For most businesses, social media is a fad.
There are a lot of people who claim to be social media experts and constantly recommend that it’s high time businesses start getting on the social media bandwagon. If you don’t, it seems the competition is going to get ahead of you and soon you’ll be out of business.
Funny as it may seem, most of the time these social media experts come very close to being right.
Is Social Media A Fad?
Social media is a fad, in a sense that there is no real way to immediately quantify the ROI when your business engages with social media.
It does not mean that social media isn’t effective. It just so happens that social media is more powerful in influencing your business indirectly via customer engagement and content marketing.
Now, a lot of people will tell you that you need to be active in social media to make the most of it. Well, ask the person who tells you to define exactly what “making the most of it” really means for your business?
Most of the time they’d come up with answers like increased twitter followers or fan page likes. If that’s their answer, pay no attention to them. Instead, if they are talking more sensibly about customer engagement and brand awareness there might be some element of truth in it.
Should My Business Do Social Media Marketing?
Well, how else could I put it?
Your business should embrace social media when you have
- Enough time and resource to dedicate to engaging your customers and prospects on social media
- Sufficient data which implies being on social media is going to get you direct or indirect business
I’d love to sweet talk here, but let’s be completely honest. When we run a business, we want sales. If a particular marketing channel is bringing in greater revenue compared to the rest of the marketing channels, then it makes sense to focus your efforts on what brings in greater revenue.
If social media is directly or indirectly contributing to your goals, then you should definitely be spending time on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
How Do I Know Social Media Is Helping My Business?
This is a really tough one.
Even the so called social media pundits won’t have concrete evidence to prove that your social media campaigns brought you the best ROI. It’s not even sometimes possible to measure the effectiveness of the campaigns other than knowing some metrics such as page views, tweets, shares, and so on.
However, all is not guess work here. In fact, there are a lot of things you can do to measure the effectiveness of the campaigns.
If you are focusing your efforts on social media sites, you could check how many people are really engaging with you by asking questions, sharing your content, and actively engaging with you. Take note of the change in your business revenue and sales once you started engaging in social media.
Collect data over a period of time (4-6 months or if possible 6-12 months), to see if social media has led to more sales or revenue. Most of the time you’ll be able to figure out by now whether it was really worth the time and effort to do social media marketing.
How to Measure Social Media Marketing Efforts?
It’s pretty much easy to see the effect of social media on your business.
I am not talking about the metrics here. What I am talking about is the revenue generation part.
Even if your goal is to build a community or develop brand awareness, your ultimate goal is to make more sales; right? So it’s important that you focus on this metric which is one of the most reliable signals of effectiveness of a marketing medium.
Let’s say you have a website and you want to drive traffic to your website and then convert those visitors into paying customers.
If you are using analytics solutions (if not, you should be using them), set it up to measure the effectiveness of each social media site. Google Analytics, which is a free tool by Google, recently introduced social media measuring features.
See which site is sending you higher quality traffic among social media sites. Focus your efforts on the site that sends you maximum quality traffic.
Quality is a very subjective term. What might appear as high quality traffic may appear and low quality for you. So don’t go with other company case studies. Use it for your own site and see which converts best.
Are you embracing social media for your business? Let me know in the comments.