Yes, social media can generate business dollars — very real and measurable dollars.  As I said in a recent Tweet,… Awareness=Revenues. Differentiators=Margins. Authenticity=Loyalty. ALL measurable.”

The concepts are similar to traditional media marketing, but they each have a different twist when you add in the social factor.

Awareness = Revenues

Obviously, if shoppers don’t know your products and services exist, revenues will be hard to come by.  What is not so obvious is the way awareness is created through social media – it’s all about building relationships and connecting to people and networks in meaningful ways.

The first step of awareness is recognition – which means you need to catch someone’s attention more than once. When focused on building relationships, you will naturally be providing repeated exposure to your brand through ongoing interactions with consumers.

Awareness breeds familiarity… familiarity breeds relationships … relationships breed trust … trust breeds recommendations… and recommendations breed purchases.  Therefore, awareness=revenues.

Differentiators = Margins

What sets your brand apart from others?  I’m not asking what you SAY sets your brand apart from others, I’m asking what ACTUALLY DOES set your brand apart.  Social media has flooded the cybersphere with words, so the only way we can prove we are different is to BE different.  Shoppers need to have a good (or great) experience with your brand, whether it’s with your product, your customer service, or any other interactions shoppers have with your brand.

When you are able to truly set yourself apart from your competition, you can price your products and services accordingly.  A high quality product that works better, holds up better, meets a customer’s needs better, and also addresses their wants has higher shopper perceived value and allows greater profit margins.  The key, though, is to price within your own knowledge of the product value or shoppers will sniff out the price-gouging… a huge hit to your credibility.  Remember, negative differentiators don’t get you very far with shoppers (or anyone)!

Authenticity = Loyalty

Social media has given so many people quick and easy access to so much information that shoppers no longer tolerate sales pitches, empty promises, or anything less than a genuine brand message of quality, consistency, and authenticity.   If their experience with your brand suggests that your words are selling something more than you can deliver, they will go elsewhere in a heartbeat.  There is no such thing as a captured audience any more!

Loyalties only get built when shoppers know you are being honest with them and are willing to engage in authentic conversation with them (even if it means hearing things they don’t like about your product or service!).  Before they will “tell it like it is” you need to model that behavior to show them you are willing to take the risk of openness in order to better understand and address their needs and wants.

Authenticity is worth the risk because loyalty in this social media world can quickly grow from one person believing in – and purchasing from – your brand to entire networks supporting and recommending you.

Earn awareness through authentic differentiators, and your reward will be a clear Return on Relationship (ROR):  increased revenues, margins, and loyalty – all measurable directly, or in resulting sales as dollars on a spreadsheet.

It’s time to turn your social media results into a line item; don’t settle for less!

Originally posted at Collective Bias

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