So this week I came across another statistic that got me thinking. This time, it offered a bit of a different take on the benefits of social media for measuring sales, so I thought I’d mention it to keep you all updated on my forever meandering train of thought! :’)

A recent study has shown that only 1.5% of retailers last-click ecommerce transactions came from social media, bringing forth the question for many companies; does social help sales?

The data is useful to ensure that brands are working on an efficient content marketing plan. But I think that Custora’s study misses the mark. Does this mean we should be ditching our Click to Buy Buttons and Calls to Action on our social media if the revenue generated by them is negligible?

Brand heavyweights Abercrombie and Fitch made a good point when they said;

“We’re not as concerned about ‘Did they see a piece of content and immediately go to the website?’ as we are about ‘Did they have a good experience with the brand? Was it interesting to them?'”

Which shows that big brands are thinking about social media as a tool for building relationships with their customers. A&F clearly aren’t worried about the figures, but this is likely more to do with the fact that they get strong results from other types of marketing.

Email marketing, affiliate marketing – whatever methods you use, the bottom line is, these tried and trusted methods are still key when it comes to driving sales and bringing in revenue. I would argue then that social media is more of a “soft” complimentary approach to a brand’s marketing strategy. Rather than looking to social media as a big shopping mall filled with potential customers, I see it more as an extension of a CRM system, with one huge bonus: they’re all talking to each other.

Of course, it’s a double edged sword! The interactions between your followers and audiences is where a lot of the value lies in social media. They do the work for you to an extent, by talking about your brand, or creating a sense of community around a product or service, providing reviews and testimonials in a less formal way than via email marketing.

This isn’t to say they look after themselves and thus a social media strategy is moot! It’s really important that the content you present to your audience respects their interests, and is giving them VALUE added to their experience of your brand. But it’s clear that businesses shouldn’t look to social media as their only marketing strategy.

Maybe the results will convince brands to focus more on the long term effects of social media – the slow burn if you will. It’s early days yet!

What do you think about the news that social media isn’t the perfect sales tool we all thought it could be?