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2011 Trend – Social Networks Do Not Drive Sales


There’s an elephant in the room that brands and marketers need to acknowledge. Social media is not the silver bullet to drive sales.

Forrester Research presented trends for the balance of 2011. One that caught my eye in particular pointed to an increased level of skepticism around the role of social networks in driving sales.

The report said, “While the promise of social networks in commerce has created a frenzy around S-commerce” (social commerce) and “F-commerce” (Facebook commerce), the reality is that those buzzwords have been more speculative than proven. For two years running, Forrester’s research with Shop. org has shown that retailers have all created presences on social networks, but most have been unable to quantify the return on this investment and even fewer have found that social networks grow their business.”

Unfortunately brands cannot afford to sit on the social network sidelines. There’s still much to gain from a presence in that space – they are inexpensive and too high-profile. Contests on Facebook have been popular and “successful” but they are mostly about the participation of followers rather than transactions.

To the degree that retailers find any benefit at all from social strategies, it is most frequently driven by tactics like ratings and reviews on a website rather than activities on social networks.

My advice is to look the elephant in the eye and deal with it on your terms. Social media is a connection channel. Use it. Learn from it. Be inventive. But don’t bet the farm on social media’s ability to generate revenue this year. Oh, and toss the elephant a peanut or two if you can.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. adpraisal permalink
    08/24/2011 6:18 am

    Totally agree. I think brands need facebook as part of their holistic ‘business package’ and to engage with customers, but I don’t think it increases sales. There is this really interesting article about this you might like that looks at social media’s predictive power-


  1. 5 Trends In eCommerce For 2012 « ThoughtTech – On The Horizon

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