Does social media influence your buying decisions?

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You see a tweet. You buy the product. True or False?

False of course. We are not so easily influenced by promoted pages and promoted tweets.  These promotions are just to make us aware of the product.  Then we will decide.

But how many of us would actually buy just based on social media messages alone?

Forrester has done some research showing that less than 1 per cent of sales actually come from social channels. It watched 77,000 consumer orders placed during April 2012 and discovered that:

Although 33 per cent of transactions by new customers involve more than one trackable touch point, 48% of repeat customers visit multiple trackable touch points.  These touch points include searches for the product, pay per click advertising placements onto websites email blasts and newsletters.

Email is important for return business.  If the brand starts the interaction with an existing customer it is likely to turn into a sale. Thirty per cent of sales transactions come from existing customers that have received an email from the retailer. An additional 30 per cent of customers type the retailer’s URL directly into a browser.

Forty-eight per cent of consumers reported that social media posts are a great way to become aware of new products. however less than one per cent of transactions could be traced back to trackable links on social media sites.This indicates that Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers but are valuable for awareness.

If there are trackable links such as bit.ly and a great analytics engine behind the web site, then social links can be directly linked to sales. But without these processes in place, then the brand needs to focus on awareness and remaining top of mind in its social channels whilst closing sales through other forms of digital marketing, complemented by social feeds.

It is such a shame that many brands still get this wrong…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.

Image credit: Tom Morris