Business Expects Social Media Conversions

More businesses are using social media to support their PR and marketing efforts.  But now, according to a new report in eMarketer and quoted in B2C Marketing Insider, C-Suite execs want the activity translated into actual conversions — i.e., new customers or new sales and revenue. Writes Sally Falkow, a B2CMarketing Insider contributor :

“Research from BazaarVoice and the CMO Council shows that as social media is maturing the C-Suite wants to see conversions and how it is affecting sales and revenue.”

The survey finding may reflect a growing corporate impatience that social media isn’t producing the ROI they expected. Comparing CMO metrics of 2010 and 2011, the eMarketer report shows that conversions leapfrogged in importance from number eight last year to second — a dramatic shift in priority for social media activity.  Site traffic still ranks as the top metric, but other measures, such as the number of posts and mentions, are declining in importance.

The report notes a significant increase in companies utilizing social media for marketing purposes (up to 88% this year from 42% in 2008). This suggests a typical business progression from exploring a new product or service, to field testing it, to incorporating it into the overall business strategy — and anticipating positive results.  The question now is how — or whether — social media can produce to these expectations.

There’s a lot riding on the answer for corporate marketers and PR executives.

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