In a 2017 survey conducted by CMO, almost half of the participating companies that employ social media marketing said they couldn’t show any quantifiable impact it made on their business. So what’s going on? Does social media marketing really increase sales? How can you measure your return on your investment? Or is Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube more suited to building relationships with your user base instead of bringing in the big bucks?
In this article, we shall tackle the question that many businesses ask themselves whenever they are looking to invest in online advertising: can social media marketing really increase sales?
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The relationship between social media marketing and sales – The basics to know
Online advertising through social media channels can in fact provide a quantifiable impact in practice, but only if your ads and campaigns are done in a coordinated and calculated way. According to Dog and Pony social media marketing agency – a business located in Hungary – small and large companies alike can increase their sales through social media campaigns, if they have a strategy that is tailored to match their market, brand, and size.
In short, if you don’t have a solid plan and measurable goals in hand, there’s no way you would be able to see any quantifiable impact on your business.
Does social media increase sales for small businesses?
Small businesses can increase sales through social media marketing but do require a bit more creativity to get more results, as they do not have a large base of followers (yet).
Here are a few examples of what smaller businesses should focus on during their social media campaigns:
Building brand awareness and brand recognition
The main weakness of small businesses compared to larger companies is that they have to fight more to make their voice heard and stay in the mind of their user base. As such, the initial focus should be on building a consistent presence, timing their ads right (though this is vital in all cases), and providing incentives to encourage users to come and see the business again.
Creating a brand personality
Constructing a relatable brand personality can be a surprisingly effective way to increase sales through social media. It is a necessary step either way for small businesses who haven’t yet defined their brand completely and is also a cost-effective method to build a rapport with your user base. This also means being responsive enough – responsiveness is one of the most important features that all users look for from a business’s social media presence.
Indirectly leading users to a sale through social media
Given their smaller base of followers and social media presence, directly promoting their products doesn’t produce the same grand results as more established brands. Social media marketing agencies would call social media “the first step of the sales funnel” in this case.
In short, potential customers who still don’t know enough about your brand and products are not yet at the phase where they already have a clear buying intent and are ready to make an informed purchase. This is why you first have to provide them with some sort of value – like informational, educational content.
Does social media increase sales for large businesses?
In this setting, large businesses are entities that already have a sizable number of followers on social media and a more established brand.
Here are a few examples of what larger businesses should focus on during their social media campaigns:
Buying ad space on social media
This is usually more costly, but can still largely fit within the ad spending budget of bigger companies, and is a more precise way of targeting users who are more likely to make a purchase, instead of mass targeting every potential customer.
Indirect advertising and special promotional materials
In a nutshell, this is about giving your users another reason to look at your products and services. Seasonal promotions around special events such as Christmas or International Women’s Day are good examples of this when people are actively looking to make purchases. Influencer marketing can also be a viable option for companies if they can find someone that fits their brand personality and their user base like a glove.
Directly leading users to a sale through social media
Larger businesses can boldly use social media marketing platforms to increase their sales through direct advertising. Social commerce is booming, and a smooth shopping experience with a well-established checkout process can do wonders for sales.