Over the last decade, social media has transformed from a meet-and-greet for friends to a business marketplace where startups can begin and businesses can grow. It began as a marketing platform where businesses shared products and engaged with customers. Now, it’s more of a community where customers search for information and products, and bond with their favorite businesses.
Many retailers like to advertise and sell their products through social media as well. Network marketers, or those who direct-sell products, are particularly adept at this. Whether it’s Mary Kay or LulaRoe, you’ve probably been added to one of the many social media parties that are created to sell products and expand businesses.
Interestingly, direct selling on social media is beginning to dissipate. Millennials, in particular, have reported they’re not very interested in buying products on social media.
This may come as a surprise, since their reputation indicates that everything from their homes to their cars should be economical, efficient, and affordable. Products sold on social media often fit all of these categories, but that doesn’t change the research. It’s time to begin selling elsewhere if you want to reach this younger generation.
The Study Says Social Media Is Not a Good Buying Platform
A new GlobalWebIndex study took data from millennial shoppers who regularly use Facebook, Twitter, and similar social platforms to research their products before they buy. The study revealed that 40 percent of consumers between the ages of 16 and 24 use the networks to research products before purchasing, which is 10 percent more than the general average.
However, searching is not the same thing as buying, and the report showed that only one percent of people who research also purchase products directly through the platform. That’s nothing short of a dismal number for businesses who are basing their sales platforms on social media.
But It’s Still a Great Referral System
The findings above indicate that the “buy” buttons displayed on social media aren’t bringing nearly the returns they’re worth, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless to market products on social media. In fact, research indicates that these networks are driving sales and referrals on retailers’ websites and apps. When it comes to things like conversion rates, referral traffic, social signals, and lead generation, social media knocks it out of the park.
In fact, the study shows that there’s more retail traffic as a result of social media than any other online channel. The volume of ecommerce referrals increased nearly 200 percent between 2014 and 2015.
As for the best social platforms to use in gaining referral traffic, Facebook still takes the cake. Referral traffic from this social giant accounts for 50 percent of all social referrals and 64 percent of social-affiliated revenue. Though Twitter is losing steam and Instagram does very little as far as retail activity, Pinterest is gaining steam. It’s been credited with 16 percent of social revenue, despite having an audience 6.5 times smaller than Twitter.
Mobile Is Losing It
More research shows that mobile applications and consumer interactions are losing steam, even though social media apps currently dominate mobile traffic on company websites. The report indicates that social users are 35 percent less likely to share a company’s post if they’re using a mobile device. This means fewer referrals and less business from consumers using mobile devices instead of desktops.
However, responsive, mobile-friendly websites are still essential for success. As mentioned above, mobile apps are winning the online traffic arena, and you can still reach a lot of customers through advertisements and blog content.
All in all, it may not be wise to invest in the social media “buy” button. However, that doesn’t mean social media can’t strongly influence millennial buyers. With a little reworking of your marketing strategy, you can use social media to your advantage, without losing revenue in the process.