Business means sales. Without sales, you have no business. We get that.

As its root, social media is just another spoke on the sales wheel, driving revenue alongside everything else your business does. It’s not sexy, but it’s true. In business, everything is supplemental to sales.

But here’s a question.

Let’s say you never had to worry about sales again.

Let’s say your company was guaranteed to grow profitably for a century.

In that hypothetical universe, what else would you use social media for?

Maybe you’d focus on customer service.

Maybe you’d focus on shared knowledge.

Maybe you’d focus on efficiency.

No matter what you decide, your options would all have one thing in common: they’d be customer-centric.

Once you no longer need to obsess over sales, you’re free to make your customer’s (and your employees’) lives easier. Because the more your customers and your employees appreciate you, the more loyal they’ll become, and the more they’ll share your brand with the people they value.

Tony Hsieh believed so strongly in the proactive culture he’d built at Zappos that he realized the only way to save his company from the quick trigger finger of his recession-strapped investors was to sell it to Amazon — a move that enabled him to keep his customer-centric culture intact.

He was concerned that his employees would jump ship after the announcement. Instead, they rejoiced, because they knew their livelihoods and their values would be preserved. And, in the aftermath of the sale, Zappos remains just as profitable as it’s always been.

You don’t delight customers by obsessing over sales. But sometimes you do get sales by obsessing over your customers.

So… how is your company making your customers’ lives better?

Image by Iain Browne.