Social Media’s Role in Marketing Reconsidered by Companies and Marketers

Many companies are learning that gaining a mass following on any social media site isn’t necessarily the same as making actual sales, according to a June 23 Wall Street Journal report.

After several years of putting money into social media marketing strategies, more and more marketers and companies have grown more concerned with the bottom line. And, according to a new Gallup poll, many respondents said social media had little to no impact on their purchasing decisions. In response, several online marketing evaluation tools have emerged to help marketers understand their current standings online.

“Fans and follower counts are over,” Jan Rezab, chief executive of Prague-based social media metrics company, told the Wall Street Journal. “Now it’s about what is social doing for you and real business objectives.”

According to the Gallup poll, 94% of respondents use social media “to connect with friends and family“; 29% use it “to follow trends/find product reviews and information”; only the remaining 20% say they use it “to comment on what’s hot or new/write reviews of products.” Furthermore, a surprising 62% of respondents in the poll said social media had no influence at all on their purchasing decisions.

One area of social media marketing that is proving effective, however, is video advertising on social media sites. Typically, 20% of users will read a piece of text on the web, while 80% of users will instead watch a video containing the same content. Every day, people watch more than 500 years’ worth of YouTube video through Facebook alone, and more than 700 videos are shared on Twitter each minute.

As more companies turn to video advertising and direct consumer engagement rather than seeking to collect the most likes and follows they can, it’s clear that the social media landscape will continue to keep changing.