From time to time we still get a question from potential clients that always goes a bit like this, “Why should we invest more time/money/effort into social networking channels/marketing?” They’ve started a Twitter account and a Facebook page, they’ve dabbled in Google+ and post things to their LinkedIn company page, but they aren’t sure what it all means and if it’s really worth the effort involved in creating more content.

At SHIFT, our answer goes a little like this.

Here is a snapshot of a visitor breakdown in Google analytics. What do you see?

Channels in Google Analytics

Social is a pretty big piece of that pie, right? Not as big as some others but big enough. If we took that piece out, there would less audience coming to the website. Losing over 2,000 visitors is a bad idea for business.

Let’s look at the financial side. If you have goal values setup in Google Analytics, you’ll be able to look at the conversions resulting from social networking. How many times did assisted conversions of social interactions occur? How much value do those conversions have?

In this case, there were 2 assisted conversions valued at $10,000. Would you want to lose a potential $10K in revenue? Nope? While these are assisted conversions and these sales might or might not have happened, it would be myopic of business leaders to assume that because something was not the last touch, it doesn’t matter.

Assisted Conversions - Google Analytics

There is a lot of research floating around out there regarding social networking and buying habits. While I won’t point to any particular study on the subject, I will share this with you. Google’s Zero Moment of Truth has a chart (originating in 2011) that reflects the driving forces of purchases in this technology-driven world (green text added by SHIFT). ZMOT demonstrates that social matters because it influences the sale even if it doesn’t directly lead into the sale.

Google's ZMOT

Would anyone sensibly argue that just because you can’t taste an ingredient in a final food product means that the ingredient should be omitted? Not at all. People are taking to the internet to determine if they should or shouldn’t buy or invest in a brand’s products. Maybe they don’t care if a brand has a presence online, but at least a percentage of them do.

You have to ask yourself: are you willing to miss out on that percentage?

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