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How Social Media Made Me Buy Four Jars of Peanut Butter

The social media impact of this tweet was an ROI of $35 bucks.

This weekend, for the first time in my adult life, I found myself watching QVC on a Sunday afternoon.

I had discovered Peanut Butter & Co. months ago through a mention on the Travel Channel’s twitter feed and a YouTube video of their visit to New York.

On this Sunday afternoon, @PeanutButterCo was tweeting that there were going to be several deals on their peanut butter some time between the hours of 12-3pm on QVC.

Less interested in the so-called deal, and more interested in buying their delicious peanut butter in bulk, I decided to take a look at Peanut Butter & Co’s Facebook Page to see if anyone had mentioned their favorite peanut butters.

I also took to their profile on Yelp for additional insight, which had me decided that I’d be really excited if their offer included their maple and cinnamon raisin swirl.

A half-hour into In the Kitchen with David, I got impatient and took a gander at the QVC Facebook page and Twitter account to see if I’d already missed the PB&J section. Ultimately, I found through QVC.com that I hadn’t missed it.

An hour and a half later, the Peanut Butter & Co. section came on and they weren’t offering the flavors that I had been drooling over since the initial tweet.

So, without hesitation, I went to Peanut Butter & Co’s website and $35 later, I had ordered four jars of peanut butter (with shipping). And when I get the peanut butter, I’m going to tweet about it. Because the very existence of the @PeanutButterCo Twitter account makes it easy to mention, and because I know they’re going to read it.

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The social media impact of a simple tweet

Did I wake up Sunday morning and say to myself, “self, you’re craving peanut butter today” or “perhaps today is the day you should try that peanut butter from PB & Co.”? No, I woke up Sunday, ready to hit the grindstone on some weekend work.

But the impact of that one simple tweet caused me to spend two hours watching QVC and an additional half-hour looking for reviews. By the time their segment on QVC came on, I had been immersed in so many dimensions of peanut butter, that there was no way I was ending my day without completing a sale.

This is only one lengthy example of how recommendations on Twitter drive my purchase decisions, and how they drive the purchase decisions of others too.

I bought both of Gary Vaynerchuk’s books, CrushIt and The Thank You Economy based off of his tweets. In return, since Gary provides hashtags for his books and often responds to tweets, I have no hesitation in providing him testimonial after testimonial via Twitter, telling everyone how great these books are.

The ability to use Twitter’s tools, like the @ and hashtag to recommend something, provide me as a Twitter user with validation.

I pre-ordered Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Body based on the recommendations of many of the people I follow on Twitter. Once his Twitter account got me watching and listening to his videos and podcast interviews, I had begun to act like a Tim Ferriss fangirl long before the book even came out.

I also subscribed to the monthly Foodzie tasting  box when someone tweeted a picture of their monthly package of delectable hand-made goodies made by the small, passionate food producers in the Foodzie community. On that note, I also gave a gift subscription to ManPacks based on the same reference.

And I will, many nights out of the month, go out to dinner based on the tweet of someone who is raving about what they just ate at a particular restaurant. I’ve been known to inspire the dinner choices of others too. When I tweeted over the weekend about a Bob & Timmy’s Grilled Pizza opening a new location in Rhode Island, someone let me know that I just inspired them to place a take-out order.

What I’m really trying to say here…

When a company comes to me and tells me that they don’t see the ROI in social media, I cringe. But it also makes me think deeply about these types of things.

I realized fairly quickly on Sunday that I was spending an entire afternoon waiting to spend money on a product that I had never tasted. I was eagerly excited about the product because someone I admired told me that this product was awesome. I validated this testimonial by doing my own research and further defining my purchase decision, as if buying peanut butter on Sunday had been my idea all along.

Word of mouth is an amazingly powerful thing. In social media, I have thousands of people on my radar who I converse with on a regular basis. When someone says they love something, I believe that I may love it too.

With social media, I’m able to get intimately familiar with a product. If I wanted to contact Peanut Butter & Co. that afternoon, I could have had a quick response via Twitter. When I wanted reviews, I looked to Yelp. When I wanted to know what people were saying about their product in general, I looked at Facebook.

My last resort was their website, where I ultimately ended up completing the sale.

Why was it a last resort? Because I knew that their website probably hadn’t changed since the last time I looked at it several months ago. And it certainly couldn’t tell me their customer’s most honest opinions, like say, a Twitter search for @PeanutButterCo could.

I’m not a minority in the social media sphere. I wouldn’t even call myself a highly active Twitter user. Just like everyone else, I like to learn about things from my peers, and I like to share my own experiences right back.

This is why we spend our time on social media. It’s not to make an immediate sale, or to drive a few clicks to our website. The “I” in ROI is simply your investment of time and listening skills. The people will tell you what they want.

Social media is the one place where we’re truly able to both inspire decisions and curate a long line of word-of-mouth marketing. It’s the one platform that can help us generate buzz, just by being there.

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