Social media is not a direct sales tool, but is an effective sales tool. It offers a way to interact with a customer during the purchase cycle. On one hand social media marketing could be interpreted as an upgrade of email marketing.
Social media can hold your visitors until they become your customers.
What must a marketer do during the purchase cycle is to create interaction with a consumer on both, emotional and rational level with communication and useful content.
Useful content is cost of staying in touch with your target audience, is a must have.
Useful content is knowledge or information that is valued in eyes of your consumers. It’s most commonly found as “How To…”, “XY Ideas”, … Every succesful marketing has found it’s own way to buy a visitor’s contact (email, Facebook like, Google’s + or Twitter’s follow). Without these every investment you make in online advertising, such as search or display advertising, is mostly thrown away. Because each visitor you get via paid traffic could stay in touch with you in order to gain more information on searched topic.
During that mostly one year’s purchase cycle a consumer can make a “well informed” decision on which company is most eligible to sell her a searched good.