What did 2015 deliver in social?
The year saw social continue to break out from marketing-only thinking. More senior management embraced and exploited the social web. We saw it first-hand in the financial services, logistics and energy efficiency services sectors. CEOs were part of many of these discussions, in some cases driving the strategies personally.
Surprisingly, CFOs were missing in action, but as sales revenues and ROIs go up on the back of social engagement and social selling, they will undoubtedly be happy to come to the social party.
More sales teams now embrace social selling, and make it work. Those that still don’t continue to realize that they are being left behind. We saw integrated social selling and prospecting across sales engagement, sales management and social media channels, creating single views of what sales teams were doing.
Clients used the social web to generate engagement, increase brand presence and drive consumers to their web sites to make sales.
Value, relevance and engagement count for more than ever, even as sponsored and paid media engagements and channels (and constraints) continue to grow. Our experience in 2015 with clients is that organic (earned) media still lead the way. Consumers can still spot advertising, whatever it’s name.
And into 2016?
More businesses will use the social web to drive revenue. The ROI equation becomes clearer each year. Great news for businesses of all sizes, not just large ones. More SMBs will make social work for their sales and brands.
COOs, CEOs and CFOs will realize that the social web gives them the hard data with the answers on ROI, win rates, sales opportunities, customer satisfaction. The result will be bigger spending on social, reduced spending on advertising. Why shout when you can engage?
Social will kick-start more disruption, especially by upstarts on incumbents. The upstarts can afford to invest in the social web because it gives greater returns for a lower outlay, with faster results from customers saying they are ready to engage, ready to buy. The incumbents will learn to fight back.
Sharing and engaging are great, and will remain the essential precursors to what really counts: buying. We think that the process that starts with discovery and ends with sales via leads, insights, engagement and creation will accelerate.
Mobiles will still rule, but don’t write off the desktop It’s still a portal to the social web and the real-time insights into customers and prospects that can be found there.
Take your preferred device, create your social selling strategy, tap the power of the social web to discover the insights you need, engage and sell.
(This post also appears at digivizer.com.)