New research suggests that businesses can see a direct and positive impact on their bottom lines when they make themselves available to customers via social media platforms—especially Facebook.
The University at Buffalo School of Management recently examined data related to individual customers’ participation on a Facebook page and combined it with their actual purchases at a large specialty firm in the Northeastern United States.
The results showed that customers who participate in a firm’s social media visit the business about 5 percent more frequently than those who don’t.
While past studies have shown a belief by many business owners that social media drives sales growth, and that a vast majority of small businesses do network online, there has also been indication that many, if not most, corporate CEOs still don’t fully understand or embrace social media marketing.
“There have been doubts about the effectiveness of social media for business because the link between a firm’s efforts and the return on investment hasn’t been established,” explained the study’s co-author, Ram Bezawada, PhD, assistant professor of marketing in the UB School of Management.
Of course, that’s most likely because, as I’ve written about before, a majority of businesses still have not implemented ways to measure the ROI from their social media marketing efforts.
As companies improve their measurement strategies and the evidence of positive impacts mounts, marketers will be able to make the case for incorporating social media platforms into overall marketing strategies.
“Social media activities help strengthen the bond between the customer and the firm – and boost financial performance,” Bezawada said. “When building communities, businesses should craft personalized messages, encourage member contribution, integrate knowledge about customers from both online and offline interactions, and create specialized sub-communities for customers looking for premium and unique products.”
Tags: B2B socialmedia, B2C social media, consumers, customer service, digital marketing, Facebook, retail, social media, social media marketing, social media research, social media strategy, socialmedia, Twitter