The Current Influence Of Social Media


A study released this month by McKinsey found that social media recommendations induced an average of 26 percent of all purchases. Like all mass-released studies, nuances here are important. In categories such as choosing a utility service only 15 percent of respondents reported using social media. Whereas within the categories of travel, over the counter drugs, and investment services between 40 – 50 percent of consumers looked to social to make their choices.

Regardless of category, these are notable numbers.

And, of course, it’s all growing. The Wall Street Journal has reported that social media ad spending is set to hit $24 billion in 2015, a 33 percent increase over last year. Facebook alone will take $15 billion of that while Twitter is set to receive $2 billion.

Additionally, something else interesting has happened with social media users. Among the major channels—with the exception of Snapchat—the age range of 25+ users doesn’t change much. For example, Tumblr’s percent of users who are 35 – 44 is only 3 – 4 percent less than Pinterest and LinkedIn. Social media usage in the US has expanded to such a degree that channel-by-channel age comparisons are no longer very interesting.


What to make of it all?

This is the part of an agency blog post where the talk typically turns to ‘why it’s important for every company have a sound social strategy…’  But I’d like to use this data to make a different point. Yes, strategy is imperative. But so is assigning responsibility.

Every consumer marketing organization should designate someone to have the responsibility of social. Even if the organization is tiny and the responsibility is one quarter of someone’s job responsibility it should be made official. The team they oversee can scale with growth, but one person is in charge. That’s different than having random posts by random employees or separating things out by channel based on personal affinity.

If your business is selling something to consumers then social could be affecting one out of four purchase occasions. That’s too important not to have one person hold responsibility for. Just get started. And when starting, the MOZ social media guide is the finest starter resource we’ve found.

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John Drake
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