Is Social Media Getting the Attention It Deserves?
Social media, new media, whatever you want to call it, has been gaining popularity for the past few years. More and more marketers are seeing a need to have a presence in these different mediums. The problem is tying revenue from these efforts. At the end of the day, small business owners are concerned with the bottom line.
“A September 2010 survey by Econsultancy, sponsored by digital marketing agency bigmouthmedia, found nearly half of companies worldwide still said “the jury is out” on the value of social media for their firm. This group still felt they were not able to measure the return on their social media investment—even to put a value on it relative to their other marketing activities,” reports eMarketer.
eMarketer also found in a different report that, “The biggest obstacle for social strategies was not having enough data to come up with a measure of return on investment.” Because social media is becoming a viable marketing tactic for many companies, the question now becomes how do we tie revenue to our social media efforts?
Have a Plan
What is it exactly that you want to see from your social media efforts? Are you engaging your target audience to get brand awareness? Do you want to drive more traffic to your blog and website? Do you want to conduct a contest? The first step for any marketing tactic is to have a plan with goals. You don’t go into a PPC campaign blindly, so you don’t want to do the same with social media.
Write up a clear plan on exactly what you want to see happen with your social media strategy, and from there you can figure out how you are going to measure your efforts. Many marketers set up a Twitter account or Facebook page and then ignore their profiles. You have to commit to these profiles and spend time on them just like you would for any other marketing tactic. When you are writing up your marketing plan, decide how many hours (even if it is just an hour) a day you will be dedicating to social media.
Just like with any other online marketing tactic, you need to set a benchmark. Start tracking your website traffic from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube wherever you are present. Set up specific landing pages if you have to. The more you can see a straight conversion rate from your efforts, the more you can start tying in a revenue stream from the traffic brought in from these sites.
If you are conducting a contest, a new landing page is your best option. You will be able to see exactly how and when your target audience is paying attention to your stream, which allows you to figure out when the best time is to post new information.
If you are paying a writer (or taking time from your day) to write content to bookmark, track that time as social media time. If you are getting quality backlinks from the copy you are writing, and in turn submitting it to social bookmarketing sites, then that can be tied into SEO revenue. Social media can be a great way to attain more links to your site and get brand exposure—you just have to start tracking your efforts.
Although the links that are submitted to social sites are nofollwed, it doesn’t mean that reporters, bloggers or other companies won’t find the article and use it for their site—which could be followed. Monitoring your company online is a must—whether you have a social media presence or not.
If you already ask your customers about how they heard about your company, add the options for them to select Twitter and other social media sites you are on. This will give you an idea of the brand exposure and actual sales you are making because of these sites.
Jeffery Cohen writes on Social Media B2B that, “The total cost divided by the number of leads, or other number that represents conversions, is the cost per lead. As these leads go into the normal sales funnel, and get qualified, you will see the return on your social media investment.”
The main point for marketers is social media may or may not be a viable option for your company, but you have to set benchmarks and measure your success. There is no guarantee that Twitter, Facebook and YouTube will be the right fit for your company, but you will never know until you try. Start out small and see if you get any followers and traffic from these sites. You don’t have to throw a lot of money at a “social media guru” if you don’t know if it will work.
Shannon Suetos is an expert writer on fulfillment companies based in San Diego, California. She writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs such as VoIP Service at Resource Nation.