As Content Strategist at affinity I spend a lot of time looking at how social media is impacting our clients’ websites. Over the past 12 months it is becoming clear that for many websites social media is sitting within the site’s conversion path and directly helping to increase conversion rates. This means that if you still dismiss social media as a frivolous way narcissists feed their egos, you are potentially missing out on a lucrative marketing opportunity for your business.
What is the conversion path?
The conversion path is the path users of your website take to complete a goal on your website. At affinity we use google analytics to analyse how websites are performing and through this platform we are able to set goals that businesses want to achieve from their website – these can be anything from users ordering a brochure to buying a product on the site. The conversion path is the route a user takes to make this final goal completion.
Where social media fits into the conversion path
Often a user who converts on a website will frequent the website several times before making the final goal conversion. In the past this route has often been through a mixture of direct traffic (the user went directly to the website), organic search (the user found the website through searching on Google), or PPC (the user clicked on a PPC ad). More recently, however, social networks have been popping up in the conversion path. Usually the social network will appeal after a direct or organic search to the website, suggesting that a user has found a website and followed the business’ social media page and returned to the website through that social media page.
What is interesting about this is that social media has traditionally been thought of as a key part in the initial interest stage, meaning that social media is thought to engage users very early on in the conversion path, however what we’re now seeing through google analytics is that social media is also playing a role towards the end of the conversion path as well. This indicates that social media users habits are changing and that they are getting more comfortable with the idea of businesses selling to them via their social media account.
How social media influences consumer behaviour
Over the years a lot of research has been done into how social media influences consumer behaviour, but with social media constantly changing at a rapid pace it can be difficult to find research that is relevant. What remains consistent is that younger consumers, often referred to as millennials, those aged 23-36, are more likely to be influenced by social media in their spending habits than older generations. As well as this, this generation are more likely to trust social media and be more receptive to brands marketing to them through their social media accounts. For businesses looking to attract this age group, social media is therefore a key marketing tool.
How this impacts your social media marketing
Brands looking to market to millennials through social media need to ensure that they choose the right social media platforms, as research has shown that social media users would rather brands focus on a few social media sites and engage them well than have a presence across lots of platforms and fail to engage them. Another key way businesses can market via social media is engagement. It is not just enough to post once every two weeks on your social media platform and expect to gain followers and increase your website’s conversion. Instead you need to really engage your social media audience and connect with them, thereby gaining their trust and ultimately leading to an increase in your website’s conversion rate.
Written by Derin Clark, Content Strategist