This is the question few companies ask themselves before launching into social media marketing. And, as a result, their forays into social media marketing often result in frustration and, sometimes, failure. Not because social media marketing doesn’t work – just because they didn’t do it correctly. Social media marketing is like any other campaign, it must have an objective and a strategy to achieve desired results.
There are many companies that think it's the quick fix to a struggling business or that it will generate revenue that will help them in a difficult economic time. Truth is that social media can, in fact, affect your bottom line – but, it takes time.
Social media has a sequence of events that transpire before it ever affects a company’s bottom line and, when a business understands this before branching out into social media, there is more of a willingness to invest both the time and the patience in that social media requires.
There are two benefits of social media that are important to businesses, they include:
- Cost reduction by decreasing staff time.
- Increase of probability of revenue generation.
If these two things are important to you, then social media is a good fit for your busines, but again, this will not happen overnight. It will take smart strategy, dedication, patience and the input of time.
The sequence or phases of social media process looks like this:
- Phase 1 - Your Investment (Time, Money, Resources)
- Phase 2 - Your Action
- Phase 3 - Consumer's Reaction
- Phase 4 - Non Financial Impact Occurs
- Phase 5 - Financial Impact Occurs
Do you see why social media takes patience? It's not an immediate return on your investment! If you are willing to accept that premise, and invest the time, energy and budget dollars needed, social media can be an effective venue and can help in growing your business.
When you begin to see the non financial impact on your business, you know that you have increased the probability of a financial impact on your business.
Non financial impacts on your business that you should look for and monitor include:
When you begin to see these things, you know that the probability of financial impact from social media on your business has increased. It also shows you that you are, in fact, utilizing social media in the most effective manner. If you are not seeing any of the above and you've been utilizing social media for awhile, it may be time to check your strategy, investigate your tactics and figure out what you could be doing wrong.
All in all, you must understand that social media is not a quick-fix. It takes a level of dedication, determination and resources to be successful. If you understand that concept and are willing to invest those things – as well as a fair amount of patience, chances are good that it will produce some great results for you.
In order to effectively monitor and gauge the return on investment you are getting via social media marketing, you need to create a baseline that includes online activity of your consumers using the impacts listed above and you should monitor each and every one. As I am prone to say, marketing, of any kind, without measuring, is just not good business. And, in order to measure, you must consistently and effectively employ and utilize monitoring tactics and tools.
Monitoring tools that you can use to see what is being said about your business include:
Just remember, when you begin to see the non financial impacts on your business, you have increased the probability of the financial impact. Now, go make it happen!