While researching what statistics were out there on search engine usage and overlap with social networking usage, I found an interesting data point from comScore. The research firm highlighted that 51% of people were influenced by search engine usage in making a purchase, where 48% where influenced by social and search, together. A mere 1% of the audience in the panel was influenced by social alone, in arriving at a purchase decision. What’s great about this statistic is that it confirms what we already know, people are influenced by those who share something in common with them when it comes to purchasing decisions. As we don’t know how much social influence versus search influence counted for in the group that got hit with both, it’s a worthwhile exercise to just split it evenly. To put it another way, let’s say that a full 25% of your audience can only be captured if you leverage shared interests in moving people from awareness to Interest, as I showed in the word of mouth study, via social networks.

Search Vs Social

After that, you can then move the audience from Interest to Action, at which point the prospects should gradually start to leverage search to hone in on the widget they want, the average price and what kind of options usually come with their widget. After their shopping trip, virtually speaking, they’ll settle on a distributor for said widget that lines up with their expectations, which were set at the stage of Interest. If this is true, your marketing message and culture which permeates your social networking channels will have a profound impact on the kind, quality and volume of Interested prospects that arrive at your website. Marketers have to have a wholistic approach including but not limited to both search and social strategies.

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