27 Nov What is the Real ROI on Social Media?

It’s a question social media professionals come across a lot. How do you measure a successful campaign? Where are the numbers? Does this practice really bring any value to my business? Many brands choose to answer these questions by leaning on the numbers; they point to success in a growing number of fans, number of likes, number of comments, number of shares, number of follows, etc. However, many industry professionals agree on a different answer to the question ROI; one that goes against the established norms of other forms of marketing. According to many, the way to measure your brand’s effectiveness on social media is through the value it provides for your audience.  That’s right, it’s not about the number of likes or shares or followers, it’s about your brand’s behavior and the content it shares with its followers.

How does behaving well and delivering high quality content outrank having thousands of Facebook likes, when you get down to brass tacks? Three words – Top Of Mind.  To explain, let’s bring it down to a local level and put you in the consumer’s position. Let’s say you need a plumber, and you’ve “liked” two plumbers on facebook. The first ran splashy ads a year ago asking everyone to like the page for a discount on their first service. You liked the business and are now constantly seeing other “contests” popping up from them, all offering the same the discount if you like and share yet another irrelevant picture. There’s very little client interaction and no one seems to be recommending this business.

You liked the second plumber’s page because a trusted friend of yours shared a blog post from the company addressing simple fixes for common plumbing issues around the house. When you clicked through to his page, you saw more examples of helpful content, along with customer reviews, even questions posted by current clients, which the company addressed in the comments. Now you receive tips, tidbits and insight from the company on a weekly basis, right in your news feed.

So when you reach for the phone, who do you call? The company that has thousands of likes because they are persistently pursuing new likes, shares and comments, but who has little to no engagement because they’re not offering anything of value or paying much attention to their clients? Or the company whose “likes” may be lower, but they still stick in your brain because they offer helpful advice, and prove their expertise and customer service on a daily basis? Hopefully it’s option 2.

When social media first came on the radar for marketers, many forward thinkers in the marketing world hoped that the then brand new platforms would encourage behavior like plumber #2 amongst brands.  Brands were (and still are) encouraged to offer their followers a look behind the scenes, or to establish themselves as helpful experts in the eyes of their audience. Unfortunately, you can’t draw direct causation between valuable content and an increase in revenue, so marketers turned to the numbers that they were offered, likes and comments and shares. This has had a negative effect on the type of content offered by many brands; outrageous or irrelevant posts, posting questions where the only type of response possible is “Like for ‘yes’, share for ‘no’, comment for ‘don’t care’”, giving away a free product to each new “liker”. All of these tactics do have a positive effect on the numbers, but they disable the original intent of social media marketing; establishing yourself as an expert by offering your audience something of worth, attached to your brand, which will then stick in their minds.

Have you had success with the content you offer on your brand’s page? Share in the comments!

Sibet B Freides