Why I Think Social Media Is for Branding and Engagement, Not Traffic or Revenue

Buffer
Buffer
Jul 20, 2017 · 12 min read

Social media is incredible for some things but not all things

Social media is often seen as a solution to every marketing problem. And, of course, it’s great for certain aspects of marketing including brand awareness. But the truth is, social media probably isn’t going to help you achieve every business or marketing goal you have.

4 reasons why engagement is the future of social media

1. Low organic reach and referral traffic

In recent years, organic reach on social media has fallen so low that social media is becoming a less viable channel for traffic.

2. The rise of social messaging (and chatbots)

While social media has been the dominant platform over the last five to 10 years, social messaging apps (messaging apps built around social media platforms) are growing much faster than social media platforms. There are now more people using the top four messaging apps than people using the top four social media apps, as reported by Business Insider.

3. People use social media to reach brands

Social media is the first place most people turn to for customer support, as Sprout Social has found. And more and more people are using social media to get help from brands. The average number of social messages that needed a response from brands had increased by 18% from 2015 to 2016.

4. Algorithms prioritize engagement

Besides engaging customers through customer service and one-on-one conversations, engagement is also about the quality of your content. Is it engaging enough to elicit positive responses from your fans?

What’s the value of engagement?

I believe businesses will no longer join social media because they see it as a strong referral source or direct revenue channel.

Social is a way for us to build confidence in the brand by showcasing our personality. Engage with them, inspire them and answer their questions quickly.

Hannah Pilpel, social project manager at MADE.COM

But why brand-building with social media is so important?

A customer’s journey with most businesses is not linear

Most customers rarely go from your Facebook Page to your website to your checkout page. It might look more like this:

  • On the same day, the customer sees your Facebook post, enjoys the content, and comments on it.
  • The following week, the customer searches on Google for a product that you sell and your website appears on the first page.
  • She recognizes your brand and tweeted you a question about your product.
  • You promptly replied her, and she decided to order the product from your website.

Social media interactions increase customer loyalty

A group of U.S. researchers studied consumers’ interactions with their favorite brands and their relationship with the brands. They found that consumers who engage with their favorite brands on social media have stronger relationships with those brands than consumers who don’t engage with their favorite brands.

  • stay loyal to the brands, and
  • recommend the brands to others.

What about measurable ROI like leads and sales?

Yes, they are important, too.

Over to you

People’s behaviors on and expectations of social media are (or have been) changing. Social media platform themselves are also adapting to meet this change.


Buffer — Social

Our thoughts on social media and marketing.

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Buffer is a suite of products to help you build your brand and connect with your customers online. Come say hi and see what we’re about at buffer.com.

Buffer — Social

Our thoughts on social media and marketing.