Leave a comment
Get the GH Bookmarklet

Ask GH

Marketing professionals like Bob Hoffman and Samuel Scott argue that social media is overrated and, mostly, useless. What is your opinion about its role in the conversion funnel?

  • SR

    Sandra Rand

    28 days ago #

    Loaded question. Depends what you're selling, what your price point is if selling goods, what your offer is if you're looking for lead gen, what your competition is doing, what your goals are, what your KPIs are, who you're trying to reach, whether you're relying on organic efforts or doing paid advertising on those channels, whether you're dabbling or seriously invested, what your budget is, whether you're testing or not.. you get the point.

    That said - a broad, sweeping generalization from my point of view is that social media *advertising* is effective, assuming you have all of the above defined and you're seriously invested and testing intelligently. It's also effective when you're not dead set on last-click attribution, which is a whole can of worms I will not open. The net net is that social media is an effective discovery tool (some channels more than others depending on the maturity of the platform), and is further fueled when working in concert with your other channels, particularly SEO and PPC. Add in retargeting and retention efforts further down the funnel, open up your click-through and view-through windows a bit, and you can make social media one of your best converting channel types.

    • RM

      Ricardo Muacho

      27 days ago #

      Hi Sandra, thanks a million for your reply.

      If I am taking well your keypoints, your opinion is that SM posts will contribute to clicks to the website (or other property) but only the offering, solution and proposition will dictate if the user converts or not.
      Also, it is a tool of discovery and facilitation of converting when used with other marketing channels (and efforts).
      Any chance you could expand your thought about the can of worms you won't open? :)

      • SR

        Sandra Rand

        27 days ago #

        Yes, you understand my gist. It's a bit over simplified (more things contribute to whether or not a user converts) but largely you need to have a bunch of things in place in order to get your offer in front of the right people at the right time, not the least of which includes any algorithm elements that are out of your control.

        Regarding the can of worms, I'll try to keep it short: Last click attribution only gives value to the final channel a customer visited before they converted. Social media rarely answers all questions at first view of an ad or organic post, so it's rare that a customer will click & convert without doing any due diligence. This goes for both ecommerce and lead gen, so if customers turn to additional sources (Amazon for reviews, Google for context from other sites, etc.) it looks like Facebook or other social sites are not providing value since they didn't immediately click off a social site and convert then and there.

        Ugh. There's more I could say here, but you get the overall idea.

        My team just ran a piece a couple weeks about about calculating Facebook's halo effect on search and direct traffic; could add more context and some solutions to understanding social's value beyond 1-day click conversions as well: https://www.orionckb.com/blog/calculate-facebooks-impact-seo-direct-traffic/

  • JA

    Justin Adelson

    28 days ago #

    I agree with Sandra above that the question is too vague for a simple answer but I do think there is one answer that can be universal for all types of social media marketing: know your audience.

    A common mistake among entrepreneurs is attracting or targeting the wrong audience. For example, one of my past clients thought that if they posted content their target audience liked it would increase Facebook followers and website registrations. They did some minor audience research in their region and found out that they like the typical male subjects: sports, memes, and females (i.e. Barstoolsports.com). Although they were successful at increasing their Facebook reach almost none of their followers were resulting in conversions on their website. They attracted an audience that wanted to see funny memes and move on to the next post - they had zero interest in actually registering on the site.

    Is that example going to be relevant to all startups? Of course not. The moral of the story is that they doubled-down on one type of content and didn't experiment with different content types or topics. Once we changed the content strategy we started to see more referrals from Facebook and saw a significant increase in organic search traffic.

    Is social media worthless? In my opinion, no. But it can be a waste of time if you do not know how to engage with your social media audience.

    • RM

      Ricardo Muacho

      27 days ago #

      Hi Justin, thanks for your reply and your insight.

      I understand the nuance you have pointed about "forging" the content shared not only about what the audience is looking for but also keeping in mind the business goals. Many followers and clicks mean little when there are no leads and business generated.

      Any thought about the importance (or not) of the number of followers and interactions?

      • JA

        Justin Adelson

        26 days ago #

        The purpose of using social media IS to increase the exposure and brand awareness of your startup. Why would you waste your time writing and publishing content if you were not trying to increase your followers and interactions? In my opinion, one of the main reasons why you want to increase your followers is the viral marketing effect - the more people that follow your company the better chance someone will share a piece of your content that reaches an untapped audience. If you drink Brian Halligan's Kool-Aid (i.e. inbound marketing), you want to attract a specific niche audience with unique niche content - although your follow numbers will not increase at the rate of someone sharing funny cat memes, your followers will be interested in your content and more likely to share it with like-minded individuals.
        Quick note: not all social media networks are the same - make sure you are using the right network to reach your target audience. For example, you wouldn't post information on elderly care on Instagram nor would you advertise an economics symposium on Pinterest.

  • RH

    Rob Howard

    27 days ago #

    Well, like many things: it depends.

    By background, my last startup built online communities for large enterprises (like Dell, Microsoft, Home Depot, Starbucks). We were part of their "social strategy" for how they either supported customers or found new customers.

    Here is what we observed:

    For the customers we worked with, social media wasn't a great tool for direct selling. Granted, a lot of the SM uses were more for support/customer service ... more long-tail selling by creating a great customer experience or staying engaged with customers.

    However, social media was very effective for two things specifically:

    1. Deals

    People tended to stay tuned to corporate twitter feeds for deals that were offered. Dell, as an example, was crazy successful at this.

    2. Growing the funnel

    This was always an Excel exercise, but you could directly correlate social media coverage converting into site traffic. And, then there were some metrics used to calculate percentages of site traffic that converted.

    Our recommendation was to use SM as an acquisition tool to get them on to the website (ideally into a customer community).

    One of those customers told us that people engaged in their "social funnel" spent 20% more than those that didn't. Although, I always thought it was fuzzy math.

    My opinion, similar to what Justin said, is that it has some worth. But you need to pick the social channels and offerings that align best with your audience.

    Here is an old presentation on this. May be useful.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPi-dtQWwKk

  • TZ

    Tomasz Ziętek

    26 days ago #

    Social selling is one of the ways one can leverage social media. The advocates of social selling claim that it's effective, builds stronger customer relationships and results in customers of longer life cycles.

    Here's a report about social selling by Brand24 https://brand24.com/blog/the-state-of-social-selling-report/

    I guess it depends what your resources are. It might be a little bit time-consuming.

Join over 70,000 growth pros from companies like Uber, Pinterest & Twitter

Get Weekly Top Posts
High five! You’re in.
SHARE
9
9