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Why Social Media Can Drive Sales – Here’s Why #184

Some doubt that social media activity can actually results in sales. But some important research says otherwise.
In this episode of our popular Here’s Why digital marketing video series, Mark Traphagen shows data revealing how much consumers rely on social media to make purchasing decisions, and explains how to take advantage of that.

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Eric: Mark, you had some interesting data you wanted to share with us?
Mark: I do, Eric. This chart from shows results from PwC’s annual survey of thousands of consumers from around the world in answer to the question: what online media do you regularly use to find inspiration for your purchases? And as you can see, social networks is the number one choice.
Chart from PwC shows Online Media Used for Purchase Inspiration
Eric: Is that really news?
Mark: Well, it might be to many marketers. I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and posts claiming that social media doesn’t sell products and has no ROI. Now this data shows that consumers feel differently. And PwC isn’t alone here.
Engagementlabs found that about half of the word of mouth influence that leads to sales takes place on social media. Other research shows millennials are particularly influenced in their buying habits by social media, and a whopping 85% of Gen X consumers say they use social media to learn about new products.
[Tweet “Half of the word of mouth activity that leads to sales takes place on social media. Learn more about social media selling at”]
Eric: So where is the disconnect?
Mark: I think the common denominator in all of these studies is the role of influence. Now consumers may not purchase directly from a social media post as often. But it appears that social plays a huge role in steering them towards what they will eventually purchase.
Eric: So what can businesses do to take advantage of that information?
Mark: For one thing, I think it underscores the importance of being present for what Google calls micro-moments. We talked about those in episode 132 of this series.
Micro-moments are the many small pieces of information or exposures that can affect a consumer as she journeys toward a purchase decision. So one thing you should be doing is posting content online that will answer the many potential questions that buyer may have while deciding what to purchase and from whom.
The good news is that content doesn’t even have to reach the prospect directly. If it has been seen by people who may influence her buying choice, it can be used by them to support their recommendations.
Eric: So your micro-moment content for every stage of the buying journey is there not only to persuade the consumer but to re-enforce potential influencers?
Mark: Yes. And by influencers in this case, we don’t necessarily mean celebrities or experts. Online friends and family can actually be more powerful influencers in every day buying situations. So the more people exposed to your micro-moment content, the more people you are potentially influencing to buy from you.

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Thoughts on “Why Social Media Can Drive Sales – Here’s Why #184”

  1. Social media is something I really want to be good at, but I don’t seem to get anywhere when I try it. I suppose I just have to keep on trying, and maybe change my thinking on a number of things, especially taking the information from your articles into account.

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Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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