SOCIAL media… all talk, no action! It may well be one of the best communications tools a business can have, but new research finds it doesn’t hold up when it comes to making money.
Figures from Forrester track 77,000 purchases to examine what made customers buy; and only 1 per cent of those sales came from sites like Facebook. The main generators were the old faithfuls – email marketing and search marketing. With so many small businesses putting effort into maintaining a healthy presence on social media, the research begs the question: Is it worth it?
The most common ways people purchased items were through direct visits at 20 per cent, organic search at 16 per cent and paid search at 11 per cent. Catriona Pollard, the managing director of CP Communications, says businesses need to determine how they’re measuring the return on investment from social media.
“From a social media perspective, it depends on what your objective is,” she says. “I think social media is great for brand awareness, and building the trust that eventually leads to a sale. It might not actually mean that people click on the shopping cart, but it will lead to a trusting relationship. “There is a link, but it might not be direct.”
The concept of measuring return on investment with social media is problematic. Questions have already been raised of how lucrative advertising on social platforms like Facebook can be.
Pollard’s idea that social media should be used as an engagement tool rather than a selling tool has merit. A recent American Express survey found 55 per cent of respondents said the main reason they use social media is to develop relationships with customers, while 50 per cent said they use it to market products and services.
Pollard says taking the long-term approach can yield ongoing and consistent results, rather than a direct link between social platforms and the shopping cart.
“Social media is focused on thought leadership and positioning the brand, and that’s where it plays an important role.
“Consumers may not be clicking through, but I would absolutely suggest that it’s leading to sales.”
Patrick Stafford: Analysis
To finish off this month’s e-Sight it was only fitting that we played the first instalment of Facebook’s ‘we better advertise now’ TVC. ‘Chairs are like Facebook’… well they aren’t, but that’s advertising for you! To follow, given it’s the ‘Big Beer Ad’ time of year, we thought you’d appreciate the latest little gem from Guinness. Enjoy!
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