By: Anna Jones, Social Media Assistant
According to Hootsuite, it is estimated that businesses will spend $17.3 billion on social media this year. With that much money being put toward social, it’s understandable as to why businesses want to know the ROI or “return on investment” of their social media strategies.
Social media ROI consists of all the social media tactics that bring value to the business. These can be different for every company and can be measured through revenue, brand awareness and post engagement, along with other units of measurement.
To determine ROI, a brand must set measurable objectives at the beginning of its campaign. These objectives should follow the S.M.A.R.T. technique, meaning each objective should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. See an example chart below.
You scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours.
A factor that plays a role in social media ROI is the platform that best reaches a brand’s consumers. Since every social media platform fulfills a specific need for its users, understanding how your audience thinks and what platform best suits your brand plays a large role in the measured success. However, before we get into which platforms a brand should use, let’s first look at the psychology behind social media.
Social media is all about reciprocity, which is a fancy word for relationship building. According to Social Media Today, people hate owing someone a debt and are therefore willing to do whatever it takes to release themselves from that debt. This “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” concept translates over to social media in the form of engagement.
Overall, engagement starts with the brand. Businesses can increase their engagement rate by following hashtags relevant to the brand, interacting with posts they are tagged in and following conversations about the brand. The reciprocity approach will come into effect as a brand likes, comments and shares posts that are relevant to its business.
Reciprocity does not have to take place primarily with consumers; it can also take place with other businesses. When brands interact with other businesses in the community, they will feel the need to return the favor.
Picking the perfect social media channel for your brand
According to Social Media 101, Facebook is the most widely used platform with over 2 billion users worldwide, meaning 1 in 3 people have activated an account. In addition to being the most widely used platform, Facebook is also the leading platform in capturing data and targeting specific users, and it allows businesses to share and interact with content in a variety of different ways. Therefore, Facebook builds those relationships with target consumers and local businesses through liking, commenting, sharing or even inviting people to RSVP to an event and like your page.
Twitter is mostly used for current events and customer service. Due to the rapid nature of responses on Twitter, many frustrated customers use this platform to express their concerns with the brand. According to VI Marketing and Branding, Twitter is a great platform for directing users to off-platform content such as articles, websites, and blogs. However, brands can also build relationships on Twitter through retweets, likes, mentions, comments or even by clicking on the link shared in the Tweet.
Instagram is used mostly for visual impact; therefore, awareness and engagement take precedence over promotional content. Facebook recently bought Instagram, making it easier for a brand to promote its products and services on the platform without having an active account on Instagram. Facebook’s detailed data-capturing abilities can be used to push promotional content on Instagram to a specific target audience. Instagram is also a great tool to display a brand’s company culture and portray a lifestyle that users aspire to have. To build relationships and establish reciprocity on this platform, brands can like, comment or share other posts on their stories.
LinkedIn is used to find insightful business and industry news as well as the opinions of thought leaders. LinkedIn is an effective platform for making CEOs, influential professionals, and businesses more accessible. It is an effective platform for B2B marketing, but it can also be used in B2C marketing to reach consumers that a brand may not reach on other platforms. Whether a brand uses it for B2B or B2C, this platform is a great way to build relationships with others through commenting on or liking status updates.
YouTube is more effective when combined with SEO. Many users turn to YouTube for answers to their questions; therefore, it is a platform that businesses can use to answer FAQs or provide how-to guides. Although this may seem like a difficult platform to build relationships on, something as simple as subscribing to a channel can build that reciprocity.
According to VI Marketing and Branding, Pinterest is best used for placing ads because of the long list of keywords a brand can use to place targeted ads. However, for Pinterest ads to be successful, a business must have a thorough insight into the behaviors and attitudes of its consumers so they can effectively target them. Build relationships on this platform through likes, comments, sending Pins or tagging users.
There are a variety of different platforms that a brand can capitalize on when trying to reach its target audience, but with each platform comes a specific need that must be at the forefront of every social media strategy.
Overall, social media and marketing go hand-in-hand. Here’s how:
According to Forbes, brand loyalty increases when a brand is humanized. Social media plays a large role in marketing because it opens the door for a brand to become humanized, have a voice online and maintain an open channel of communication with its customers. Brands can show their identities, portray company culture, inform customers of products and services, and reach current and potential customers through social media. However, for social media to be successful, it must be used correctly.
Social media is an effective tool for building brand awareness, but it should be used with other forms of marketing to maximize results. The key to social media success is consistency. If a brand is not planning to use social media consistently, it may end up being a waste of time. Many brands are capitalizing on the benefits of social media; consequently, companies that do not use social media are at a disadvantage.
Social media makes a brand accessible to people who are interested in buying its products and visible to people who are unaware of the brand. With a S.M.A.R.T. social media strategy and an in-depth knowledge of which platforms to use in order to humanize the brand, social media can be an effective tool for businesses to use.