Social media marketing doesn't influence consumers to buy in IRL. Influence results from "in-real-life" experiences, with consumers liking brands on social media as a result, finds Gallup in research announced on June 23.
Social media has "no influence at all" on their purchasing decisions, 62 percent of respondents to the "2014 State of the American Consumer" tell Gallup. At the same time, many of those consumers say they seek advice from friends and family before making a purchase and 94 percent of respondents say they use social media to connect with friends and family.
So there is hope. Gallup recommends marketers:
- Connect With Consumers Offline. "Social media entail just a fragment of a consumer's experience with a company. Customers are much more likely to be active listeners and participants in a brand's social media community when they have already made an emotional connection with that brand through other experiences. While responsiveness and service are incredibly important in social media departments, this type of initiative does not necessarily lend itself to the more personal, one-on-one connections that typically engage consumers. Those largely happen offline."
- When Marketing on Social Media, Be Authentic. Marketers are in their customers' personal space. In that personal space, no one wants to hear sales pitches. "They want to interact with a human, not a brand. Companies should back away from the hard-sell and focus on creating more of an open dialogue with consumers," according to the report.
- Be Responsive on Social Media. Answer questions and reply to complaints and criticisms, even on nights and weekends. The same consumers who say social media won't influence their purchasing decisions expect a response.
- Be Compelling on Social Media. Buy the product? Yeah, they've already heard that. It's boring, and they're busy. "Content should be original to the company and not related to sales or marketing."
So what came first? Oreo love or the brand's tweets and posts during the Super Bowl power problem?