Recently I spent a few day at the Like Minds conference in Exeter where a bunch of B2C, B2B and agency side marketers met up to network and to hear from industry experts on the latest and greatest happenings in the development of social media marketing. One re-occurring theme throughout was how social media marketing can and should be used to help grow your business.
Every afternoon there were a number of interactive workshops to choose from and I attended several specifically focussed on social media. There were some interesting discussions on how the ROI of social media was measured which sparked some heated debate. A participant proudly announced they had a gazillion Facebook likes from a recent campaign but when asked how these “likes” would be monitised or followed up and nurtured, blank stares ensued. The assumption being that it’s enough to collect these actions as if they were a stamp collection and everything else would fall into place.
My view is that it’s too easy to get hooked into collecting likes and pluses and followers without having a clear view of what this means for your business or how you can channel these activities into something more tangible e.g. revenue (SM purists take note). Introducing a marketing strategy resolves this issue.
If you have the time and resources to get heavily involved in social media, for social media sake then that’s great. Build your twitter followers, your Facebook likes and increase your circles but if you run a business and you take your eye off your real aim, growing that business, your business will suffer. Social media is about interaction and you need to invest time and effort into that endeavour but at the end of the day the question you should always be asking yourself is “show me the money” (a nod to the Tom Cruise character Jerry Maguire from the film of the same name). Oh and by the way, this is where having relevant and compelling content spread across the web helps attract searchers towards your offering.
Don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of the capabilities of social media and the reach and engagement opportunities it offers. Reaching out to your audience wherever they are active will help to create a stronger brand presence in the market and allow you to listen to your customers (and competitors) but social media marketing needs to be seen as part of the total plan and should be used as an integral part of your marketing strategy. To view social media as a stand-alone entity and to go through the process of ticking boxes dilutes its potential and reduces the impact it can have on your business. Measuring the ROI of social media can be difficult but not impossible. However if you start out with a plan and a view of what success will look like prior to the campaign launch date then at least you will be able to make a comparison between expectations and achievement.
If you need help with your social marketing strategy, get in touch on 01803 413481.