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Social media brings disappointing results for businesses

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.

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