From Yahoo! Tech
It’s the Age of Social Media, and most companies are all in. They vie for likes on Facebook; they post pictures of products on Instagram; and they collect followers on Twitter and Weibo — China’s popular microblogging site — and regularly post about new services.
And yet, even as companies continue to spend time and money on social media, many are dubious about whether all that posting, tweeting, and retweeting has any effect on the bottom line.
My collaborators from Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management and I have just completed a large-scale field experiment on the Chinese microblogging service Weibo with a large global media company that produces documentary TV shows. We found that when the company posted about its shows, viewership rose 77 percent. Reposts by influential users, meanwhile, increased viewership by another third. The upshot: Social media platforms, like Twitter and Weibo, can have a significant impact on sales.
This is good news for companies and their marketing departments. Many of them had a hunch social media was an effective tool, but in the end it was only a guess. According to the 2014 CMO Survey, corporate spending on social media is expected to jump 128 percent in the next five years. Only 15 percent of marketers, however, said their companies had evidence that social media had an impact.
Read the full post at Yahoo! Tech.
Juanjuan Zhang is the Epoch Foundation Professor of International Management and an Associate Professor of Marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management.