I had an interesting call with the media today around Twitter as a sales and marketing tool. The reporter referenced the fact (I guess it’s a fact as I’m just taking her word for it) that Dell was able to promote a special laptop through Twitter and saw a major spike in sales. In the reporter’s eyes – this shows that Twitter is a closing tool.
While Dell was able to generate consumer interest via Twitter – it was the Dell site that actually enabled a pleasing enough experience that incited customers to buy. Twitter was the medium, not the end.
This applies to more than just Twitter but really to the purpose of social networks in general. The larger the network, I would argue, the more that actual tasks or processes get completed elsewhere. (What I am saying is, yes, I do understand there are online collaborative social networks where an exact outcome is desired online.) Look at LinkedIn – it has become less of a “job site” (I don’t think I have ever even searched their jobs listings) than it has been a networking resource. You don’t get your job via LinkedIn, you get your job because your skills are easily viewed and compared to others on LinkedIn. Seriously, imagine getting an offer letter in your LinkedIn inbox…weird.
Ultimately, these concepts are important, because understanding what role social media plays in your customer lifecycle will allow you to put the right metrics in place to more effectively measure your social media initiatives.