by Debbie Josendale
If you believe everything you read about the power of Social Media and business growth, it would seem all you have to do is set up a couple of key social media sites and engage with fans. And just like that ready to buy customers will make your revenue sing cha-Ching!
But if you’re like many small business owners, you may be feeling a bit disillusioned with the results. Your cash registers are not singing and ringing up the millions of dollars in revenue growth that social media hype seems to ensure.
There is a reason for that…social media is not a business growth engine. I recently read an article written by Chris Tayhorn, CEO of mThink and he really hit the nail on the head with a couple of examples.
Competitive Advantage creates Business Growth
Tayhorn specifically talks about the Gary Vaynerchuk story, a legend in using social media to create revenue growth. Gary used the power of video and social media tools to increase the revenue of his family’s wine and liquor store from less then $5 million to over $50 million.
Now that is certainly something to take note of…social media tools increased revenue by $45 million. I’m in!
Except for this one little thing, that Tayhorn points out. Gary Vaynerchuk’s family business was located in New Jersey giving him a unique competitive advantage. The alcohol shipping laws in New Jersey let him do direct-response marketing via YouTube. Now that sheds a whole different light on revenue growth doesn’t it?
Products that People want to Buy…
creates Revenue Growth
Tayhorn also cites the story of Ford. Ford was the only auto company that did not take bailout money. They didn’t need it. Some people attribute that to their strong use of Social Media to promote their cars. Really? I don’t think so.
Ford had long ago taken significant business actions that created a competitive advantage. They began to build cars that people wanted to buy…good gas mileage, good looking with competitive pricing.
Social Media is a Marketing Channel
Now don’t get me wrong…I love social media and it has definitely transformed our world. It’s a fantastic tool to create brand awareness and customer engagement. But it is a marketing channel, not a business growth engine.
Business growth occurs when your product or service fulfills the needs and wants of your customers. And your marketing and sales plans motivate your prospect to buy!
That’s exactly what Gary Vaynerchuk did. He understood his competitive advantage and mapped it to the needs of his target market. Gary knew that most people don’t know how to buy a bottle of wine. So he created educational videos featuring different kinds of wine, and explained the difference in grapes, aging process, resulting taste and pairing with food.
In addition to sharing expertise, Gary Vaynerchuk is a very likeable guy, so people began to rely on him and buy from him. Gary created massive leverage with his competitive advantage by using You-Tube and other social media tools to market his business.
The result…millions of dollars of increased revenue. A brilliant use of social media as a marketing channel.
Social media is not going away, and neither is the hype. To make it work for your business remember it’s your competitive advantage, having something that people want to buy that creates revenue growth. And as Gary Vaynerchuk showed us, social media is a powerful marketing channel.
What do you think?