Recently businesses have started to analyze the success of their social media campaigns and their social media managers are facing a disappointing set of results.
In a survey carried out by Gallup, more than 62% of businesses claimed that their social media engagements had no influence on the purchasing decisions made by consumers, with only 30% acknowledging that it had some influence. Only 5% believed that social media exerted a great deal of influence, while 3% did not know. These results were in spite of US companies spending an estimated total of $5.1bn on advertising on social media platforms during 2013. Gallup claims that Facebook and Twitter users are ‘highly adept at tuning out’ brand content and concluded that ‘social media are not the powerful and persuasive marketing force many companies hoped they would be.’
The diminishing power of Facebook
Social media has also made it more difficult for companies to reach their target markets. For example, Facebook has made significant changes in the way it displays their users’ news feeds, only featuring those it believes they will be interested in. According to social-media analytics company, EdgeRank Checker, this resulted in a 16% downturn in the number of users brands were able to reach via the platform.
A Facebook spokesman claimed that brands need to rethink their approach to their customers, viewing them as the means to achieving ‘positive business outcomes’ rather than reaching fans as an end in itself. He also said that Facebook has been entirely honest with businesses about how less successful their posts will be in reaching their target market.
Traditional advertising has the edge
It seems that traditional advertising methods are more successful with consumers. Nielsen Holdings NV conducted a study during 2013 that showed that consumers worldwide were more likely to be persuaded by adverts on television and radio, in magazines and on billboards. Gallup believe the reason why these techniques are more successful is that they represent a soft sell, rather than the hard sell of social media.