A new study from Performics indicates that consumers are spending more time doing shopping research across social network sites, and marketers should take note that LinkedIn's value is rising.

Social referrals drive sales according to The Impact of Social Media report. The study focused on purchase processes for social users, and it indicates that social marketing across channels can have a significant impact on consumers' buying decisions, with LinkedIn becoming increasingly important.

Performics and ROI Research surveyed nearly 3,000 social networkers, and they conclude that social media is changing shopping behaviors. The survey found that 56 percent of social users turn to social sites to talk about sales and specials while shopping.

Half of consumers say they are likely to give advice about products via social sites, which means marketers might find brand advocates. Engaging potential advocates can pay off as the other half of respondents indicate that they are likely to look for insight on brands and services via social networks. Further, 60 percent of respondents are at least somewhat likely to act on referrals from friends regarding companies.

Social marketers should look for advocates across social channels, as each seems to bring its own benefits. For instance, more than half of consumers are more likely to buy a product from brands they follow on Twitter. And LinkedIn is becoming increasingly important – the study found that 20 percent of LinkedIn users check the B2B-oriented site daily (and Brafton has reported that more than one-quarter of marketers say the site is the most valuable tool for B2B lead generation).

“The most effective marketers continue to adopt performance marketing strategies that engage 'participants' in every channel of their media mix – across platforms, devices and screens,” said Daina Middleton, CEO of Performics.

The need to engage social users across multiple devices also came up at this week's SMX Advanced conference. As Brafton reported, a number of expert attendees offered insight on the SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) marketing revolution, suggesting that combining loyalty and proximity will boost sales significantly.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.