According to a recent study conducted by Vision Critical, social media strategies can definitely be used to drive sales. There are close to six thousand participants in this study who were interviewed to assess purchasing and participation in social media channels Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
The study showed that among the studied social networking sites, Facebook is odds-on with regards to driving customers to purchase. In addition, the study showed that around 40 percent of social media users decided to purchase items after they have shared or expressed these items as their favorites. When it comes to Twitter, that is equivalent to a tweet or a retweet; for Facebook, that is a share, like or comment, and when it comes to Pinterest, that is a like, repin or pin.
Another result shows that social media can not only drive purchases made online, but also in-store purchases. According to Alexandra Samuel, Vision Critical’s vice president of social media, the significance of in-store purchasing is something that she finds to be quite non-intuitive and something of a surprise.
Samuel adds that this is a colossal finding because of the discovery of “getting the whole story on social from tracking social to ecommerce conversions.” As such, she adds that approximating social return on investment is only close to half complete when you only look at what it does to web purchases.
Furthermore, Samuel says that this recent study should inspire companies to identify why this is the case. She says that the relationship should be identified. For example, what is in tweets that made people go to the brick and mortar store? She says, “was it just an accident? Was it a signal that they were literally walking into your store? Was it because they got feedback from their friends? How much of an influence did that sharing have on your ultimate purchase decision?”
When it comes to promotion and advertising spending, the most important and essential sustaining element is conversion rates. So far, it is quite unfortunate that there isn’t enough data on any tangible conversion rate, which would be very valuable because it helps use understand how a certain item sharer turns into an item purchaser.
Samuel says that information regarding conversion will continually be hard to get, even as research tools continue to evolve and improve. That is because people don’t really know certain information regarding how much they used social media to like, pin, or retweet certain products before they decided to purchase. There are so many product categories, and while for some of these categories it’s easy for people to have an idea regarding these types of social media numbers, for other categories it’s difficult to recall.
Samuel adds that the results of this study will make Walmart or Lowes take an action in response which is much different from what media companies will do. In particular, Walmart and other retailers or brands will think of ways to make people share about their products in social networking sites and bring people to brick-and-mortar stores.
Media companies will confront a different task. For example, Fox’s main objective is to make its avenue an environment that advertiser’s love to promote in. Samuel says that media companies that are smart see “social not as a competing medium, but as an extending medium.” These media companies allow their viewers to interact with promoters, helping viewers become purchasers from social media.