The question that most brands keep asking: Does social media have a direct correlation to e-commerce?
According to a report on Mashable, social media influences less than 1% of online purchases. The study traced the origins of 77,000 online sales, and illustrated that when people shop online, search and email, the more traditional forms of marketing, were more effective. Organic search and paid search were more likely to drive customer transactions for those who were searching for something specific, and those who were more of the “just browsing” mindset tended to make purchases from email campaigns.
But then we opened the floor to you, and in a poll 71% of you said that yes, social media does influence your online purchases, while 29% it did not (these are the statistics as of the day this article was written).
So, what's going on here?
As most of our audience are fashion bloggers, or avid fashion blog readers, our smaller poll might actually provide some insight into the future of social media and e-commerce as the general public continues to get more digitally-savvy. In the comments section of our poll, some of you noted that what you see on social media is more inspirational than practical. Others said that they have, in fact, bought items directly off of Pinterest.
Women's online super store, Sophia Amoruso's Nasty Gal, has tapped into the power of social media, translating “likes” into sales with little to no discounting or conventional advertising; however, they do update their social network pages at least five times a day. Considering they were named the “fastest-growing company in Los Angeles and fastest-growing company period,” it seems like Amoruso may be on to something.
While attempts are currently being made to bridge the gap between social media and sales, (Facebook recently re-launched their marketplace feature and their “gifting” forum, and Pinterest has been tinkering with brands, such as Amazon's PinPointing initiative), there has yet to be a clear solution to the problem. Sites like The Fancy and The Cools have attempted to combine “social” and “shopping,” but have yet to pull in enough of a following to outweigh Pinterest or Instagram.
But then there's the middle man (or woman) who might be able to help brands overcome the social media to money gap — the bloggers. But how?
Bloggers can be a vital branch in how optimizing how brands reach their consumers.
While most brands have taken to simply using social media to promote their product, it seems like the more successful approach has been in building up their own editorial content to accompany why a consumer should make a purchase. Rather just flashing a photo with a “Buy this!” caption, successful bloggers understand how to market to a broader audience, and know what people want to see and hear on each particular platform. The study from Mashable may currently seem low, but I wouldn't be surprised if this numbers increases greatly as social media (and blogs) become an everyday part of a household (even those who not are not considered “techy”).
What do you think about the gap between social media and e-commerce? Do you think bloggers have a role to play in bridging the gap?
[Image credit: Shutterstock]