Do Social Networks Drive Online Revenues?

No, according to an article in DM News (11/24/08, p. 7), which cited a survey in which social networks were the least effective way to educate consumers about online bargains.

From most to least effective online selling tool according to the 1,000 adults surveyed: e-mail marketing (45%), friends forwarding a link (16.5%), onsite messages (16%), banner ads (10%), onsite shopper comments (9%), and — last and least — social networking, a mere 3%.

Hardly supports the assertions of social media gurus and evangelists that web sites and e-mails are irrelevant in today’s market, does it?


637 thoughts on “Do Social Networks Drive Online Revenues?

  • Bob,

    I would never advocate using social networking to drive sales.

    However, companies that ignore social media do so at their peril.

    I ended up NOT buying a stove precisely because of the feedback I read about a particular brand.

    Maybe social media isn’t driving sales but it certainly is INFLUENCING them. DMNews got it all wrong.

  • Dianna: If it is an error to ignore social networking, but social media isn’t driving sales, than how can I use it to influence consumers favorably? Any suggestions? Maybe you can write and post an article on that at your blog.

  • Bob, I’ve already written the articles, one of which features you and this blog!

    Here is the article about my stove:

    Here is the article about your blog and Harry’s Orchards:

    (Did you know your post is now #3 for the search phrase “Harrys Orchards”?)

    Here is my latest blog post about the MotrinMoms meltdown on Twitter:

    And here is one about Rubicon’s latest report on social media:

  • DH: This begs the question: of what benefit is it to me that I am #3 for Harry’s Orchard? I can discern no direct gain as a result of this.

  • Bob,

    It is of no benefit to you. But your post can *influence* someone to NOT BUY from Harry’s.

    Thus, it would really behoove Harry’s to monitor what people are saying about them on the Internet and respond to your post that they do NOT offer a guarantee.

    Go visit their Website. They don’t even explain it there, either.

  • Call me a bit dense but is social networking on the web, the likes of Facebook, Myspace, linkedin etc or is everyone discussing postings on bulletin boards on Yahoo or Google?

    I have never seen reviews of products, stores, people, merchandise on linkedin or Facebook.

    We do a lot of web optimizing, some paid search, and a bit of blogging to hep promote our web based company

    I come here for the great ideas, to get some feedback, as well as to share what information and experience I may have and at some point we will look for professional copyrighting help to help update our site.

  • I guess I’m late to the party. My brother Dennis and I are here to try and learn from the master. We are currently – living this blog post as we try our hand at building by getting active on digg, propeller, reddit, twitter as well as other “social networking” sites. Jury is still out as to how effective our time spent has been. What I can say is that we have significantly improved the sites position ranking on alexa in the last few weeks by our teams efforts. Keep the faith !

  • I too am involved in the project of getting our blog and sites noticed. I’ve spent an enormous amount of time in the past few months on these sites and hope these efforts will pan out.

  • I would have to agree with the point about “online Sales”…

    … but I would have to point out that Social Media Marketing presents the easiest and fastest way to rank high in Search Engines which for keywords that would take a very long time for a new site which…

    1. Generates Traffic Like Crazy To Social Page
    2. If Properly Set up With Links Will Drive People Back To Your $$ Site
    3. Builds Your Brand By Showing Your Expertize

    Social Marketing is just a way to “Drive Traffic” back to a site where sales can be generated!

    To me Social Marketing is the Middleman not the actual $$ Maker!

    Maybe I am misunderstanding the point here…

    Either way, Love The Blog and Convo’s being had daily…


  • Just like any marketing strategy, you want to have a good “MIX” so that you don’t leave anybody out. I have personally signed up and wrote about my service on 75 different social networks.

    Of course it’s not my ONLY marketing strategy but one that I have seen bring me a ton of business. I recommend using it, not because some “guru” out there told you to but because I have personally seen it work.

  • We’ve tried this tactic and it’s still too early to tell. You can build traffic with this method, but does it translate into sales?

  • Morgan, I have seen this work very well if the social network sites you sign up for all have your keywords in them. This way the traffic is targeted.

    Not all social media sites are created equal but there certainly are hundreds of them out there to choose from. Make sure to design your site around your keywords and give good information then join a few groups in that network. This takes some work but if you do what was mentioned above and only do one a week you will see huge results.

  • I forgot to mention that you should periodically go back and make minor changes so it doesn’t look like a spam blog or anything. But then again if you give good info, you have nothing to worry about.

  • I think that many organizations are missing the real opportunity here. Companies can generate real revenue if they take advantage of their inherent market position. Everyone organization should try to answer these five questions:

    Do you act as a broker of goods or services?
    Do you provide content or advice to a significant percentage of a specific industry or consumer segment?
    Are you facing new competitors who generate revenue by aggregating audience around your content or by providing meta-content?
    Do you have data or knowledge within your organization that is obscure to your clients?
    Do you serve an audience that is highly fragmented?

    If the answer is yes, then they have a real revenue opportunity. I have written a lot more about this in my blog. Check it out.

  • bit dense but is social networking on the web, the likes of Facebook, Myspace, linkedin etc or is everyone discussing postings on bulletin boards on Yahoo or Google?

    I have never seen reviews of products, stores, people, merchandise on linkedin or face

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