Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Recently, head of an NGO asked me if social media was indeed useful for an organization. Do 'likes' translate to anything tangible for organizations?

While pursuing MBA, one term from accountancy that stuck in my mind is Deferred Revenue Expenditure. Though an expense, it is not entirely treated so. Advertising is one such example. I consider Social Media (or for that matter PR) also as deferred revenue expenditure. However, the return does not necessarily have to be in the long term!

After the experience with the bus company about which I wrote in my previous post, my belief has changed.

Internet is the only medium that empowers organizations to both market and register sales. Social Media platforms can act as great sales tools and generate revenues in addition to being a branding medium, customer service platform, and community builder. This is especially when organizations have a strong social media response team. 
If you read the previous post, you would note that I had already paid the organization for the tickets. When the website failed to record the transaction, all that the Twitter executive had to do was to take details of my booking and book it on the system directly.
In order to leverage social media for sales, organizations have to put in place systems and procedures.
  1. Integrate with the Sales: The social media platforms and representatives must be integrated with the sales process and systems. Reskilling maybe required for professionals to handle sales. The only worry is that organization can overdo it by attempting outbound. That is when social media can become what telesales has become.
  2. Robust payment process: One of the biggest concerns would probably be to do financial transaction. With technology intervention and processes, organizations can ensure that customer data is safe. For example, bank details for transfer should be published and customers can be provided a reference number for every transaction. A wallet system can also be created if required. In fact, it would make immense sense for Twitter to develop systems that allow transaction by allowing the platform be tightly integrated with enterprise software.

Once the systems are in place, not only ‘likes’ but also ‘dislikes’ can be converted into a revenue opportunity.

Social media channels provide a readymade platform for sales. With customers interacting with organizations more frequently over these channels, it should serve as a revenue earner and not merely deferred revenue expenditure.