Here are some cool facts about social media. Each day, there are:
- 75 billion items of content posted on Facebook
- 400 million tweets sent on Twitter
- 2 billion liked photos on Instagram
- 4 billion videos watched on YouTube
These numbers are astounding. It’s seriously crazy how so many people spend so much time on social media sites – liking their friends’ statuses, tweeting their favorite celebrities, catching up with college friends, watching cute cat videos, and sending hearts all over Instagram.
For businesses and marketers, it’s only natural to want to be in the same space as these consumers, and to invest significantly in social media marketing efforts. Your organization probably already has a full-time employee dedicated to growing your social media presence – from Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter to Instagram, YouTube, and Google+.
Here’s another astounding number: U.S. companies are projected to spend close to $15 billion on social media advertising by the year 2018, according to BIA/Kelsey.
Simply put: a lot of time and a lot of money are being invested by companies to build, maintain, and fine-tune their social media presence.
But before you spend all your marketing dollars on Facebook or Twitter, here’s something your organization might want to consider carefully: social media is probably not the game-changing marketing force many think it is.
According to a recent Gallup report entitled “The Myth of Social Media,” a majority of consumers say they do not engage with and are not influenced by brands on Facebook, Twitter, and similar channels. 94 percent say that they are on social media sites to connect with family and friends, while 62 percent say that social media had no influence at all on their purchase decisions.
Check out these graphs accompanying the report:
A passage from the report reads, “(Consumers) are far less interested in learning about companies and/or their products, which implies that many companies have social media strategies in place that may be largely misdirected.”
We’re not saying you should delete your local business page on Facebook or stop checking people’s @mentions and DMs. By all means, continue to take control of your social media presence and engage with potential and existing customers. A strong social media strategy can also improve your performance on search engines and give you more control over what’s being said and found about your business online.
Given all that, we encourage you to focus on your online reviews, too. Tune in to what customers are saying on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google+ Local, and Citysearch (among others). And instead of focusing exclusively on increasing your likes, hearts and followers, try attracting more feedback and generating more reviews, too.
Why? Frankly, reviews matter more than likes and followers, and reviews make an impact on your organization’s bottom line that’s far greater than social media signals can.
Check out these numbers:
- A study by ShareThis and Paley Center for Media shows that a strong positive review can sway a consumer to pay nearly 9 percent more for a product or service. Contrast this with Gallup’s report, where only 5 percent of consumers think that social media exerts a great deal of influence on their purchase decisions. In short, better reviews – not more likes – give you greater influence and pricing flexibility.
- Research by Forrester also reinforces how reviews can trump social media. According to the firm, content found in consumer-written online reviews (46 percent) ranks ahead of posts by companies or brands on social networks like Facebook and Twitter (15 percent) in terms of trustworthiness.
- A 2013 About.com study called “The Trust Factor” also supports the idea that, for consumers, reviews have much more trustworthiness and swaying power than do social signals. In the study, 50 percent of respondents agree that reviews (positive and negative) are the best peer-to-peer contribution to trust. In fact, reviews inspire trust twice as much as general social networking “likes,” and 74 percent say that they’re not sure anyway what “likes” really mean.
- One of the top 5 ranking factors in local search results is online reviews. According to a Moz report, reviews rank ahead of social signals like Facebook likes and Twitter followers when it comes to determining where a local business appears in search results.
It’s certainly helpful to continue implementing your social media strategy. But balance your efforts by keeping an eye on online review sites, too. If you have any questions about how to more effectively manage online reviews and build your business reputation, give us a call and our friendly team will show you how to get started. You can also request a demo of ReviewTrackers and enjoy exclusive access to our award-winning reputation software platform.
(Image credit: Gallup)