According to eMarketer, 27% of retailers said they’d spend most of their marketing budget on social media, up from 18%. And 75% said they had a social media strategy this year as opposed to only 51% last year. But does this rise in activity mean a rise in sales?
We’ve been told that Black Friday and Cyber Monday both did very well this year, but is it as a result of all the social media air time?
Practical eCommerce took a look at this very question and came up with some interesting answers. They began with numbers from Hitwise who said that, “social networks referred 4.39 percent of traffic to the top 500 retail sites on Black Friday 2010.”
4.39? That’s not so much.
Their expert, George Eberstadt, CEO of TurnTo Networks says:
“The social stigma against shilling is as strong today as it’s ever been, and that limits the amount of commerce-related sharing that’s ever going to go on – the popularity of social media hasn’t changed that.”
Shilling. Haven’t heard that word in awhile, but it’s a valid point, except during the holiday season. Because everyone is on a buying spree, we’re much more likely to tolerate a barrage of sales Tweets and updates. But imagine if marketers maintained that same enthusiastic level of social media marketing throughout the entire year? I love a good deal, but I’m already growing weary of the onslaught.
The article goes on to say:
“Eberstadt added that he believes social commerce will ultimately be more important to brands and stores than social media marketing. “Social will be more important as a discovery and decision-making tool for people that are in-market for goods and services than as a way to promote and advertise.”
An interesting distinction and one I believed we’ve addressed here before. It’s the difference between conversational Facebook updates and a continuous stream of sales pitches.
So while your Facebook and Twitter followers might be okay with “Save 50% on Blu-ray Players” today, after Christmas they’re more likely to respond to “what’s your favorite movie on Blu-ray?” They’ll not only respond but they’ll share their answer with their Facebook friends who will also come and answer, resulting in more “likes” for you and more potential customers when one of them decides to buy a Blu-ray player.
What do you think? Are your social media efforts paying off in actual sales, or is brand awareness the ultimate goal?