‘Likes’ are not yet sales!

Dec 06 2012 09:52
Bertie du Plessis

WANT TO use social media to get traffic to your business? Before you go, first step on the brake! 

Take a page from Lady Gaga’s manager, Troy Carter:  “51 million likes on Facebook does not mean that you will have 51 million in ticket sales,” said Carter in a recent interview with the Financial Times. 

And he is right! 

Remember your purpose is to get sales. People like lots of things, but that does not mean that they will put their hands in their pockets for those products or services. “Nice to have” is an opinion, not an action.

And there is a huge chasm between opinion and action. We had a stunning demonstration of this in September 2012 with the launch of iPhone5. Some of the blogs and twitter feeds – and that by high profile individuals – were scathing: “Nothing new,” about summed it up.

Yet Apple has sold all the pre-orders inside of an hour and within the first 24 hours 2 million of the new phones, 100% more than the iPhone 4S record! The opinions on social media counted for close to nothing. 

Opinions in the digital universe are cheap. Take the comments on The Economist’s website. Yes, go and have a look. 

Unsophisticated fulminations, people just letting off steam. Compare these with the letters that people write to the magazine under their own name. If The Economist had to adjust their offering to the perceptions of those commenting on the blogs, they would have to turn into a tabloid. 

So, how to use the information on social media? 

Two things:

  1. First distinguish between opinions and behavior. Try to gauge from the Facebook entries what people actually do. Show how your products and services are in line with what they actually do – not with their opinions. 
  2. Secondly, forget about quantity, look for a specific kind of individual. The kind of individual whose behavior shows intense loyalty to you or your product.  Minorities are more important than majorities! Counter-intuitive, but true. 

In building a business, intensely loyal followers, “aficionado’s”, are of more value than numbers. These are the people that you should focus on. They are the ones whose opinions matter, because their behavior tells you that their opinions should matter.  It’s their behavior that ignites action in others. 

Social media becomes very valuable when they help you to find these individuals. And it is with them in mind that you should craft your digital strategy: They are your business ambassadors. Minorities propagate your business, not majorities. 

To return to Lady Gaga, it was precisely because they used social media intelligently and applied these lessons that she came to South Africa in the first place. 

Their analysis showed that there were enough loyal, fanatical supporters in South Africa to make a tour a financial success. 

More on a sound and effective digital strategy next time.

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lady gaga  |  social media  |  entrepreneurs


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