The social media sphere is shouting out loud about a Gallup poll released yesterday that questions the influence the medium has on purchase decisions.
According to this Gallup poll of 18,000 U.S. consumers, 94 percent said they use social media to connect with family, 29 percent admitted to following trends /finding product reviews and information, and 20 percent said they comment on trends or write product reviews.
More so, consumers were also asked about the influence of social media on their purchasing decisions, and the stat that’s driving the conversation is 62 percent of respondents that said social media had “no influence at all” on their buying decisions.
In addition to the stats, Gallup’s report provides analysis, which is both hitting and missing on a few things. Check out this most recent social media piece of Gallup’s larger report, State of the American Consumer, on its website for further insight.
What’s interesting is the conversation the newly released poll is starting regarding social media advertising. Gallup did not specifically ask respondents about the influence of brand ads through social media platforms, only the very topline influence social media had on their purchasing decisions. In addition to wide-scale chatter, Facebook responded today (see this VentureBeat article for a comment from Facebook), but is the company making a mountain out of a molehill? Of course Facebook’s advertising platform performs differently than posts organically reaching consumers who like brands – and deserves a dedicated study to determine its influence separate from that Gallup has done with this most recent survey.
Now back to organic engagement. Undoubtedly, social media is not a standalone tactic to engage consumers and create brand advocates, and thoughtful two-way dialogue should drive strategy rather than a focus on pushing product sales. However, Gallup’s analysis seems to imply public relations and marketing professionals have become lazy with their social media strategy and forgotten these golden rules. Consumers are indeed becoming more savvy to brand engagement, but I beg to differ that PR pros have forgotten the value of authentic, two-way communication.
Does this leave you wondering if you’re harnessing the power of your brand’s social media platforms to your full advantage? If you’re not a current Nuffer, Smith Tucker client, let’s talk!