"SALE" by Gerard Stolk on Flickr

You may use social media to increase brand awareness, build a loyal community or manage customer service, but make no mistake: you are always selling.

Every tweet you send is a pitch.

Every Facebook status update is an advertisement.

Every YouTube video is a commercial.

Your company’s social media presence might provide the most friendly, engaging and community-oriented experience any human being has ever had online… but it’s still a sales tool.

This shouldn’t be surprising.  Think about your brick-and-mortar store, or your corporate headquarters, or your fulfillment center.  Why do any of those facilities exist?  To sell products.

Your store is a point of sale.

Your office is where you manage your employees… so they’ll increase sales.

Your fulfillment center is where product is shipped… completing sales.

Your customer service center helps keep customers happy… so they’ll buy more.

So while social media may be about “conversations” and “communities” — and we’d never deny that those are the social structures which make these tools useful — when it comes to brand interaction on these channels, the bottom line is always, always sales.

You tweet to give your followers a snapshot of your company’s personality… so they’ll buy more from a company they can relate to.

Your Facebook page gives your customers a place to ask questions and provide feedback… so you can optimize the sales process.

Your YouTube videos can be funny, informative or inspirational… as long as they incite viewers to buy what you’re selling.

Be as social as you want.  Be talkative, personable, informative and entertaining… but always be selling.

Because just being interesting won’t keep the lights on.

Image by Gerard Stolk via Flickr.