We often talk about the numerous uses for social media. Many people use the medium as a personal tool to stay in touch with friends and family while other pages on social media outlets are dedicated to branding the image of an organization or business. The people working within the TM Office specialize in the proper social media practices that bring in positive engagement for their clients. We also spend a huge chunk of our time focusing on helping our clients acquire consumers and new sales through traditional Internet marketing tactics like e-mail marketing and search engine advertising. But we’re going to focus for a moment on some major problems that numerous online retailers are making with their social media efforts. Recently there was a report submitted to the public shining a light on how well social media influences consumer purchasing behaviors…and the results weren’t good.

According to a collective research report on behalf of Forrester Research and GSI Commerce, social media has little to no effect on the influence of consumers’ online purchasing habits. The study was conducted during a month long period during last year’s holiday season. The data from the report indicates less than 2 percent of online orders were directly related to social media efforts.

On the other hand, traditional Internet marketing efforts, such as e-mail marketing and search engine advertising, were shown to be very successful for online retailers. The study showed 82 percent of soft goods purchased through online retailers were directly related to some form of a traditional Internet marketing tactic.

According to Fiona Dias, executive vice president of strategy and marketing for GSI Commerce, social media outreach is great when running short-term sales or promotions. But in the long run? Traditional online marketing is much more effective.

Social media pages still have great uses for organizations. They help to keep customers engaged in conversations, which relate directly to the organization and the consumer. But according to the study, sales pitches on social media can be very annoying to the consumer.

What do you think about the results of the study? Do you agree with the findings or do you share a different opinion? And while we’re on the subject, do you think social media pages help boost sales for organizations or do you think social media is better utilized as a tool to project the image of an organization and actively engage your consumer base?

We look forward to reading your thoughts.

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