The reason I leave a question in the title here is because I really don’t know. I had dinner with a former boss this weekend and after a long discussion about social media (because he did not know too much and wanted to learn), he posed a question about social media’s ability to draw NEW customers. It is very obvious that SM can build loyalty and survey the needs and feelings of existing customers, and evaluate trends, but is it bringing in unique customers? Should it?
My initial reaction was that SM does bring in new customers and it should…but then I thought about it.
Take Twitter for example – You follow the accounts you are interested in. If you do not know or already dislike a product, you will not follow their account. Therefore, you are not a likely candidate to be a new customer. Yes, customers will engage with brands they like, but will new people engage?
These comments get me leaning toward SM as a branch of PR. Create impressions, gain coverage, get your product out.* Kraft/DiGiorno (with the help of Weber Shandwick) has illustrated this idea. Their recent announcement about delivering pizzas to tweet-ups has gained a lot of attention. I consider the campaign PR, but it has generated social media buzz. So maybe the campaign is PR, and what they do with it next to gain new customers will be the responsibility of SM. Hopefully I will get the chance to ask Weber how they have viewed the campaign later this week.
Perhaps SM is an “other” that cannot exist without the family to which it is associated. This implies that SM needs its own specialists within agencies that have an understanding of Marketing and PR. I know a few of you are just as thankful for that comment as I am.
I apologize for the lack of answers here, I’m looking for your opinion. Where are you getting your budget from? Marketing? PR? Other? Will their soon be an SM budget for companies? Does your SM bring in unique customers? Is that even the goal?
* Understandably simplified. Sorry PR people.