Michael Sansolo serves as research director for the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America (CCRRC), as well as a consultant to innovative food retailers and manufacturers. He also is a contributing editor to morningnewsbeat.com.

Marketing

Q

Can social media really be leveraged to actually build sales?

A

There are myriad examples demonstrating the ability of social media to sell products. Someone asked this question during the CCRRC presentation at the FMI show in May. An audience member enthusiastically responded with a story about how their store had an oversupply of seasonal holiday stock. The company ran a special for its Facebook friends and swiftly depleted the inventory. Social media definitely has the ability to generate traffic, but you have to be careful. If you use it this way too frequently or only in this manner, your message becomes noise. You need to find other ways to create value for shoppers.

You can learn more by reviewing the latest CCRRC study. All five parts are available online at no charge at www.ccrrc.org. In early 2013, the Council will release a new series of reports. These will help companies understand internal and external challenges presented by social media, and offer a pathway they can follow to develop effective programs.

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