Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A recent survey by Google and consumer research firm OTX reveals that 35 per cent of U.S. internet users began their holiday shopping and research in August. The New York Times reports the aggressive trend of stores offering Black Friday deals in October. The holidays aren’t around the corner; they’re already on the block. This holiday season, retailers are poised to use social media to connect with their valuable customer base through means beyond direct mail marketing.Social media has become an integral part of marketing campaigns for major brands, but businesses should be careful to avoid painting the same brush stroke across all social media channels, because seemingly apples-to-apples outlets like Facebook and Twitter yield apples-and-oranges results. SocialTwist recently released a study about Social Media Sharing Trends, which analysed the millions of referrals sent using the Tell-a-Friend widget over the past year, and found some staggering results between the two social media giants: Facebook and Twitter.
The first finding indicates that social media has not become the two-horse race that everyday media coverage would lead one to believe. While Facebook dominated the referral usage at 78 per cent, MySpace pitched in with 14 per cent of the market share (and could be aided in the future by its rebranding initiative). Meanwhile, Twitter only comprised 5 per cent of the referral market. Chasing strong referral numbers is tempting, given that more than 90 per cent of online consumers report that they trust recommendations from people they know. That data makes Facebook the hands-down winner to park the majority of your social media initiatives, right?
Hold the phone…err…the mouse. Twitter holds true marketing value as well. For example, while Facebook dominates the referral market, Twitter is the champion of the highly-coveted click-through rate race, crushing the social media giant 1,904 per cent to 287 per cent. The high click-through figures for both are a result of the viral nature of social media referrals. Every referral link generates more than a one-to-one click-through rate, because friends share similar likes and interests, and trust the endorsements made by one another. Twitter, therefore, could be a vital contributor to the success of one’s social media campaign.
Though Facebook might get you seen more, Twitter has the potential to drive better conversion rates. The performance of various social media channels should be taken into consideration when implementing holiday campaigns. Of course nothing substitutes for a great promotion. Social referrals accounted for only 24 per cent of the total market share, followed by IM at 18 per cent, with email leading the class at 55 per cent. The important thing for retailers to remember is that in order to create a successful marketing strategy, it’s important to take advantage of creative campaigns across various mediums, tailoring tactics to the specific returns of each channel.
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