There’s no disputing that playing in the ecommerce space requires a solid social media strategy. Having a social presence is a must to get noticed online and be where people are spending their time. Social media’s benefits include increased brand awareness, the ability to reach into new demographics, engaging with existing customers, building trust, and much more. In short, there’s a lot of upsides.
But there seems to also be a downside for retailers expecting to boost sales using social media. A recent study show that the number of consumers actually making a purchase from an ad on social media sites is low. An August 2017 study from CivicScience, a next-generation consumer and media analytics company, found that very few US internet users have made a purchase based on ads they saw on social platforms, like Facebook or Snapchat.
Social Ads Lag
According to the study, only 1 percent of respondents ages 13 and older said they made a purchase based on a Snapchat ad. Just 2 percent bought anything based on a Twitter ad. And only 4 percent said they bought anything based on an Instagram ad.
However, Facebook ads performed better. Sixteen percent of users said they bought something from a Facebook adm according to the CivicScience report.. A separate study by CPC Strategy found that those who did click on a Facebook ad were roughly 3.5 more times likely to buy a product than those who didn’t.
Furthermore, t’s important to note that Facebook has more than 1.8 billion active users, significantly more than Instagram (600 million), Twitter (320 million), and SnapChat (150 million).
And while people aren’t buying based on social media ads, social media can be an effective and contributing factor for generating leads and on the consumer’s path to make a purchase.
According to the 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 66 percent of marketers expect to generate leads from social media and 78 percent of people say that their buying decisions are influenced by a company’s social media posts.
Measure for Success
Regardless, the best way to determine if your social media efforts have been successful is to measure key metrics. There are specific key metrics for each platform that can determine success.
- Facebook: Organic Likes, Paid Likes, Unlikes, Mentions, Impressions, Post Engagements, Links Clicked, Reactions, Comments and Shares.
- Twitter: Organic Impressions, Links Clicked, Mentions, Direct Messages, Retweets, Replies and Likes.
- Instagram: Likes Received (Including Live and Stories), Comments, Engagement per Media and Most Engaged Hashtags.
- LinkedIn: Impressions, Clicks, Likes, Comments and Shares.
The next step is to match your goals to actual metrics and behaviors you can measure. Here are a few suggestions of behaviors to measure, based on a few common social media goals:
- To measure awareness use metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification. How far is your message spreading?
- To measure engagementook for metrics around retweets, comments, replies, and participants. How many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating?
- If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Are people moving through social media to your external site and what do they do once they’re on your site? What’s the conversion rate?
- If your goal is to find advocates and fans, track contributors and influence. Who is participating and what kind of impact do they have?
- If your objectve is to increase your brand’s share of voice, track your volume relative to your closest competitors. How much of the overall conversation around your industry or product category is about your brand?
The Bottom Line
Most of all, you’ll also need to perform ongoing analytics. Use campaign-focused metrics to help you understand the impact of specific targeted marketing initiatives. Additionally, you should be performing A/B testing. This will help determine different messaging strategies for each channel.
In addition, aligning your objectives with expectations and tracking everything will enable you to get the most from your social media efforts.