Social Is More Than Conversions

by Peter Attia on October 24, 2012

social media conversions

Over the past several years social has become a priority for businesses. They’re starting to see the traffic potential and want a piece of the pie.

However, occasionally I find business owners that don’t want to do social, because “it doesn’t convert”. Even though they get great engagement and traffic, they’re completely blinded to the benefits, because they see no measurable ROI.

Here are things to consider with social other than direct ROI.

Social Media ROI

Brand Awareness

One of the main reasons you should be running a social campaign is for brand awareness. When done right, you get traffic from completely unique visitors who’ve never heard of your brand. These visits have a low chance to convert, however most first time visitors don’t convert.

People use social media to make connections and share content. They’re not using social media to be sold to. That being said, instead of trying to land a sale from first time social visits, try getting a sign up. If you can get them to subscribe to your newsletter, then you have a chance to build your perception to them. This will allow you to “sell” to them when it’s appropriate.

Brand Trust

A great side effect of brand awareness is brand trust. Initially, this may seem extremely similar to brand awareness, but it’s a large player for unique markets. If you’re in a market with few providers, this can be a huge factor on which company a customer chooses.

brand trust

If you’re consistently being social, potential customers are more likely to see your name compared to your competitors. People are more likely to go with companies they’re familiar with. This also gives you a chance to reach out to potential customers when you notice them mention you.

This brings me to a third point.

Customer Relationship Management

Social gives you a huge opportunity to build relationships with customers. I want to use a real life example. I was once recommended the company NodeKi for WordPress hosting. I wasn’t even looking for WordPress hosting. A friend of mine had tweeted out that he was looking for WordPress hosting recommendations and the CEO of NodeKi personally reached out to him.

The customer service he received thereafter was so good that he recommended them just, because he knew this blog was WordPress based.

I ended up using their service for a side project I was working on and I was equally pleased by just how good their customer service was. They responded immediately and went above and beyond in terms of help they were willing to offer.

This is a great example of how powerful reaching out to one person on social networks can be. It’s also an example of near-impossible to measure social awareness – my next point.

Dark Social

A couple weeks back Alexis Madrigal wrote a great piece on what he refers to as “Dark Social” – social shares we can’t adequately measure.

dark social

Basically, he states that up to 69% of social sharing is done through difficult-to-measure paths; for example, email, instant message, verbal, etc. According to him, the impressive numbers of Facebook sharing only account to about 20% of social shares.

The previous section is a perfect example of dark social and why it’s important. People share things on a larger scale than you could ever measure and being social online only helps the cause.


Lastly, when you have a strong social following it’s like putting a megaphone on anything you say. Any sort of promotion you may be doing will be resonated throughout your followers.

social media amplification

This works especially well with content. Over the past several months people have been getting a better understanding of why content is so important. If you have a strong social following, that content instantly gets pushed infront of thousands of people.


Just because social is hard to measure, doesn’t make it worthless. This is true for several facets of marketing and promotions. Make sure you’re measuring (and doing) things right before exiling them alltogether.

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