t mean you can’t make money using it, far from it – you just have to think differently.

Some Social concepts that could help:

How many followers do we have? Followers aren’t the same thing as hits to a webpage or number of people on an email list – its better than that. It’s the first level of your potential audience. Whether these people see your content or not depends on an algorithm – generally how engaging your content is. Then when those people see it, if they interact with it, then their friends have a chance of seeing it, and so on. Like a pebble in a pond, your content making ripples, pushing towards people that will interact with it.

So how can you do it

  1. Package content for engagement  – people are generally quite aware when your ramming a sales message down your throat – if you have a relevant audience people are generally receptive to hearing about you, just don’t push buy buy buy
  2. Find an angle – if you’re a hotel and have an offer on rooms, why not show a picture of an interesting bedroom – ‘ would you like to sleep here? Here’s your chance:’ rather than – this is a cheap deal for this hotel
  3. Add something special – exclusivity: give people a sense of privilege in following you – a special promo code or a chance to buy before you email it out
  4. Collaborate – no man is an island entire unto himself – co-ordinating your campaign with your partners can help create bigger impact, plus you both get to speak to audiences you wouldn’t normally.

So hopefully we can now all be friends and make tonnes of cash, by remembering one simple thing – we can take people to the social media waters but we can’t make them drink – it’s your quality product that does that.  Not Kim Kardashian.