U.S. companies spent an estimated $5.1 billion dollars on social media advertising in 2013; however, due to a new study, many are wondering whether or not this is money well spent. In past years, conducted surveys estimated over half of consumers based some of their purchasing decisions on social media. But, according to a new poll by Gallup, 62 percent of American’s now say social media has no influence at all in terms of their choice to purchase a product. So, where does this leave your social media campaigns?
Is it really worth it?: Almost Half of Consumers Remain Influenced
With this new pole reporting that the majority of American’s are not swayed with social media marketing campaigns, this leaves many marketing managers questioning whether or not to continue their efforts. Even with a large percentage of customers reporting the lack of influence, there’s still 48 percent remaining– and, that’s a pretty large number.
According to the pole, 30 percent of Americans admit that social media plays some influence in their purchasing decisions, while 5 percent say it’s a huge factor in their purchasing choice, with an additional 3 percent unsure if they are influenced by social media. With these numbers, that still leaves a lot of room for success when it comes to encouraging purchasing decisions.
“With today’s buying power and the current age of social media, the age gap between social media users in now bridged from the point of the purchasing decision to the actual purchase,” says Damian Capello, founder of Red Rocket Media. “At worst, if you need proof of the success of online advertising, just look back at how online stores succeeded for the past 15 years.”
From the results produced by the survey, younger generations appear to be more influenced by social media than older generations; thus, younger generations are more likely to “like,” share, or follow a company’s page. Younger generations are also more likely to be more engaged on social media. Therefore, depending on your business’s niche, social media campaigns to increase your sales may very well still be a viable option.
How can sales be encouraged?: Develop Brand Loyalty and Recognition
To reach that remaining 48 percent of Americans who are encouraged by social media, the overall core to all campaigns remain effective. Developing the necessary brand loyalty from your targeted audience and all it involves is still vital. You may not notice a direct result from your campaigns in terms of sales, but there is indirect potential.
Marketing Land reports that 91 percent of Americans say they have walked into a store based on that company’s online presence. That’s a huge number! Therefore, your online presence via social media is still a critical component to generating potential sales. Not to mention, the use of online reviews. According to Search Engine Journal, 72 percent of customers admit their purchasing choices are based on online reviews, especially those by trusted sources. Use this in your favor by allowing customers to post their reviews on your social networking profiles and share other reviews about your company that are placed elsewhere as social media posts.
“Social media is the modern day version of “Word of Mouth” marketing and advertising,” says eSpark Marketing WSI President, Valeria Marbach. “By showing that you have an active, live business, I see often help with lead generation and credibility building.”
Tying these reviews into your social media posts, in addition to informative and engaging posts, will only further your success generating potential sales as Forbes reports that 78 percent of customers base purchasing decisions on social media posts. This provides you with a great opportunity to sway customers’ decisions, especially if you’re able to create a post that is shared among your audience because this then brings that number up to 81 percent. Customers trust their friends more than companies; therefore, when they see a post or review shared by their friends, they are further influenced to purchase a product or service.
What’s the bottom line?: Social Media Marketing is Still Viable
Consumers have become far more savvy over the years. They now conduct research prior to making a purchase, this includes using all available sources for information, such as social media.
“It’s hugely important to have a social media strategy part of every marketing plan. SM is now how people talk, research, learn and also buy,” says Marbach.
Traditional advertising methods may still be more effective for older audiences, but if you’re thinking to the future, you need to connect with the younger generations. Social media is that very ticket to your success.
As the number of consumers who are influenced by social media has slowly decreased, now more than ever you need to beef up your social media campaign to stand out from the crowd. Utilize social media to build your brand recognition and customer loyalty to be the forefront among your competitors. Enhance your dialogue and build relationships with your customers because, whether they are aware or not, it will influence their choice to pick your company over another. As a result, your efforts will pay off as you adapt to your customers’ needs. You’ll sustain the level of trust you need among your customers to ultimately encourage their choice to make a purchase.
- “Americans Say Social Media Have Little Sway on Purchases” June 23, 2014 Gallup.com
- “30+ Statistics How Social Media Influences Purchasing Decisions” Jan. 24, 2014 SocialMediaToday.com
- “How Social Networks Can Encourage Sales” Jan. 3, 2013 InternetRelailer.com
- “Does Social Media Influence Purchase Decisions” June 24, 20014 BizReport.com