A lot of us know that Social Media interactions does result into actual sales.
Unlike search, social sharing is not the perfect signal for intent. However, it does not mean that social media does not influence purchase decision. In Fact Social media does help in building intent or nudging visitors towards a purchase.
The correlation between social sharing and a purchase might not be as direct as between a search query and a transaction but it definitely is there.
A recent study from Vision Critical tries to quantify the impact of social sharing on purchase.
Here are some Key Takeaways from the Study:
1) 4 out of 10 social media users have purchased an item online or in store after sharing or favoriting it on Twitter , Facebook or Pinterest.
In other words it doesn’t matter if you are a Fortune 500 company or a one man shop, in todays world presence on Social Media is a must. However Social presence is not going to be enough, you will need to come up with ways to engage with your fan base.
2) Social Media drives roughly equal amounts of online and in-store purchasing.
It means than social interaction play an important role in brand building.
3) Pinterest is the network most likely to drive impulse purchase.
Well if you are into selling Life Style products then building a presence on Pinterest might be your best bet.
4) Facebook and Twitter purchasers are more likely to make social media related purchases of product they were already researching and considering.
So if you are a digital electronics retailer then building a presence on FB and Twitter might be more beneficial. According to this study , if referrals are a large part of your business then Facebook is the platform to build on. Just like anywhere else, it pays to influence the influencers
5) Facebook is the network most likely to drive customers towards a purchase.
So if you are short on resources then it would be best to focus on Facebook alone. Keep the fan base engaged by providing offers, coupons and running contests.
After this study, it is safe to assume that Social Media interactions do result in sales. The trick is to build a presence which engages and educates your fan base.
According to me, the biggest barrier in building an engaging presence is that a lot of business owners treat social media as sales channel. Social media is not a sales channel, it is a communication channel. Engage with your fanbase, Converse with your fanbase and sales will follow.