New Study on Selling Via Social Media Says "Have a Clear Purpose"

Well, the study doesn't really say this.

The research by ES Research Group is summarized on the Referral Key Small Business Blog. Simply put, the results imply that social networking sites don't help close sales.

Will this be a controversial study or will it be discredited and then completely ignored after a couple days?
  • Some people in social media are going to disagree because they are using it very successfully, although not necessarily as a sales tool.
  • Some people are going to be disappointed that social media isn't the answer to all their sales and marketing problems.
  • And some people will ignore it because they are having waaayyy too much fun with the new media to care what anyone else thinks.
Paul Greenberg of ZD Net has a number of problems with the study, not the least of which is that social media really isn't a sales tool. He says that the survey is asking the wrong questions. It's worth a trip to his post to be reminded of the reasons you're using social media. Take the time to view his slideshow at the end.

I admit, the study really doesn't say "have a clear purpose." I say it. This survey and the reaction from other technology bloggers such as Jessica Tsai remind me to emphasize to you that social networking is still very much like in-person networking:
It's not about selling, it's about developing relationships. And if you're not clear about your purpose for networking, it's going to be a big waste of time.


  1. Anonymous7:06 AM

    Hi Beth,

    My firm ES Research Group did the study.

    I agree with Greenburg. Social media isn't a sales tool.

    The reason we did the study is because with all the hype around social media we're seeing too many salespeople (and many of their managers) thinking it will help them win business. They're wasting time and getting distracted from doing the things that will help them sell more effectively.


  2. Hi Beth:

    The main problem, I think, is that many companies are falling for the latest social media fad, and don't have a strategy behind what they're doing.

    Also, the expectations sometimes are out of proportion. This is not advertising, where you could talk about how great your product was and people used to believe it.

    Like it or not, today's kids will be the big consumers of tomorrow, and they won't read newspapers or watch the nightly news on TV. They're going to make purchasing decisions based on what their trusted network of friends and contacts is saying, so companies need to start embracing (and understanding) social media now.