Why Driving Sales on Social Media is So Difficult

Social media marketing can be incredibly frustrating! Posting content and seeing little to no results can be a discouraging experience for many businesses.

Our digital marketing experts often speak at events and conferences, and one of our most frequently requested presentation topics is “how to boost sales on social media.” Understandably, businesses want to drive more profit and sales through platforms like Facebook.

So, why is it so difficult to drive sales on social media?

An Outdated View of Social Media Marketing

Many businesses and marketers are captive to an outdated view of social media. Around 2006 - 2007, platforms like Facebook and Twitter began gaining traction. Many businesses decided they needed to be on social simply because "all the cool kids were doing it".

Social media marketing sounded like a fantastic idea: post content for free, and all my followers will see it? What a great way to advertise my products or services!

It sounded so good that many organizations decided social media marketing was the only form of digital marketing necessary.

The Rise and Fall of the Social Media Marketing Agency

Social media marketing companies soon emerged, hoping to jump on this new medium and make a significant impact for clients. These agencies exclusively provided marketing and advertising on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. After a few years, however, most of these social-only marketing companies closed. Today they’re nearly nonexistent.

The vast majority of products and services require a full, well-balanced digital marketing approach to make a real impact. An intuitive, user-friendly website, robust search engine optimization, great content - all are essential compliments to social media marketing.

Why Social Media isn’t an Effective Solution for Direct Sales

The truth is, in most industries, social media alone is an ineffective way to drive sales.

The reason is simple: user intent.

Consider your experiences on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social platform. Your intent typically isn’t to research or buy a product or service. Your intent is to see fun or interesting content; to connect with friends or family. Thus, people don’t typically respond well when they’re confronted with a direct sale in a social post.

In contrast, other tactics like search engine optimization are more effective when going for direct sales. When someone visits Google, their intent is to satisfy a query. The user is there to search for information. In most cases, we see clients with vastly higher website conversions when visitors arrive from Google than from a social platform.

The Real Strength of Social Media Marketing

The good news is your social efforts aren’t in vain! Social media does have a place and purpose in marketing.

Social media’s strength is awareness.

It can be an incredible tool for helping your target audience become aware of your brand, products or services. Social media can also be highly effective in sharing valuable content and building trust with your audience.

While most businesses shouldn’t expect direct sales through social, building this awareness is an extremely valuable step in the marketing funnel.

Need some guidance in your social media marketing strategy? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Drew Harden
Drew Harden

CEO and Co-Founder of Blue Compass, Drew Harden has grown and guided the company from a two-person startup in 2007 to one of the Midwest's leading digital marketing companies today. He's a published author, has been cited by PR News and USA Today, and has led web projects that have been honored by organizations like Adobe and American Design Awards.