Revolutionary Measures

Social media and the sales funnel

Due to its massive growth companies are flocking to social media. In today’s world you can’t be a self-respecting marketer without a Facebook page, Twitter handle, YouTube channel, LinkedIn profile, blog, Pinterestboard etc.


facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

This is all very well – social media provide a completely new channel that lets your brand interact with consumers in a genuine conversation. However there’s not a lot of thought (or rigour) going into the social media presence of a lot of companies. Some are simply chasing follower numbers, despite the fact that these can be easily bought and others are launching campaigns (like the Waitrose Twitter hashtag project) which seem doomed to attract only ridicule.

Companies need to take a step back and work out where social media is going to help them. If you’re selling a toilet cleaner is it worth having a Facebook page – will people really think it is cool to Like a bottle of bleach? It is time for marketers to put their puppyish enthusiasm to one side and look at some basic marketing and sales concepts.

When it comes to generating sales there’s a well recognised marketing acronym called AIDA, standing for:

  • Attention/Awareness – i.e. attracting the consumer
  • Interest – piquing their interest by focusing on benefits
  • Desire – making them want what you’ve got
  • Action – getting them to take a positive step such as purchase

Essentially lots of social media marketing is focusing on the first point, but doesn’t have a strategy to move people through the rest of the process. I think marketers are getting confused by the speed and accessibility of social media to think that you can skip the middle sections and go straight to Action. In some cases consumers do work like that – a tweet with a special offer on a new film/book/CD is a straightforward transaction, but these are the exception rather than the rule and merely replicate what you are doing through other channels.

Building interest and engagement with your brand takes time – you need to create a community, listen to your consumers and deliver sustained benefits to them. A money off voucher may be good for short term sales, but isn’t building long term loyalty (and who’s to say they wouldn’t have bought your product anyway?)

So marketers need to take a step back and ask themselves an honest question. Do consumers want to have a conversation either with or about your brand? Would they talk about it positively down the pub or is it just something that they buy because the toilet needs disinfecting? It could be that you don’t need that all singing, all dancing Facebook page and you should focus on other offline channels. Less sexy (and not as exciting on your CV) but there could well be better ways of connecting with consumers and driving sales.


  1. Reblogged this on Paul OMahony's Blog.

    Comment by realpaulomahony | October 11, 2012 | Reply

  2. Very interesting article and I think you are right Chris, more and more organisation are using as a sales tool and not a very effective one, actually in most cases it can be the most effective anti sales tool as people are just not interested to be bombarded. What is good with social media is the way that linkedin have now invested in tools that enable them to profile peoples discussions and interests and send them the relevant information…..clearly this costs alot of money but the outcome far outweighs this.

    Comment by jonluckhurst | October 11, 2012 | Reply

    • Exactly Jon – sales can be a long-term process and you have to build up slowly (particularly in B2B). People that think it is a magic wand to conjure up sales will be sorely disappointed.

      Comment by Chris Measures | October 12, 2012 | Reply

  3. Chris, this is all very true; most people in charge of marketing fail to understand the process described above and many agencies or so called expert or consultant in using social media are those that merely know a bit more than the rest of the population. Reality is… the market will reward those that manage the transition toward social media in a proper way and punsih those that don’t

    Comment by Massimo Gaetani | October 12, 2012 | Reply

    • As you say Massimo a lot of the so-called experts may know how to use the tools – but don’t understand marketing or how social media fits in. It is up to marketers to learn and apply the social media skills they need if they are to thrive in the future.

      Comment by Chris Measures | October 12, 2012 | Reply

  4. Great article – It is also important to note that social media is about communication not just broadcasting. If you want to engage with your audience you talk with them not at them. To often companies use their social media channels to act as a loudspeaker for their latest news.

    Comment by James | October 23, 2012 | Reply

  5. […] The advantages of AIDA are that it is simple and can be applied to other activities rather than just buying something – voting, signing a petition or even joining an organisation. Where it does fall down is that it is a linear process that finishes with the sale – there’s no nurturing of the customer after that, no attempt to keep them loyal or to turn them into a brand advocate. That’s one of the reasons I like the model Joe Glover talks about (even if the acronym isn’t as memorable): […]

    Pingback by Marketing to the disinterested « Revolutionary Measures | February 7, 2018 | Reply

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