Data collected by Gallup’s new State of the American Consumer report, shows that “relatively few consumers consciously take into account what they learn from social media when making purchases.”

We do know that 93 percent of businesses use web search to begin the information discovery process, according to the Acquity Group. What pages are they looking for? Pages with solutions. This is why it’s vitally important to have customer stories, with quantifiable facts and data, published, and ready to be viewed on your website.

While social media may not be driving sales directly, social media is a critical strategy in positioning, market leadership and credibility. Let’s take a look at some of the business leaders and how they employ social media as a strategic business tool.

Customer Success: A study by Dianna Huff and KoMarketing Associates found that the number one piece of missing content when making purchasing decisions was customer success stories. These stories give prospects quantifiable results from peers that validate their purchase. If you take a look at Oracle, IBM, Intel and Honeywell’s Facebook pages, you’ll see a feed that is focused on customer results.

Customer Focus: American Airlines, SmartPak, Oracle, and UPS are just a few of the companies who receive daily complaints on their Facebook and Twitter pages – and aren’t they lucky to know about them. These companies aren’t afraid of these valid concerns, even though they know they’re being watched. And that’s precisely the point: what better place to showcase their responsiveness and commitment to the customer than by addressing the concern swiftly – right in front of an audience.

Be An Informational Resource For Your Audience. When you see a question pop up in your industry, answer the question. Look at how Cisco, Intel, Oracle and IBManswer with depth, relevance, data details and solutions. Showcase stories that reveal how you helped a customer solve this issue. Post the answers on your social media channels. Create a solutions database on your website, and share these posts through multiple social media channels and platforms.

Content-rich posts, full of customer successes with data and facts, are the types of posts and updates that generate shares and likes. This is also the strongest, and probably the only way, to build up the search engine keywords on your site that will drive traffic to your website.