Tweets and Likes to Sales and Dollars?

Oh, hello!  Remember last week when I told you about the CMA social media conference Colin and I attended in Toronto?  It was an amazing conference full of useful information.  In case you didn’t read, it was all about whether or not social media is good for businesses.  Here’s the thing: when going over the conference in my head, I realized that we were never really given a solid answer.  So, is social media good for businesses?

Some companies are banking on social media as a great way to get a buzz out there.  That buzz should really be bringing in the dollars right?  Recently, while reading Fast Company, I came across an article that tackled the exact same question.  Do “likes” and retweets add up to sales?

 Take Audi, for example.  With approximately 3 million “engaged” fans, Audi has become the most “engaging” entity in the vast expanse of Facebook.  That’s right.  Audi has surpassed the fan power of Justin Bieber.   Audi has even taken the next step in the world of advertising and social media.  During the SuperBowl, they revealed the first ever television ad with an official Twitter hashtag (#ProgressIs) being flashed on the screen.  The response was huge.

The hashtag went viral on Twitter and the “best tweet” containing the hashtag won an amazing trip to California to test drive Audis and have $25,000 donated to the charity of their choice (way to go @jetsetbrunette!  Jealous!) This is all well and good, but am I the only one who’s put two and two together?  Isn’t this costing Audi a lot more money than it’s making them?  Is all this online attention actually inspiring anyone to jump up and buy an Audi?

Doug Clark, Audi of America’s general manager for social media and customer engagement has the answer.  “The equation to measure that doesn’t exist.”

This is applicable to pretty much any ad we see in the social media scope.  Was it the ad you saw on the sidebar of Facebook a month ago that made you buy that pack of Excel?  Or maybe you just remembered that adorable doughnut on their TV spots.  Who knows?

According to Fast Company, funding for social media advertising is often pulled from the pile of cash labeled “experimental”.  But, when you think about it, pretty much all forms of advertising started out as a bit of an experiment.  Who knew telling people why products were “so great” on television would actually lead to sales?  In this crazy world we call the Ad-Game, social media advertising has clearly become the next big step forward, but it could just be a layover on the way to something bigger and better.  As of right now, nobody knows.  That’s what makes the future so exciting!