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In the battle between Chicken and Egg, Social Networks win

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There’s a classic chicken and egg conundrum happening here. Do people who already buy from a company tend to interact with them more on social networks, or do people who ‘like’ brands on social networks then go on to buy more of those brands?

Without extensive lab-based research  we’ll probably never know the answer as it’s nigh on impossible to track real-life behaviours before a qualifying event occurs. So, for now, let’s take the following data with a pinch of salt.

According to a study by ExactTarget, 32% of people claim to be more likely to buy from a company after following them on Twitter. A ‘Like’ on a company page on Facebook makes 24% of people more likely to buy from that company, while email is a slightly less potent sales magnet with only 21% claiming it has the power to influence their buying habits:

Influence over sales of email and social networks

And, as the chart above shows, the likelihood to recommend a company also rises after someone opts in to emails or becomes a fan or a follower.

Whether this is a forming or a latent effect we can’t really say, but the evidence is compelling: those who engage with brands through email and social networks are some of the most valuable customers any business can have. Treat them with the love and respect they deserve.