A recent study by Forrester found that less than 1% of online purchases can be traced back to social networks such as Facebook or Pinterest. While the number may seem startling low at first glance, companies need to build trust among prospective clients before they can expect them to make a purchase.
While some less expensive purchases may happen via social media and after limited brand exposure, it is highly unlikely that pinning one expensive piece of furniture is enough to inspire an immediate purchase. Consumers are savvy and big-ticket purchases require trust. Trust in the company manufacturing the product, trust in the company selling the product and trust that the product meets the customer’s needs. In many instances, this trust is further enhanced by online product reviews, word-of-mouth endorsements, and social media buzz. The social buzz just isn’t the only thing triggering the decision to purchase.
So what does this mean? It’s all about integration.
Social Media isn’t a stand-alone communication tactic. It is an important communication tool for many organizations but is most valuable when integrated with other online content marketing programs and traditional offline communication tactics. Think event marketing, public relations, inbound marketing, networking, etc. By integrating these online and offline communication tactics, brands can have multiple touchpoints with customers and share a range of expertise, all of which builds trust and lays the foundation for converting prospects into leads and transforming leads into clients.
While sales are often the end goal of a marketing campaign – be it online or offline – social media marketing provides other tangible value. It exposes companies to audiences that they couldn’t reach through offline marketing due to geographic barriers, for example, and can contribute to increased website traffic and better organic search results…all of which helps to get a company on its prospective customers’ radar.
While the numbers released by Forrester may seem low at first glance, they are merely a reminder that social media can’t work in a silo. Social Media Marketing programs should be guided by a carefully crafted social media strategy and integrated with traditional marketing and public relations efforts for optimal success. Together, these communications can demonstrate expertise, clearly define a brand/company’s value proposition and work to build the trust that ultimately converts a window shopper into a customer.
How does your brand/company integrate traditional communications and social media marketing to build trust and motivate prospects to become leads and, ultimately, clients?