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Collective Wisdom:    Some expert thinking on five social media questions as we enter the first decade

4.Will we be more, or less optimistic about the ability to sell through social media by this time next year?

4.Will we be more, or less optimistic about the ability to sell through social media by this time next year?

Visit Ian Lurie's blog
Ian Lurie
Portent Interactive
Conversation Marketing
More optimistic, definitely. But also more frustrated, precisely because folks think you 'sell through social media'. You don't - you boost sales from other sources using social media.

Visit Danny Flamberg's blog
Danny Flamberg
Juice Pharma Worldwide
Manhattan Marketing Maven
It depends on two gating variables ... 1. Will the social platforms figure out how to sell and how to engage marketers and agencies with programs and deals that align with brand objectives and deliver business results in ways that are re-sell-able up the client food chain and are generally comparable to the other online media already in the budget mix? 2. Will bell weather brands and social media pioneers divulge hard facts and figures, tactics and real business results that document and promote their use of the social media in ways that rank-and-file marketers can understand, recommend and replicate?

Visit Kelsey Childress's blog
Kelsey Childress
Awen Creative
The Social Robot
Definitely more optimistic. However, I believe that it is a fine line between an effective social media selling method and over-saturating the market.

Visit Jay Baer's blog
Jay Baer
Convince & Convert
We'll be more optimistic about customer service and social CRM, and less optimistic about customer acquisition via social media.

Visit Josh Peters's blog
Josh Peters
Shua Marketing and Consulting
I think we will be more optimistic. As people realize how these tools fit within their current setups and integrate more we will see increased use in sales funnels and a more optimized approach to the whole thing.

Visit Bernie Borges's blog
Bernie Borges
Find and Convert
Find and Convert Blog
I'm concerned we may be less optimistic about the ability to sell through social media in 2010. The reason is a lot of people are starting to use social media with a "bull in a china shop" attitude. These idiots are creating negative results and giving social media a bad rap. Only the marketers who create great content and engage buyers in interesting and compelling ways can effectively sell in social media.

Visit Jim Gianoglio's blog
Jim Gianoglio
Less optimistic. In my mind, social media is absolutely not about selling. If the reason I'm using social media is to sell something, then I'm doing it wrong. Sure, selling stuff (products, services, etc.) can often be an indirect result, but I view that as icing on the cake.

Visit Lisa Barone's blog
Lisa Barone
Outspoken Media
Outspoken Media blog
I think we'll be far more optimistic. If you look at it, small businesses and retailers are already way more optimistic going into 2010 than they were in 2009. Once people start attaching ROI to activities that were one just left to fate and eyeballed, businesses will feel a lot more comfortable allocating money to these newer areas.

Visit Linda Bustos's blog
Linda Bustos
Elastic Path Software
Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog
As people shift their eyeballs from television, newspapers and magazines to the Web and spend more and more time in social networks, social media will be an essential marketing channel. We should be optimistic because we can see consumers are open to interacting with brands and your die hard fans will join your Facebook page or tweet about a good experience or forward a deal to a friend. Social media is far more actionable, interactive and available to others (via search, browsing) than any other channel has been in the past.

Visit Joel Postman's blog
Joel Postman
To answer this question, one has to define "the ability to sell through social media." Is a tweet with a link to a web site selling, or is it marketing? It's really akin to the role of a banner ad. And how do you convert customers, who have simply clicked "become a fan" of a company's Facebook page, or are these people not really qualified leads at all? And if you figure all of that out, how do you sell without being perceived as a spammer? There are so many unresolved issues. I am pessimistic about actual selling through social media.

Visit David Berkowitz's blog
David Berkowitz
Inside the Marketers Studio
This time this year compared to last year has been a vastly different landscape for selling through social media. Marketers have become much more strategic, and much more demanding - in a good way. It's also gaining visibility at the most senior levels of marketers' organizations. I'm incredibly optimistic about how it's going to pan out next year.

Visit Scott Fox's blog
Scott Fox
E-Commerce Success Blog
More. Although early adopters have been excited about social media for years, 2010 is the year that "regular" companies are going to embrace Facebook, Twitter, Ning, and whatever comes next. They will also help drive even more consumer adoption and participation. Result? More revenues via social media marketing.

Visit Jacob Morgan's blog
Jacob Morgan
Chess Media Group
Social Media Globetrotter
That's the wrong question to be asking and not something that consumers are going to be looking for. We shouldn't be selling anything directly; that reminds me of spam. What we should be doing is giving consumers the things they want how they want it. This means you start off by understanding who your consumers are i.e. building relationships with them. Oftentimes consumers will opt in to receive things that are relevant to them. This isn't about companies trying to sell to consumers, this is about consumers telling companies that they are interested in what they have to offer. I'm much more optimistic about companies seeing results in social media; if they work with the right people.

Visit Chris Burdge's blog
Chris Burdge
bWEST Interactive
We will be more optimistic about what social media can do to *help* acquire and keep customers. Social media is NOT a sales channel and if you approach it from that perspective you are sure to be frustrated.

Visit Alexandra Samuel's blog
Alexandra Samuel
Social Signal
Alexandra Samuel
I'd love to think that in a year, the conversation about social media will no longer be focused on selling (though it may in fact take a couple of years for that to shift). I already see a glimmer of recognition that social media can not be successfully tackled as a pure marketing play: some social media leaders are already talking about the importance of change management as a way of leveraging and also managing the potential impact of social media. If you're only using social media to sell stuff, you may burn your brand (by failing to deliver on expectations) and you're missing its greatest potential -- to transform your internal & external relationships and capacity for innovation.

Visit Sharlyn Lauby's blog
Sharlyn Lauby
ITM Group, Inc.
HR Bartender
Right now, I believe people are very optimistic about using social media for sales. As a result, many organizations will put their toe in the social media waters. In a year, their attitude will be driven by how much planning and thought were put into their decision. Organizations that put thought into things like social media strategies, goals, training, etc. will have a different outlook than those who just open a Twitter account and don’t think the process through.

Visit Samir Balwani's blog
Samir Balwani
Samir Balwani (blog)
Much more optimistic. Social media already has the ability to sell. The problem is that we can't directly attribute sales to social media. Since we're able to gather more data and are dedicating more resources to understanding it now, this time next year social media marketing will be in a much better position to justify itself as an efficient sales strategy.

Visit Janet Fouts's blog
Janet Fouts
Tatu Digital Media
Tatu Digital Media
We will be more realistic about the value of social media and that makes it easier to be optimistic-with a really grounded base.

Visit Ryan Peal's blog
Ryan Peal
Momentum Worldwide
Ideas, Imagination & Stuff (a.k.a. Ryan's View)
Oh sweet Jesus in heaven above, lets hope we will be more optimistic. How many more years can it be the "year of social media" or the "year of social mobile media" or the year of "digital." With more funds being directed to social media campaigns brands can actually create movements grounded in social media, and not just as an add-on or something clever to extend an above-the-line advertising spend (yawn - so 3 years ago).

Visit Larry Brauner's blog
Larry Brauner
Larry Brauner
Online Social Networking
There will be some amazing success stories in 2010, but for many marketers, failure to fully grasp social media concepts and to adjust to social media's long tail of ROI will lead to disappointment. This, in turn, may prematurely dissuade marketers from further investment in social media, which would be a strategic error.

Visit Ari Herzog's blog
Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog & Associates
When newspaper obituary sections remain both profitable and among the most eyeballed, how many social media marketing firms advise their clients to place ads in newspapers? I think we will be more optimistic about selling through all forms of media, with SM a piece of the pie.

Visit Ann Handley's blog
Ann Handley
MarketingProfs Daily Fix
The word "sell" here is bugging me. Can we connect with our customers through social media, increasingly, by this time next year? For the smart companies, the answer is yes. For the spammers and short-sighted organizations and stupid companies... God, I hope not.

Visit Mike Volpe's blog
Mike Volpe
Inbound Marketing Blog
Less optimistic, but more realistic. People will realize social media marketing is not magic, it is just another tool, like email, blogging, search engine optimization - and it deserves a place in use alongside all those other tools.

Visit Corvida Raven's blog
Corvida Raven
SheGeeks Blog
We will be so much more optimistic through proper engagement strategies in the next year and beyond.

Visit Cameron Chapman's blog
Cameron Chapman
Cameron Chapman on Writing
I think if all we're trying to do is sell through social media, we're not going to get very far. Form relationships and make your customers happy. Social media marketing is no different than word of mouth marketing, just easier for your customers.

Visit Paul Dunay's blog
Paul Dunay
Buzz Marketing For Technology
Much more optimistic - because of things like storefronts in Facebook, Facebook ads should start to be discovered by marketers and they should have rich media like video and audio embedded in them soon. Facebook ads should become like Google AdWords next year and help marketers sell more in the same way that keywords on search work. We are still in the early stages of social media which I think sets the stage for mobile marketing!

Visit Kevin Gibbons's blog
Kevin Gibbons
Let's be more optimistic! Dell is a classic example of how Twitter can successfully be used to generate sales. Dell claims to have made $6.5m in Twitter-driven sales of products since it started tweeting deals around two years ago. As well as a clear sales platform, Dell is using social media to interact with its customers and as an early warning system of any potential problems so that they can be resolved swiftly.

Visit John Haydon 's blog
John Haydon
Inbound Zombie, Inc.
Social media marketing strategy for non-profits
As best practices become refined, measurement of how social media impacts the sales process, and results are weighed against investment, we will be much more optimistic.

Visit Ravit Lichtenberg's blog
Ravit Lichtenberg
As social media becomes highly integrated into customers' purchasing experience and into companies' selling activities, companies and marketers will be able to target customers much more accurately and, increasingly, will deliver value in ways that customers care about. Imagine booking a vacation and immediately receiving restaurant recommendations, clothing suggestions, and local event highlights--all validated through your personal networks. Or, visualize the next generation Groupon that suggests personalized "whole experience" of products and services to consumers while improving conversion likelihood for companies. I believe there's great promise ahead; optimism is in order.

Visit Lisa Whelan's blog
Lisa Whelan
Socialize Mobilize
Socialize Mobilize Blog
Only time will tell. Sales through social media marketing are on the rise and don't show signs of slowing in 2010.

Visit Susan Payton's blog
Susan Payton
Egg Marketing & Public Relations
The Marketing Eggspert Blog
More optimistic, but more cautious.

Visit Alexander van Elsas's blog
Alexander van Elsas
More optimistic.

Visit Joe Pulizzi's blog
Joe Pulizzi
The Content Marketing Revolution
Again, it depends on purpose. Those who have a clear goal and follow through on that goal, social media will rise to the top.

Visit Mirna Bard's blog
Mirna Bard
Personal Blog
Always relationships first, sales second...I don't really see this changing with social media anytime soon or ever

Visit Greg Finn's blog
Greg Finn
Most people will stay the same, those that get it though will be making a fortune.

Visit Maddie Grant's blog
Maddie Grant
More optimistic. Building community through social media takes time - by this time next year, more organizations will have matured in this space.

Visit Mitch Joel's blog
Mitch Joel
Twist Image
Six Pixels of Separation
We need to get beyond the navel-gazing and trolling. We need to focus more on the real relationships and connections, and figure out a way to make that scale effectively.

Visit Kirsti Scott's blog
Kirsti Scott
Scott Design Inc
Hot Design Blog

Visit Donna Maria's blog
Donna Maria
Indie Business Media
The Media Is You
More optimistic.

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