One would be hard-pressed to identify an industry – or even individual business – that has not yet at least started to consider deploying a social media marketing strategy, as the medium has gained in prominence across many sectors. Although modern digital marketing processes and platforms started as optional measures, companies will already struggle to get their brand images visible and into an engaging position without using all forms of online strategies.
Social media has become a highly discussed matter in this conversation, as it is clear that firms can simultaneously boost their market visibility and retain loyal customers for longer periods of time when they leverage these tools. Full disclosure here: Studies indicate that social media is among the worst performing types of online marketing when it comes to generating new leads and converting prospects into active customers.
However, this cannot lead companies away from using social media marketing strategies to achieve greatness in brand positioning and stature, especially not retailers, restaurants and similar business-to-consumer operations. Consumers and corporate purchasers are going to be less likely to frequent a store or shop online through a company’s Web portal when there is absolutely no personality to be found through social media channels, meaning activity is simply a requirement of doing business today.
Despite the low conversion rates through social media compared to content and email marketing, as well as organic and search engine optimization processes, these platforms and channels can be highly effective when the user leverages them properly. Luckily for small business owners and other younger and smaller leaders in the private sector, there is a wealth of information regarding best practices and procedures in social media advertising to be digested.
Social media marketing investment increases
Marketing Land recently reported that it has only been about 10 years since the first social media platform started to allow companies to advertise, which was marked by Facebook in 2005, but investments in the approach to brand management are skyrocketing today. Citing one study, the source pointed out that social media revenues for advertising are expected to hit $8.4 billion this year, which is a massive figure regardless of mitigating factors.
As mentioned above, social media is not the most effective approach to marketing when it comes to conversions, but there are plenty of reasons for these epic increases in investment on the global scale. According to the news provider, the first catalyst of demand among companies is the fact that social media developers and websites are starting to cater to the needs of their clientele in a more structured and prolific fashion, including the release of enhanced targeting options that connect newer brands with prospects.
This included lookalike, custom and interest targeting, Marketing Land affirmed, while metrics are also being held in higher esteem among leaders in the social media community who have improved upon their tracking systems, most notably those that cover conversions. With so many companies becoming far more interested in the ability to measure returns on investment through novel and still-young mediums – a point of strain in many situations – these types of advances among social media leaders could not have come at a better time.
Finally, the source argued that the rise of mobile, which has been marked by steep increases in the rate of digital traffic flowing through smartphones, tablets and portable computers, is also helping to drive business investments toward social media. Take, for example, the fact that Twitter saw 84 percent of its revenue come through mobile advertising last year, and Facebook did not trail far behind with 68 percent in this category, the news provider added.
So, if social media marketing has not entered the discussion yet, it ought to do so soon.
Deriving value from social media
Harvard Business Review recently explained some of the ways in which businesses can monetize their social media efforts to ensure that the activities and budget are leading to distinct, real improvements to the bottom line. Keeping the second section of this piece in mind regarding the stream of investments flowing into social media, it might be surprising that this news provider cited a study that revealed roughly 93 percent of organizations do not know the direct value of digital marketing procurement.
An expert or advocate might look at this is a major problem, or disconnect even, that is preventing more companies from having success in social media marketing processes. However, an eager business owner will want to view these types of findings as opportunities and signs that there is still time to be an early leader in social media advertising, as so many consumers have yet to be “wowed” by the brands they frequent and follow through these channels.
According to Harvard Business Review, nearly two-thirds of American consumers who responded to a Gallup survey stated that social media content and marketing does not have an impact on their decisions when it comes to purchases. What might be going wrong here is an incorrect approach and lack of understanding among brands that are the first to begin advertising through these channels.
Take, for example, the source’s citation that explained how most measurement programs for social media are based on what could very easily be considered as non-monetary matters, such as likes, retweets and click-through rates. A company could certainly have millions of likes or tweets building brand awareness, and never see a dime from that digital footprint.
Spending too much time on social media for your business?
Likewise, a firm could have only 100 followers, never even gaining a like on Facebook, and rake in the cash from those prospects. In short, measurement likely needs to change. Above all else, Harvard Business Review urged companies to take their time when first entering into the social media marketing circus, trying to work alongside customer behaviors and preferences rather than getting too far ahead of themselves and failing to garner returns from their investments.
Regardless of which way you wish to leverage social media, you must ensure that you are putting at least some stake in this medium to give your brand visibility on popular digital websites.