If you are like me, you have read a lot recently about how critical social media is to the business world. From the sound of it, you might be lead to believe that social media makes up a huge opportunity for sales and conversions. Many writers chastise CEO’s for being apprehensive of adopting social media as a part of their business plan. But is social media everything it is cracked up to be?
The answer is yes, but maybe not in the way you expected.
First, it goes without saying, you should never put all your eggs in one basket. I wouldn’t expect a marketing plan that poured all its money into highway billboards to be successful. The same goes for social media. New data from Custora highlights how foolish that move could be. In terms of profit and new customers, social media isn’t a giant killer. Facebook accounts for less than 1% of all new online customers over the past four years. Twitter does even worse. In fact, customers who come to your website through Twitter shop and spend 23% less than the average customer over 2 years. Facebook customers were only 1% above the average.
So social media is not, to date, a driver of new or better quality customers. The stats show us that organic search and paid search are still the two largest drivers digital customers. Even the almost archaic platform of email pulls in a commanding 7% of new digital customers and those customers are 11% more valuable than the average.
So, I ask again, is social media really that important?
Despite currently being a poor means of gaining new customers, social media is invaluable in several other ways. The most obvious way is customer engagement. You may not be gaining hoards of new customers, but the customers you do have are out there on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Create contests, post pictures and talk to your customers. The more you talk to them, the more they talk about you, and the more they talk about you, the better. In fact, 90% of customers who interact with a brand on social media would recommend that brand to someone else. NINETY PERCENT!
Let’s also not forget how important social media can be for your search rankings. Every customer who posts your link on Twitter helps builds your authority. Every +1 is a vote of confidence that Google listens to. As a general rule of thumb, the more high quality links you have leading to your site, the better you rank. Social sharing is a great way to gain those high quality links.
But perhaps the best reason to jump on the social media bandwagon is… well, the fact it is a bandwagon. Social media may not be the giant that search is, but it is a free way to reach out to customers. Over 1 billion people log onto Facebook. If your competitors are there, leveraging free marketing opportunities, why aren’t you?
Facebook may not be the sales opportunity that Mark Zuckerberg promised, but it is a free opportunity to make your company personable. You can reach out to your customers where they are, connect with them in countless ways, and let them see some of the personality behind your company, rather than just your products. Ultimately, people care about their friends more than they care about brands. Social media gives you a chance to be both.
So get out there, start posting, hop on the bandwagon. You know you want to.