The Essential Element to Selling on Social Media

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What prompts consumers to purchase products and services they read about on social channels? They read that friends are buying them.

It's understood that social media is an engaging way to connect with consumers and promote products. But, according to new research, it can be an effective place to convert interest to sales—if consumers are talking about their purchases.

"Social media is all about sharing your experiences and what's important to you," Goldstar CEO and cofounder Jim McCarthy told Direct Marketing News. "It's a way to capture a memory and share it in real-time with others. Live entertainment is one of the best things people can do and it's inherently social."

Goldstar's “Social Commerce Survey” shows that 80% of the 1,882 respondents rank live entertainment atop the list of products and services they hear about their friends buying—travel is second at 64%. Once they hear the online buzz, many of those social users take action.

In fact, word of mouth is one of social media's myriad charms, as evidenced by the 92% of respondents who ventured to learn more about event tickets after hearing on social media about a friend's purchase; 66% report pulling the trigger on a ticket purchase after hearing of a friend's purchase—it's 85 and 74%, respectively, for products and services.

While most people associate millennials or younger folks as the main users of social media, the phenomenon of hearing about something and then learning more about it knows no age—40-year-olds actually rank higher than their tricenarian counterparts.

Despite that, however, the research also shows that social media use declines with age.

For marketers attempting to reach the largest group of consumers—and it's doubtful any are not—it should come as no surprise that Facebook has the social media game in a proverbial chokehold. The social networking behemoth is listed as the top social media tool by 83% of respondents; the next closest competitor is Instagram at 40%.

"When it comes to social sharing of live entertainment experiences there's a little bit of bragging in there, but why shouldn't you brag? You're seeing a great show," McCarthy says. "If you look at the second and third highest products and services that are shared—travel and food—it's the same theme—'my experiences.' Not many people take a picture of their new sofa and put it on Facebook or Instagram."


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