Which social media platforms drive the most sales?

Gina Jones

Monday 23 March 2015

With so many social networks to choose from, knowing which ones to focus on to achieve your business objectives can be a challenge. Here’s what to consider when making that decision.

Many companies engage in social media to drive leads, but it takes time to develop relationships that turn into sales.

A study by ecommerce service Shopify discovered that Facebook was the biggest source of social traffic and sales; an average of 85% of all orders from social media in the period analysed came from Facebook, and it had the highest conversion rate for all social media ecommerce traffic at 1.85%.

However, it didn’t dominate in all industries; for example, in IT and Computing, 22% of sales came from Pinterest. (Please note the following caveat: Shopify’s statistics are from the US, where 34% of internet users have a Pinterest account; in Europe that figure is just 8%.)

Another survey by the Social Media Examiner found that B2C marketers are most focused on Facebook (68%). B2B marketers favoured LinkedIn (33%), while Google+ and blogging took up a more significant portion of their time than their B2C counterparts.

While these statistics offer interesting insights into what others are doing, clearly, where you need to be depends on whom you’re trying to reach and what you’re selling. Here’s what to consider…

Where is my audience?

Think about your target audience: consider which industries they work in, their age ranges, and hobbies. Use free tools such as Survey Monkey to ask your existing customers which platforms they use. Looking for new prospects? Employ monitoring tools such as Google Analytics and Social Mention to track discussions using keywords associated with your business.

What are people searching for?

As well as socializing, people use social media to search. Some social media marketing platforms (e.g. uberVU) have a built-in data analysis tool that allows you to view social media search trends at a glance. This will give you an idea of what topics are currently being discussed on social media platforms.

Which networks drive the most traffic?

Use website analytics to measure how effective lead generation is from a platform, and to determine where your traffic is coming from. If a lot of users have clicked through from a particular platform to your site, and you don’t have a presence there, it might be an indicator that there’s an appetite on there for what you’re offering.

Finally, remember that, unlike some other marketing platforms, social media isn’t just about driving short-term sales. It’s a more long-tail relationship, and so your objectives and measurement should be equally long-tail focused in order to use it to its fullest potential.