Unless your business is austerity-proof then you’re probably watching your bottom line very closely at the moment. The tendency for businesses during recessions is to curb ‘growth’ expenditure (sales, marketing, advertising) in order to free up cash to conserve the ‘heart’ of the business. If this is the case in your business then you might fail to see the monetary value of social media, a great marketing tool that is all too often cut when times get tough.
Most companies now take social media very seriously; despite the recession, 77% of the world’s largest corporations have a Twitter account, 61% have Facebook and 36% have blogs. It isn’t just large companies taking advantage of social media though; small and medium companies have quickly realised that social media offers them a level playing field upon which to compete with their rivals. Twitter and Facebook are both cost-effective platforms with large pools of potential customers who are there for the taking. A well-planned social media strategy can reap sizable benefits for a company.
Social media gives you multiple platforms from which to engage with your target market, it gives you the business personality that can sometimes be lacking on a website, and it can even influence your search engine rankings. Above all, it’s a cost-effective marketing strategy, with many social media accounts being free to set up and manage. Wide-reaching, it’s an essential tool for communicating with your target market and existing customers. However, you will need to invest time and expertise to maintain a professional social media presence.
While it’s undoubtedly advantageous to enrich your brand with social media, of course you will want to know the monetary value of the campaign: what are you getting for your money? It’s sometimes difficult to know when social media has influenced a sale – not every customer says where they found out about you, or whether prior communication with the company on social media influenced the sale. However, tracking the movements of customers can be a remarkable insight into discovering how they found you, and it can be easier to measure social media than most other media.
We measure how many Internet users reach our clients’ websites from their social media platforms by tracking the monthly visits (clicks) between their social media platforms, the search engines and website, and by calculating the cost per click according to their budget.
It can be useful to compare the cost per click of social media against an equivalent Google ads pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. However, just considering the monetary value of each ignores the more enduring benefits of social media. PPC Google ads only exist while you’re paying for them, while the promotion of web content via a blog entry, Facebook post or tweet will work for you for much longer. Engaging with your stakeholders using social media will say more about your brand personality than an advertisement ever can.
You will find that as you build up content and momentum, your traffic will increase and your cost per click will start to come down, further enhancing your return on marketing investment.
Probably, but be prepared to be patient and allow a minimum of 6-12 months if you want to see results – it can take a while for the various platforms to gain internet presence and user interest. If you choose to run your social media yourself, make sure you have a strategy in place and stick to it. Have a plan ready for how you’ll handle difficult customer interactions like complaints in a public forum, and set out a schedule to ensure your posts and updates are going out regularly. Check every platform frequently throughout the day to make sure no customer queries are left sitting. If you’re using an agency to take care of your social media then establish early on what you’d like to see and ask them to lay out how they will measure the success of the campaign.
If you’d like to find out more about how social media can enrich your brand, and discuss a way of measuring the value of the campaign, please get in touch – we’ll be happy to discuss your options with you.