There was an article on Marketing Pilgrim today that discussed the results of a survey conducted to determine the effect of sales on Social Media Marketing. The survey results are heavily leaning towards an underwhelming conversion rate from this form of marketing. Nevertheless, this isn’t a perfect case study on Social Marketing and you need to read between the lines when taking these results into consideration.
Many of the people involved in this study believed that information they have seen on social networks didn’t influence their purchasing decision. On the surface, I would agree with them because most information you see on social networks isn’t shown to you when you are in the process of making a buying decision. The real power of Social Media Marketing is the brand building and the longevity of the content a company adds to a social community. A statement made by a company and picked up by someone you Follow on Twitter can impact a purchase you make at a later point but you wouldn’t necessarily correlate that with your buying decision. There may also be content that was created on a social network that gets displayed in the results of your Google search that may influence your decision to purchase a product but you also may not realize that the information is even coming from Social Media Marketing.
The lesson to be learned here is that marketing doesn’t always correlate easily to direct sales. We have become too dependent on measuring your ROI from Internet Marketing. Marketers need to understand and respect the long term value of building a brand through the web and just because you don’t see instant revenue from a marketing campaign doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be effective.