Out of 18, 525 U.S. adults in a Gallup poll, 11, 485 said social media has no influence on their purchasing habits whatsoever.
That's 62% of Americans stating that social media, a hot ticket in the marketing world, doesn't affect buying behavior.
How can this be true, when companies invested $5.1 billion dollars in social media in 2013 alone?
Does social media marketing work? The answer: It depends.
The Gallup poll also shows a clear difference between each generation that was polled.
43% of millennials feel that social media has an influence on purchasing decisions. So why does this younger demographic feel more affected by social media than the average American?
First, millennials have never experienced a world without the internet. This gives "Generation Y" an inclination towards the revolutionary technology that has changed everything. Millennials are tech savvy, leading them to use social media for whatever they want it to be used for. The attempt to "engage" millennials is often misplaced, as Anthony Lye told us in Social Restaurant Podcast #044. Instead try to attract, motivate and retain Generation Y.
Second, millennials are more likely to receive news from social media. A YPulse study found that 68% of millennials ranked social media as their top news source, coming in ahead of word of mouth, news websites and traditional news sources.
When marketers attempt to present their marketing in a useful way, millennials will take these attempts as credible sources and are likely to then share the information. This will lend a hand to the idea of word of mouth, as social media is a larger and digital form of word of mouth.
The Gallup poll also states that 94% of the polled Americans use social media to connect with their friends and family. Giving updates on what's going on in your life and what you're doing is how we connect on social media, and this is also how marketers can capture the attention of all social media users, including those not in the millennial generation.
By encouraging your customers to share their experiences and, most importantly, by giving your customers a great experience, they will be more likely to spread their story on social media. These individuals have the potential to become the brand advocates for your brand - find them, engage with them and make them feel like an insider into your brand.
The reasons why people use social media is important to consider before you make the investment in to your social media budget. When used correctly, social media can reach across all generations.
Does social media marketing affect you? How have brands encouraged you to connect with them on social media? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.