If you look at the raw data, social media doesn’t have a high conversion rate for ecommerce website purchases. Users rarely go directly from a social media site to an ecommerce site and complete a purchase. But as any savvy marketer knows, conversion doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Before conversion comes awareness, which is where social media can make a big impact.
It’s much harder to collect data on social media’s impact on the awareness stage, in much the same way tracking word of mouth was proven difficult in the era before social media. But considering that 1.2 billion people have a Facebook account, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that Facebook does impact visibility.
Using social media effectively requires an understanding of consumer behaviors online. Different social media sites cater to different behaviors and different types of consumers. But the bottom line is that social media is a social activity.
Say for example that you are attending a backyard barbeque with friends and you admire the host’s grill. He tells you he purchased it from a nearby retailer at a deeply discounted price. Being in the market for a grill yourself, what is the likelihood that you will cut the party short and run directly to the store to purchase the grill for yourself? Probably slim to none, considering that you are at the party to socialize, not shop. When you are ready to shop however, you will likely recall your conversation about the grill and make a trip to the store recommended to you by your friend.
The same logic applies to social media. Users are not necessarily in shopping mode while spending time on their favorite social media platforms. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t market to them. You should. But you should also manage your expectations for direct social media to ecommerce conversions while doing so.
You should also put some thought into the relevance of your brand to the demographics of different social media site users. In other words, know your audience. If you sell women’s jewelry, Pinterest might be a good fit for your ecommerce site, considering that 80 percent of Pinterest users are middle-aged women. If your business primarily follows a B2B model, LinkedIn may be a better fit.