October 29, 2012 / by DannyS

In 2012, there are still businesses, brands and people who still don’t understand how social media has become a vital tool in the business model. Whether it creates sales is still debated, as if the phone should be considered a more useful tool (I don’t even answer my phone anymore unless you’re my grandma – she doesn’t text). People want to dismiss the connected web as a trend, some sort of subculture full of millenials and nobody else. Unfortunately for them, this isn’t even remotely close to the truth.

A recent Pew study shows who is using social media and the content to support social action:

  • 12% of online adults say they use Pinterest, which is dominated by women. Nearly a fifth of online women (19%) use Pinterest, a site that allows users to organize and share content from around the web by “pinning” photos and images into “pinboards” that are organized by categories or themes.  Each “pin”, which includes a caption, links back to the site from which it originated.
  • 66% of online adults use Facebook
  • 34% of LinkedIn users have a household income of $75,000+

These data points support the notion that social media can’t be looked at like a trend. As a marketer, whenever there is a concentration of people you target it and find a strategy to gather awareness. This is why the Superbowl can command so much money.

I was recently contacted by a local author, David Quammen. His book, Spillover, launched at the beginning of October. We met, we chatted and in the initial meeting he told me that he knew he needed to get social but wanted to go about it the correct way.

Growing at a healthy rate of anywhere between 400-600 followers a month on Twitter, a Reddit AMA in the bag and more social optimization throughout his already established marketing efforts makes him approachable. Few authors (and companies) understand the importance of approachability. Now he is approachable, day, night, holidays and weekends. Twitter facilitates this. Read something in Spillover that is puzzling? Shoot him a question! This is the same thing that consumers should be able to do for anything involving a potential purchase. Unfortunately, businesses don’t address Twitter with immediacy. It might be weeks before you get a response, if at all. It’s not seen as the terrific communications tool that it is – people are missing the greatness.

David’s efforts have directly turned to sales and terrific sentiment – the people love him! Several times, while monitoring his digital impressions, I have seen people allude to David’s communications driving them to purchase his new book. Had David not amped up his interactions and digital presence through social media, would Spillover have blasted it’s way into Amazon’s Top 100 Bestsellers? Would Anne Rice have publicly recommended it via Facebook if social media wasn’t important? How about the fact that David was able to connect with an influencer in the science community that has raved over Spillover, this was due to the closeness created by Twitter and the sub-communities that build inside it’s system.

Social media isn’t the deciding factor between top seller and not selling, however, I feel Craig Daitch (Social Media Manager for Ford Motor Company) said it best at SXSW 2012:

“What’s the ROI in not doing social?”

Danny Schotthoefer is the digital strategist/community manager at an advertising agency in Bozeman, Montana. He is also a TEDx event organizer and an avid Oregon Ducks and Portland Trailblazers fan. You can also find him running via Nike+ and cycling via Strava – he is highly social. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn. Forewarning: He Talks A LOT!


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