There’s little debate that social media is the hot topic for the year. Yet few can determine if this tool will ultimately excel as a marketing platform or a customer management system. A recently published study points out that surveyed customers of the Top 40 retailers in the U.S. prefer to hear about sales and promotions via more traditional means. Study analysts point out that as retailers continue to explore social media, they should consider their unique business models when determining the appropriate promotional media mix.
Foresee’s Results Report on Social Media Marketing shows that consumers make a visit to a retailer’s website because of the following major influences:
- Familiarity with brand 38%
- Promotional e‑mails 19%
- Search engine results 8%
- TV, newspaper, radio or magazine ads 8%
ForeSee analysts note that consumers whose retailer site visits were heavily influenced by social media or mobile phone message were “highly likely” to buy offline. Website shoppers who visited a site after reading product review websites were ‘highly like to buy online.’ While consumers are finding their way to retailer sites through social media, analysts wonder whether these are perhaps ‘most loyal customers to begin with.’ In that case, spending money to court super-fans may not be the most cost-effective way to bring new ‘purchase-ready’ traffic to a site.
The most intriguing finding of the study has to do with the way consumers say they want to hear about promotions and coupons. A significant majority, 64%, opt for e‑mail. By comparison, just 8% of consumers say they want to hear about deals via social media. While these numbers are likely to change over time, savvy retailers will be streamlining their e‑mail process this year to yield the most lucrative results during promotions.[Source: Freed, Larry. Foresee’s Results Report on Social Media Marketing. Foreseeresults.com. 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2011]