I recognize that preaching the importance of social media to businesses is a little redundant. By now, buy-in to social media marketing is near ubiquitous, but I still find that many organizations have a difficult time quantifying the value they can achieve through the strategic use of social media.
While I certainly don't have a silver bullet response to help everyone understand the actual quantitative value of social media marketing, there are some incredibly compelling stats I'm going to share here to help you understand just how important social platforms can be to your business.
91% of people have gone into a store because of an online experience. (Source: Marketing Land)
This is a crazy statistic, but intuitively makes sense. Think about your own behaviour as a consumer. You probably spend a great deal of time researching the products and services you're interested in online before making a purchase decision. And why wouldn't you? With a world of information at your fingertips, it would be foolish to not research purchases online, read reviews, look up prices, get a sense for who you will be working with, determine how products are supported and serviced, and more.
You have to make sure that your website and social media properties are up-to-date and providing the information your current and prospective consumers are looking for. If they can't find the pertinent information that will sway their purchase decisions, they'll buy from a company that does.
89% of consumers conduct their research using search engines. (Source: PR Newswire)
What ranks incredibly well in search engines? Well, social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and of course, Google+ and YouTube do. It's also worth adding that regularly updated, properly written blog posts tend to rank quite highly as well.
Social media properties often land on the first page of search results for businesses and brands of all sizes. You have a tremendous opportunity to impress information seeking consumers on your social media properties when they are conducting research for a purchase, so take advantage of this and ensure that you're putting your best foot forward.
62% of consumers end up making a purchase in-store after researching it online. (Source: Marketing Land)
Talk about fantastic conversion.
When a consumer takes time to research a product or service online, they are predisposed to making a purchase decision. So again, it's absolutely imperative that your digital properties - website and social media - are set up to guide consumers on their purchase journey and impress them to the point of making a favourable purchase decision.
Acting on this is imperative. You don't want consumers being impressed by your competition at this critical stage of their decision-making, do you?
72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Source:Search Engine Journal)
This means that 72% of people trust complete strangers just as much as people they know when it comes to making a purchase decision.
Apply this knowledge right now and devise a strategy for encouraging consumers to leave reviews on your social media properties. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Yelp are all great places to encourage your social media audience to leave a review.
78% of consumers say that the posts made by companies on social media influence their purchases. (Source: Forbes)
What this shows us is that you truly have opportunity to sway consumer purchase decisions through the content your business creates and publishes on social media.
Making this statistic even more amazing is that 81% of people say that posts by their friends on social media influence their purchases. This means that the content your business publishes isalmost as important as the content of trusted friends, which is mind-blowing.
It is absolutely critical that your business consistently publishes killer content. A result of the inherently fleeting nature of social media content is that you need to be refreshing your content streams on a regular and ongoing basis.
But don't just publish anything. Content needs to be seen as highly valuable by your existing and prospective consumers to ensure that when they decide to check out your business online, that they're presented with the absolute best you have to offer. It's an old and overused expression, but you only have one chance to make a first impression, so capitalize and convert on this.
These numbers are absolutely amazing, and if they don't rejuvenate your enthusiasm and dedication to creating killer content and having a meaningful dialogue with your social media audience, you should check your pulse.
Today's savvy consumers are looking to make informed purchase decisions, which means they're tapping all available sources of information, most of which are found online.
Traditional advertising yields predictable results because of the decades of research reports we have at our disposal and rich history many of us have using traditional channels to sell our brands. Most of us know that if we put X dollars toward traditional media channel Y, that it will result in roughly a return of Z.
But - and this is a BIG but - consumers are increasingly dismissing traditional advertising as being untrustworthy. In fact, upwards of 75% of consumers don't accept traditional advertisements as truth (Source: Hubspot).
It's so important that we continue adapting to satiate the needs of our consumers. This means finding new ways to enhance value propositions, develop dialogues, and forge real relationships with our consumers to build and sustain the levels of trust that ultimately influence their purchase decisions.
Can you attribute sales to your business' social media activity? What value have you experienced through social media marketing? What value does your brand offer your social media audience?