Social media doesn’t work.

I’m sure this statement may start lot of controversy, but I’m looking forward to it. There is so much talk today about how social media is important to businesses. I agree that it plays a pivotal role, but not as much or is it as important as many believe it to be.

Case in point: you have an e-commerce website. You are proud of your product but you’re not seeing the amount of sales you would like to see. So, you talk to a friend about it and they tell you the reason why you’re not getting any sales is because you’re not on Facebook or Twitter. So, you jump online and you get on Facebook and Twitter and you start tweeting and posting about your products every chance you get. But when you still don’t have any sales you go back to your friend and he tells you “Well, the new things are Google Plus and Pinterest. If you’re not on there, that’s why your sales are low. So now you jump on Pinterest and Google Plus and start posting and pinning, but you still don’t see any sales.

So once again you go back to your friend and complain that you aren’t selling anything on your website, and they tell you “Well, you’re postingwhoops the wrong stuff and the wrong pictures, and you need more followers more likes and more friends…and then you’ll get sales.”

Now, I must admit there is truth to what your friend is telling you. However, if at the beginning your friend said to take a look at your website first, you might come to find out that it doesn’t matter how many social media accounts you have, how many followers you accumulate, or what you post because the website won’t accept orders in the first place. You forgot to set up PayPal or your customers are getting an error in the checkout process. The reason why you’re not getting any sales has nothing to do with social media and everything to do with the experience your website visitors have just prior to accomplishing your objective.

I see this time and time again. There so many marketers out there that know their vertical and marketing channel like no other and are great and what they do. Unfortunately, they only know about one piece of the puzzle. It’s my belief and my philosophy, and it is shared by all of us at Outspective, that social media is just one ingredient in the recipe that results in success for business online. In order to be truly successful, your business must work with someone who knows and understands your business objectives, and who can look at the big picture and come up with a holistic, integrated strategy.

Most businesses have the same objective: increase sales and reduce expenses. More often than not, this happens not at the social media level, but at the level of the website. Social media is a platform that allows a company to share their story and enter into a conversation, with the end goal of encouraging their followers to visit that company website, then the location if there is one, and purchase. It is there at the website level that business objective is accomplished.

Look at the big picture. Begin with the end in mind. Start with your ultimate business objective and work backward, using an integrated approach that points towards your website. Are you working with a digital agency that believes in this approach? Or are you hearing constant sales pitches for social media, seo, PPC, etc. etc.?