Mark my words: If it isn’t already, social media is going to be like email for all tech users: indispensable.
It is no longer acceptable for CEOs to cast social media aside because they either don’t understand it or don’t want to mess with it. Just like the doubters that thought email wouldn’t go anywhere, social media has changed the way our society communicates today.
This shift has been slow going for marketers trying to convince their bosses and those at the top that social media is worth their time. But we should be past the point of having to convince CEOs to approve social media marketing campaigns and efforts. Just as the employees of decades past had to fight for office email, the marketers of today should continue to fight for social media as a key component of online marketing and branding efforts.
Proving Social Media ROI
Many company owners and department heads demand to know the ROI of social media. The revenue possibilities that come with this medium have been illustrated over and over again:
- White Glove Social Media‘s report on a business gaining 1300% increase in revenue from Pinterest: “[Pinterest] campaigns generated a better return on investment than other marketing strategies like paid search campaigns or targeted ads on Facebook the merchant has tried,” Price says. Additionally, Bourbon & Boots has determined that shoppers who come to the site directly from Pinterest are 20% more valuable than those from other channels because they tend to spend more and buy more frequently.
- The Next Web’s roundup of social media case studies, illustrating the power of paid Facebook ads: “Vamplets is a small business that makes baby vampire dolls and they introduced Facebook ads as a new channel for driving revenue. Despite a fairly small Facebook ad budget of $250 per month, they’re generating an additional $1,000 in revenue, directly tracked to the ads themselves. This gives them a positive ROI of 300%.”
- Social Media Examiner reports: how social media helped Cisco shave $100,000+ off a product launch via social media.
By customizing social media marketing to the company, all industries have a real chance at additional exposure, website traffic, and revenue from simply implementing social media efforts.
At A Company Level
At a bare minimum, a company should have a Google+ page (and individual profiles for its blog authors and top executives for Google Authorship) and a Facebook page. LinkedIn is also a good idea for B2B companies. Pinterest (and other social shopping networks like Wanelo) are great for e-commerce sites especially, as well as other businesses that can creatively pin related industry products.
When it comes to Twitter, a company’s Twitter feed should promote its own content, as well as related topic articles that educate or provide a service to followers.
For an example on how almost industry can use social media, let’s imagine a company called Harry’s Plumbing. Harry’s has two locations in Kansas City and is thinking about getting on social media. Here’s just the tip of the iceberg as to what Harry could do on social media:
- Facebook: Share specials, Kansas City events
- Twitter: Unique discount codes, retweet and follow Kansas City residents (searching their bios or tweets for mentions of #KC or Kansas City), share articles about bathroom cleaning or the dangers of not caring for a septic system.
- Pinterest: Pin dream bathrooms, natural cleaning products, local Kansas City merchants
- LinkedIn: Post company updates, new hires, job positions
If management thinks there is nothing for their company to post on social media, they just haven’t thought hard enough.
At A Personal Level
Because social media has given the public unprecedented access to celebrities, it is important for companies to begin crafting a presence for the top level management online. Not only is this a good idea for Google Authorship, but being able to follow the CEO of a multi-million dollar company (or even Harry in Kansas City) is something many users love because it allows them to get to know the people they give money to, and it helps to humanize the brand.
The longer CEOs and top-level management take to “get” social media, the more it is going to hurt their revenue, brand exposure, website traffic, and potential engagement with key customers. While new ways to communicate have always brought resistance throughout history, helping CEOs with cold hard facts and case studies will hopefully help them come around.
Photo credit Flickr: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3430/3946004755_d888f66990_m.jpg
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.