Gallup says social media is a sales tool money pit


Social Media is a great way to connect with family and friends, but it’s a lousy marketing tool.

That’s the skinny from the Gallup’s State of the American Consumer Report.

Even the Millennials agree.

The report is based on “Americans’ self-reported estimates of how much social media campaigns affect their purchasing decisions. While social media may have more influence than some Americans realize or will admit, these data show that relatively few consumers consciously take into account what they learn from social media when making purchases.”

According to the report, “an overwhelming 94% of social media users say they use these channels to connect with friends and family, illustrating the primary need that social media fulfill. Far less, 29%, say they use social media to follow trends and find product reviews and information, while 20% says they visit social networking sites to comment on what’s new or write product reviews.”

The Bottom Line: “U.S. companies spent a combined $5.1 billion on social media advertising in 2013, and they obviously believe that this presents them with a return on investment. However, a solid majority of American adults say that social media have no influence at all on their purchasing decisions — suggesting that the advertising may be reaching smaller segments of the market or that the influence on consumers is indirect or go unnoticed.

In the State of the American Consumer report, Gallup reveals that consumers who engage with brands often do so when they are already attached to a product or service. Companies that engage their customers — by providing exceptional service and a pleasurable in-store experience — will, in turn, drive those customers to interact with them on social media. Simply promoting products and services on Facebook or Twitter is unlikely to lead to sales.

“However, companies can use social media to engage and boost their customer base. Consumers appreciate the highly personal and conversational nature of social media sites, and they prefer interacting in an open dialogue as opposed to receiving a hard sell. And companies’ use of social media to provide timely responses to questions and complaints accelerates brand loyalty and, eventually, sales. When it comes to social media efforts, businesses stand to benefit when they utilize a more service-focused approach rather than one dedicated to simply pushing their products.”

CLICK HERE for the full report, questions and responses and methodology.

 

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