Social media, where’s my damn return?

We are all aware of the power of social media, so why are so many still so poor at getting a return on their investment in it?

Is it such a surprising question when you consider 53% of you won’t currently measure social media success, or that 54% of you say the hardest part of measuring social media ROI is the inability to link social media to solid business results (source: Hubspot).

But hang on. In 5 years you are likely to be committing 20% of your marketing budget on social media – how is this possible when you can’t even value its worth (right now)? We can now safely agree that social commerce is not a marketer’s fantasy. In fact, in the US alone referrals from social media accounted for £6bn in sales in 2014 (5% of web sales) and are set to generate almost £10bn in 2015 (source: InternetRetailer).

These numbers can’t be ignored. For the benefit of those non-believers, our growing reliance upon social media aligns to a basic human need. The need to belong (Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Need). Social networks make us feel wanted, provide us a voice and more importantly allow us to keep in touch, even on the go. For these reasons, among others, we are spending more and more time on social, in fact in the UK we regularly access 1.7 social networks every single day. Now put yourself in Mr Zuckerberg’s shoes – ‘how can I monetize the biggest shift in communication since the invention of the table and chairs?’

After all, since floating Facebook for $100bn, shareholders aren’t going to sit back for too long without seeing a return. Now consider how we make a purchase decision. We rarely now walk into a shop only to be told that product A is better than product B, oh no. Who has the time for that anyway? 80% of us head online (source G/O Digital). You type in ‘product x reviews’ and discover first hand knowledge of someone else’s experience with the product, on a range of platforms and networks. You study the results until you are satisfied about a purchase decision.

>See also: Establishing a pipeline of breakthrough innovation

Now consider that 84% of our purchases are influenced by consumer content and 41% of us pass recommendations to our peers on social networks (i.e. you feature a post or write a tweet etc.) (source Bazaar Voice). You are now starting to get a feel for what we call in the business ‘accrued view’. Essentially this is a view we accrue around a purchase decision or brand through our own research, whether it be a review by a vlogger, journalist, consumer, retail site, or perhaps even a position 1-3 sales website that Google returns (thanks to social media) from our initial search. What we’re boiling down to here is that 90% of us trust our social peers more than we do advertising (14% trust) these days. Go figure. So, what are YOU going to do to help with your accrued view?

Here are just 3 ideas to start with:

1 – Select the right networks

Every network offers something different to a different audience. Also, consider that each network has an average basket order from referrals (Instagram tops this at £44 followed by Pinterest at £38, Facebook at £36, with YouTube at £24) (source: eStrategy).

2 – Focus like a laser beam on reach and engagement

Without these two items no-one finds you and you don’t refer sales! Your challenge therefore is to get more creative with content. The more creative, the more cut through you achieve. Good content supported with a small, cleverly targeted ad budget is very potent mix indeed.

3 – Integrate social into your wider marketing activity.

Social media on its own often fails to impress, but can be incredibly effective once you understand its place in your marketing strategy. It’s not just a lead generator but also a customer service tool and a means of carrying on the conversation. “Cut to the chase and tell us how do you generate sales?” We hear you cry. There are just too many strategies that we’ve harnessed to share within this article, but we always aim to please, so here are just a few…

  • 1 – Customer service. Is your company prepared to field a query through social media within 60 minutes? If yes, then you’re likely to be stealing business off your competition. Fact.
  • 2 – Click & Buy. Both Facebook & Twitter are rolling out their ‘Click & Buy’ buttons to advertisers shortly, allowing your prospects to purchase your product directly through these networks. WOW!
  • 3 – Creativity. 70% of marketers say that creative driven content has increased their brand awareness; 59% believe it supports sales growth; and 45% say it has reduced their advertising costs (iMedia). Need we say any more.
  • 4 – Start driving reviews. A negative review has 11% chance of changing a purchasers intent, whilst a positive review can bump up product price by 9.5%! (source Invesp)
  • 5 – Measuring success. You can study stats till the cows come home, but ultimately, for you, it comes down to sales. I understand this and hear it from clients all day, every day. This is 100% achievable, but not necessarily the main focus. Social commerce is still in its infancy, so look at the bigger picture; consider broader marketing cost savings against other media (e.g. social media can reduce PR costs by 24%).

Also know that if you’re social media strategy is missing a bit of va-va-voom then there’s every chance you will be left behind. Want to keep up, generate sales and become a social media superhero for your business?

See also: Louis Saha launches elite social media platform

How to save time when using social media for your small business

Advertising and marketing your business online can take time. Find out what small business owners can do to save time on social media activities.

Without any doubt, social media activities can take up a tremendous amount of your time. On the other hand, social media presence is a must for every modern small business. Fortunately, there are some things that every small business owner can do to save some time when using social media, be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. By making a good plan, you can avoid all the distractions and maximize the effects of your presence on social media networks. Of course, there are some other things involved in the process that can help you too. Keep reading this article to find out what small business owners can do to save time on social media activities.

Make a plan

As we said before, you cannot expect success on social media without a good plan. If you don’t know which path to use in order to get to a certain destination, you will probably get lost. So, your social media activities should not be conducted without a plan. Use the experience of other successful small business owners that have thousands of followers and/or fans on social media platforms. Once you have the right plan, stick to it.

Use automation

Did you know that you can automate some of your activities? There are many tools like HootSuite for example that can help you schedule posts and automate some other activities on different social media platforms. Use their help to save time.

Know when to post

This advice has two aspects. First of all, you should select a period of the day when you are least busy. Use this period of time to create a few interesting posts. You don’t have to share them right away – we have already mentioned the social media tools for automation. The second aspect is to know when to post these status updates. Think about your target audience – when are these people active? At night? In the morning? Keep in mind that the basic objective is to get better exposure.

Don’t put too much effort on getting more followers

Of course, the number of followers you have is very important. You cannot expect to get noticed when you have just a few dozens of followers. But, spending countless hours trying to attract new followers can be counter-productive. Our advice is to use follower services. These services providers can provide dozens of Instagram followers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans in a matter of hours. By using these services you will save a lot of time. With the right provider, you will get fans and followers that are genuinely interested in your offer.

Think about outsourcing

Finally, there are many professionals that can take care of certain elements of your social media campaigns. Some of them can manage your accounts while others are specialised in social media marketing. Do some online research and look for experienced, reliable and professional service providers like this.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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