Social marketing effectiveness

Finally, we explored whether engaging with customers over social media requires a rethink. We hypothesised that social has eroded the idea of ‘push’ marketing, where marketing material is targeted to consumers. Now opinions form via a myriad of sources, from friends through to influencers. We also hypothesised that local/smaller organisations in general had a more dynamic approach to social, which would be shown in increased sales receptiveness from our customer panel.

Regularity of doing the following when buying goods or services

% all the time / most of the time

We did find some evidence of the erosion of a pure ‘push’ model of marketing on social. The younger the audience, the more likely they were to look to friends and influencers for product recommendations. Approximately 50% of 18-34 years olds regularly do this, but this dropped to roughly 15% of 45-64-year-olds.

Interestingly, we also found evidence that local organisations were more effectively selling to customers through social compared to big brands. A quarter (24%) of all online shoppers we surveyed purchased from a small organisation vs 17% for a big brand. We hypothesise that this could reflect smaller organisations gearing their sales strategies more centrally around social media, coupled with their ability to use social to directly engage with customers. Either way, there is an important message here: that larger organisations should be looking to smaller organisations for best-in-class social sales examples.